Having recently said sayonara to another cherry blossom season, I thought I'd share a couple photos of this year's sakura (cherry blossoms). A bunch of our fellow JETs gathered for the customary cherry blossom viewing picnic downtown in Peace Park (along with throngs of Japanese), but Joe was feeling anti-social that day, so instead we opted to enjoy the blossoms on the grounds of the little shrine across the street from our apartment.
It doesn't have the thousands of trees that Peace Park boasts, but it does have something Peace Park doesn't during cherry blossom season — some peace and quiet! We avoided the crowds and had the place all to ourselves. Even though the shrine is also a stone's throw from the train line and the bustling main road, it manages to be this lovely oasis of calm, buffered by houses around its perimeter and several large trees. So Joe and I set up camp there on a blue tarp and spread out our Sequence board game, some strawberries, my favorite dirt-cheap white wine ($3 a bottle — and it tastes great!), crackers & cheese and some inari (rice balls in fried tofu). It was a very pleasant afternoon just the two of us.
Here are a couple other nice trees we saw during our walk around the neighborhood and down the bike path.
In case you're wondering, no, the blossoms don't have a scent — despite what Bath & Body Works may tell you.
We did visit Peace Park a couple times during cherry blossom season, but neither visit was really good for photographs. The first time, only half the blossoms were in bloom, and the second time we went in the evening. I was surprised that there wasn't any special lighting on the cherry trees, actually. It's too bad, because it would be absolutely stunning in places there along the river at night. So we'll have to wait 'til next year to post some proper photos of Peace Park in full bloom.
The cherry blossoms are gone now but a variety of other flowers have now made their debut. Everywhere we go the walkways are lined with Rhododendran and tulips. This weekend was T-shirt weather. It's one of the most pleasant times to be in Japan, and I feel lucky to be here.