Sakura Peak, Slice of Life #2

As I mentioned in my previous post, Slice of Life #1, I love this time of year in Japan. There is a local park called Minatoyama Koen which is popular for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties. I like to cycle down there during spring break and enjoy the sakura with a flask of tea. You can buy taiyaki, a fish-shaped toasted waffle with sweet red bean filling. It might sound weird but it goes really well with a cup of tea.

I went to the park yesterday and the sakura was at its peak. Some of the trees’ blossoms were already beginning to fall. It’s a beautiful sight as the light-pink blossoms drift down in the breeze. If one falls in your cup, it is considered lucky. Here are some photos of the cherry blossom in Minatoyama Park.

After visiting the park in the morning, I took my daughter for lunch and then we drove to the Japan Sea. Here are a couple of pics of the sea.

My daughter took the bottom image. The yellow signs are the beach numbers.

I used to live in Manchester, England, and the cherry blossom season came later towards the end of April. The colour of the blossoms was a much darker shade of pink. In Japan, the pink is so light it sometimes appears white, like apple blossom. The final two pictures are from the grounds of one of the elementary schools I teach at.

I would love to see some pictures of the spring blossoms where you live. Thanks to Todd, a regular commenter on this blog, for posting a link to some beautiful pictures he took of the cherry blossoms in Washington DC.

Thanks for reading!


30 thoughts on “Sakura Peak, Slice of Life #2

  1. I love viewing these, it’s always great to see the sakura in different areas, and to hear how they differ from region to region. In DC they have several variety of them (gifted from Japan) that range from the super-light pink that borders on white to a darker pink, with the different variety sometimes blooming at slightly different times. I also love how our peak bloom is very close to yours. Have you viewed the trees around autumn time? I did that once in DC, which for the cherry trees here was in early November, when their leaves changed to these beautifully dark and rich reddish tones. It gave the Tidal Basin a completely different look than sakura season, but also very beautiful. But I think my favorite time is on the tail end of peak, when like you mentioned, the petals start falling in the breeze, almost like snow.

    And that taiyaki! I had it once during sakura season at a Japanese festival they hold each year. I think it was warm, and it was fantastic. I remember the first time I tried something with sweat red bean paste and wasn’t at all sure I’d like it. I mean BEANS in a dessert?!?!? But I’ve been hooked ever since and grab anything I find locally with it (usually mochi or some great Korean pastries).

    Another really enjoyable post. And thanks much for the shout out!

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    • Thank you for your comment, Todd. I’m really happy to hear if someone enjoys these little posts. That’s really interesting about the sakura gifted from Japan. When I mentioned it to my wife, she was familiar with the story. She said she learned about it in elementary school.

      Yes, I love the sweet bean cakes and other traditional sweets they make here. They go really well with matcha. Beans in a dessert sounds strange to a lot of people, doesn’t it! As soon as I tried my first obanyaki (sweet bean cake), I was hooked. Those Korean pastries sound really good, too.

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  2. I’ve got one in my garden in bloom right now, but the cherries aren’t edible sadly. The blossoms are starting to fall here too, a bit earlier than usual, I guess because it’s hot for the time of year.

    Did you ever tell the story how you ended up living in Japan?

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    • Nice! We have a plum tree that has light pink blossom but doesn’t bear fruit. And a different kind of sakura with stronger pink blossom. We’ve had some crazy winds over here so a lot of the blossoms have blown off now.

      No, I haven’t told that story yet. Hmm… I’m not sure if it’s of much interest, though.

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        • Yes, it does. The academic year is from April to March in Japan, so my daughter is starting her second year at university next week. She goes back to Kyoto later today. It was wonderful having her back home for the last 4 weeks.

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          • Giulia is with us until Easter Monday, she regularly visits. Her university is about 200km away. Thatโ€™s far nearer than Kyoto to your home, right?

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          • It’s about 280km, so not too far. 3.5 to 4 hours by train or bus. (It’s over 700km to Tokyo!)

            That’s nice that your daughter can visit regularly. Holly comes back during the holidays: spring, summer and winter. They don’t get an autumn break here.

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          • Itโ€™s two longer semester breaks: February until mid April and August until mid October. They write exams in those breaks and have to write longer essays. Itโ€™s not vacation, but she doesnโ€™t have to attend classes. Vacation around Christmas is really free, though.
            They need to start their own life. Iโ€™m still glad to have her here ๐Ÿ˜

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          • I see, thanks. That sounds busy. The spring break is free for Holly. During the other breaks, she has projects and essays to complete.

            Me too! They grow up so fast, as many parents say.

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  3. Nice pictures. And thanks for explaining the yellow signs. I was all set to ask what they meant ๐Ÿ˜€

    We don’t really have cherry blossoms doing their thing up here. I suspect we’re a little to north for them to do well up here.

    How is sweet red bean? I’ve heard of it from the anime I watch but I have to admit, I just don’t “get” sweet and beans in the same thing. Any comparable western food to explain it?

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    • Japan is a great place to visit. It’s very clean, safe and friendly, but getting here can be expensive. And accommodation is pricey, too. I’m looking forward to being able to travel freely, again!

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  4. We have a load of big rhododendrons at our new house. I’m looking forward to seeing them blossom this year (nothing yet). I am also looking forward to taking my daughter to see the apple blossoms.

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  5. My girlfriend’s a huge fan of taiyaki and had me try one of them when we went to London in 2019. Good stuff! And wow at all the sakura! I don’t think there is such a place up here in Canada hahah! I’d have to go hunting to be sure. Gorgeous photos. Thanks for sharing them with us! ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • St. Helens, eh? I’ve never been but I know the name. ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks for the kind words. I still sometimes wake up and pinch myself that I’m really here. Have you ever been to Japan? It’s somewhere I was always interested in since I was young. I blame Akira and the old Kurosawa films.


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