Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cherry Blossoms...

Carl here...

The past few weeks has been a great time for hanami: 花見 or flower viewing. In particular the Cherry Blossoms that have been in bloom. The Japanese take this very seriously, if you turn on the TV during these special weeks, you will see the news channels telling you where the best places are to see the blossoms at their best.

The cherry blossoms are really just an excuse for family, friends and colleagues to get together and.... drink!

Amy and I were invited to Richard Sensei' house a few weeks ago for a delicious lunch and then we went to Karaoke. Afterwards, we decided to have a nice relaxing walk through Omiya park. The walk quickly became a lesson in Japanese culture... this is what we found:

Every walkway was filled with vendors selling food and drink, and every bit of grass was covered over by a huge tarpaulin sheet with a bunch of revellers on. That wasn't too bad, though the Karaoke machines that had been rigged up to noisy generators somewhat spoiled the mood.

According to the TV, the blossoms weren't at their best so we quickly got away from the masses and walked around the nearby shrine instead...

Making the most of a very warm day, Amy and I went to Gongendo park in Satte city, apparently it's a very famous place for viewing the cherry blossoms...

...once again the vendors were out in force. It really is a Japanese idea that if something is worth enjoying, then it's worth enjoying enmasse.

But we did have a great picnic before we both had to rush off to work.

The cherry trees are everywhere, and they really are beautiful when in bloom. You really have to make the most of these trees whilst they're in bloom because a few days after these pictures were taken some strong winds came across Sugito and overnight ALL the flowers were gone from the trees!

Nishi Kinren park in Sugito

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