Sakura for 2010 has come and gone. Well, I assume it is gone since Iâ€™m not actually in Japan at this time. When I left last week, the wind and the rain were taking their toll on the trees.
I was able to enjoy sakura a little bit this year, although I think the peak time was probably when I was in between traveling to and from the UK just prior to traveling to the US. On a side note, I will say that I am very relieved that I got out of the UK before Eyjafjallajokull erupted. (Say Eyjafjallajokull fast three times, come on, I DARE you!). So, although I missed the peak, I did get some early viewing in and some night viewing.
Luckily, Yahoo! Japan has an entire guide to cherry blossoms on their website, so you can see EXACTLY what the conditions are throughout the country. There are also other websites dedicated to watching the progress of the blossoms, such as this one for Nagoya.
Tomo and I went to Tsuramai Park early in the season for our own little èŠ±è¦‹ (ã¯ãªã¿ – hanami – cherry blossom viewing party). As always, you can count on festival foods â€“ the really unhealthy stuff. We had ã‹ã‚‰ã‚ã’ (karaage â€“ fried chicken), ç„¼ãã° (yakisoba â€“ fried soba noodles), and were tempted by ãŸã“ç„¼ã (takoyaki â€“ squid in a dough ball). And, of course, beer. Public consumption of alcohol is stilled allowed in Japan. I wonder when that will end?
A week later I went out on my own on a lonely Saturday night to å±±å´Žå· (ã‚„ã¾ã–ããŒã‚ â€“ Yamazakigawa). I knew that Yamazakigawa had illumination and I thought that the path started near Aratamabashi, but when I found the river and started walking the correct direction (courtesy of my trusty iPhone GPS) I was underwhelmed. There were lots of cherry trees but very low level lighting. It was cold as well, and I was bundled up. I kept walking though, knowing that there should be something more dramatic. Eventually I found a mob of people and overly illuminated cherry trees. Clearly I was there.
Sakura is a great time of year in Japan, signaling the beginning of springtime. Once I returned from the UK, spring was busting out all over. Iâ€™m sure that when I get back just before Golden Week, Spring will have sprung completely.
Enjoying Tsuramai (or Tsurama) Park.
The underwhelming night view along Yamazakigawa…
… that fortunately got better further down the path.
As I was meandering through the streets trying to find my way to a different subway station, saved again by my iPhone GPS, I stumbled across some interesting architecture including this overgrown gerbil habitat. Interesting.