Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cherry Blossom Season

It is Cherry Blossom, or Sakura season here in Japan, and its absolutely gorgeous.  I always admired the Cherry Blossom trees back home, but didn't realize until we moved to Japan, how symbolical and beloved these trees are to the Japanese people. I'm so happy that we are here and able to participate in the festivities surrounding the Sakura.

There are over 200 varies of Cherry Blossom and they are native to many East Asian countries.  I've seen people at local parks, on the military base, and at temples viewing these trees. They have their cameras, lunch, and sketch pads in tow.  Viewing the trees is a time for people to relax and revel in their beauty.

Ohanami or flower viewing parties are popular.  It is customary for people to gather under a Cherry Blossom tree in the late afternoon and into the evening with friends or co-workers eating traditional Japanese food, drinking beer and drinking sake.  We attended our first Ohanami party with some of Justin co-workers last night.  It was a nice evening of food, good sake, great company and of course, lovely scenery.  Kampai!

Additional information about Sakura:

1) I've read that Cherry Blossom trees are planted outside of Japanese public buildings and schools to mark the beginning of the fiscal year and new school year which starts in Cherry Blossom season.

2) Cherry Blossoms are found in many food and drink items.  You can find them in wine, waffles, and pickled.

3) The Cherry Blossom is on the 100 yen coin.

4) The Cherry Blossom is symbolized in the Japanese military, art, film, music, anime, and song to name a few.

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