I love this time of year, besides the sheer beauty of all the cherry blossoms, it also means that the cold weather is ALMOST gone. Winters are not horribly bad here in Kobe, but apartments are not insulated and we don't have central heating, so it's pretty cold. While I love being somewhere with an autumn again, I don't know if winter makes it worth it.
It's exciting when almost every store puts out their cherry blossom displays - whether it be the grocery store with their picnic mats and good picnic food displays or the stationary store with its gorgeous selection of cherry blossom paper and stickers. On the news, they post a Cherry Blossom Forecast (Prime Sakura Viewing), so one (hundreds of people) knows the best spots to visit to view the peak of the flowers. All things pink and the delicate flowers abound inside and out right now!
Sakura is the Japanese word for Cherry Blossoms. And Ohanami is what one does to enjoy the flower blossoms... Picnic under the cherry blossoms. It is taken very seriously here - if you couldn't tell by the cherry blossom forecasts. Often times, someone from an office will go a stake claim to prime places under the cherry blossoms and leave picnic blankets out for when the rest of the workers are done with work. This year, since the country is in a time of mourning, corporations are not having
Yesterday, we went to Sakura Sakagawa which is a man made river embankment with about row of about 200 yards worth of Sakura trees. We had a great time with a few friends and their families and another few hundred people.
The weather was perfect and we got right next to a tree so when the wind blew it snowed cherry blossoms. Unfortunately, I didn't get great pictures, but we had a wonderful afternoon!