Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spring is HERE! Time to Hanami!

You know it's Spring when you see sakura (cherry blossoms). It is probably the single most anticipated event in Japan, and I can definitely see why. Spring couldn't have come any sooner for me as I was D-U-N with winter approximately 2.5 days after it began.

I give a lot of detail about 'sakura' and 'hanami' in my previous post (http://sarahmoersfelder.blogspot.com/2008/04/sakura-real-deal.html), so if you missed it and want to know more, check that out. Otherwise, just browse the pics below and enjoy.

Even though I was bummed to leave Okinawa (and be sunburnt), almost my entire train ride from Tokyo to Maebashi was lined with sakura trees. It was incredibly beautiful. I love how Japan can so graceful blend city and nature together.

This is the view of my 'backyard'.

The Momonoki River I get to bike along every day.

Cherry blossoms in bloom = time to hanami (cherry blossom viewing/picnicking). And hanami we did. This is Shikishima Park, one of the best in Gunma for sures.

Spotted 'em! So there we sat, on our little tarp with food and drinks to last a week, never ending conversations, my mini speakers providing some tunes, sporadic objects being thrown, and of course the view of cherry blossoms in full bloom gracefully falling from the trees surrounding us.

Not only must you enjoy the flowers, you must take pictures of them. You must take MANY pictures of them. Or else, you are not Japanese. Below, a cute old man demonstrates how to be Japanese, and cute!
Although most Japanese hanami only with their family and friends in a small and intimate group surrounded by many other small and intimate groups around them, we are foreigners so we like to wander and disrupt/join other hanamis. This is a group of Phillipinos living in Gunma.

And this... THIS is the magic. When the light hits just right and wind blows just subtly enough and the cute kids are playing amidst it all... that's when the magic happens.

That night I headed to Tatabayashi (another city in Gunma) to talk Malaysia with Julie and hanami again the next day. And hanami we did. Julie is rightfully displaying her awesome carrot cake. Mmmmm.

Making new friends in Tats, with Benny (a guy who loves American army lingo) and Travis (a guy who helped explain the army jokes Benny made to me).

Say "hanami!"

Julie doesn't think much of Tatabayashi, but I thought it was pretty gorgeous. AND they had like a million and one carp streamers up in anticipation of Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day).

Thanks for the Easter Peeps, parentals! They were a big hit:)


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