Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cherry Blossoms

I'm a bit late writing about this, but I wanted to share some cherry blossom photos. Cherry blossom season sprang to life around the very end of March, beginning of April, shortly after Joe and I returned from our trip to the states. The blossoms blanketed the city in their faintly pink glory for about a week or two.

It was more than I ever expected it to be. I knew it would be beautiful, but it surpassed my expectations. Really spectacular. I can see why Japan is known for its cherry blossoms. In places with clusters of cherry trees, you just felt like you were gazing into a big cloud of delicate white flowers.

When we visited the Shukkeien Garden downtown, there was one spot where we climbed some stairs that were surrounded by cherry trees. I felt completely enveloped in blossoms. So blissful.

The Japanese celebrate cherry blossom season with "Ohanami," which are cherry blossom viewing excursions. Tons of people head to the parks with their friends, a picnic basket and an arm load of beer and park themselves beneath the many flowering trees. Joe and I went to Iwakuni with some other JET friends to have a picnic by the Kintai Kyo bridge (the hilly bridge I wrote about in January). It has a reputation as one of the best places in Japan for cherry blossom viewing.

We had a fantastic time. It was crowded, but not unpleasantly so. Lots of people brought along their cute little dogs, so I always had some cute ball of fluff to coo over, too.

There was also this poor monkey on a leash, but he was more sad than cute.

A crowd had gathered around this stage where a guy made him do tricks. While I watched, he threw out a handful of coins and after a couple minutes of being stubborn the monkey finally walked around picking up the money and tossing it into the box. The audience was delighted. I just felt sorry for him. Poor monkey on a leash...

These photos are all Joe's, by the way. Unfortunately, my camera is currently out of commission. The automatic lens cover malfunctioned, so it's in the process of being fixed. I'm not sure how long it will take to get it back. In the meantime, I'll be pilfering Joe's photos for your enjoyment.

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