最後のお花見 – My Last Hanami

Spring in any country is generally a pleasant season, but I would dare make the claim that Japan’s is the best.  Before leaves return to the trees, an incredible number of them bloom with thick flowers.  The cherry trees are particularly renown and are deeply woven into the fabric of Japanese culture, and also permeating the likes of music, and female names.  In fact, the Washington D.C cherry trees that line the Potomac were gifts from the Japanese government that started way back in 1910

Obligatory close up shot of said blossoms

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For one of the most exciting times of the year, people of all ages gather in parks and other public places to admire the blossoms with friends and relatives.  This is called hanami and literally means looking at flowers.  More than simply viewing, everyone uses the warming weather as an opportunity to picnic and drink beneath them as well.  Myself and the rest of the Takamatsu foreigner contingent were no exception to this and gathered at our famous Ritsurin Garden.  A number of us spent the afternoon in the sun chatting and playing Uno until things cooled down and the wind picked up.

Beers, bentos, and blooms: how much better could this even be?

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This year, I also decided to take advantage of some of the earlier blooming flowers.  Of course the cherry blossoms are most famous because they come out last, but the peach and plum flowers are no less worthy of admiration.  All three types of trees have an incredible number of species within them, each with a slightly varying shade of flower.  Both the Konan Agream and Ritsurin Garden offered a grove filled with around 40 variants.

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This was my third and final spring while a member of the JET Program, but I believe that I was able to make the most of it.  Whenever I make my return to Japan, I’ll be sure to time it out so that I can be around for this again.

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