Sakura!

Today, it snowed.  It’s April 8th!  And it actually snowed!  Luckily, most of the cherry blossoms had finished their run so the  rain and cold and yes, even snow, didn’t have too much to do with their demise, but still.  As I’m looking out my window today I can hardly believe I took these pictures just last week.  I must say, I am ready for Spring to begin in earnest!

The blossoms are really amazing.  I knew the Sakura (cherry blossoms) were a really big deal here, and I knew they were pretty, but I was kind of thinking, well, I’ve seen cherry blossoms before, and I love walking down at Portland’s waterfront while they are blooming, so it will be nice to see in Japan too but nothing I hadn’t seen before.  Um, I was wrong.

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These trees are HUGE. And OLD.  And EVERYWHERE.  And the whole city is celebrating.  People wait for the blooming to be announced so that they can start celebrating Hanami (flower viewing) on picnic blankets in the parks around Tokyo.

Our family visited a popular Hanami spot on the Meguro-Gawa (river) when the flowers were blooming but not quite defined as “full bloom.”  The weather was great, the crowds were friendly, there were food and drink stalls all along the river–it was so nice!

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The next day, we also walked around near Tokyo Tower and the nearby Zojoji Shrine.  The weather wasn’t as cooperative that day but at least the rain held off!

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And a few days later, once the blooms were completely open and pink-tinged, I walked around the Imperial Palace by myself one day while the kids were at school and Colby was at work.   The pictures at the top of the post are from that day, as are the photos from here on out:

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This was the line that I  stood in to take a photo of one of Tokyo’s most recognizable landmarks, Tokyo Tower, surrounded by cherry blossoms.  Everyone was very amiable and patient and polite, snapping their photo then getting out of the way. Nobody was in a hurry so there wasn’t that sense of claustrophobia that sometimes exists when a lot of people want to do the same thing.

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The money shot

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I felt like I just wanted to take it all in, since who knows if I’ll ever have the chance to participate in Hanami in Tokyo again?  We found out a few weeks ago that we will be finishing up here in Tokyo this summer, and returning to Portland in August rather than next May, so we won’t be living here for Hanami next year!  But I tell you what–we will definitely be taking cherry blossom walks out on the waterfront in Portland next spring, and remembering how different our life was in 2014!

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