The past two days have been filled with cherry blossoms (called sakura (桜) in Japanese) and 花見 (hanami; cherry blossom viewing).
These photos are from a few different places; around the outer walls of Nagoya Castle (名古屋城), at Meijo Park (名城公園), and at Tsuruma Park (鶴舞公園).
On our way to the park, we passed by the castle. There were a lot of people out, since it was a lovely day. All along the castle walls are cherry blossoms, and when the wind blows it looks like it’s snowing. We were lucky to have an absolutely beautiful day.
Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and girls in Japan are hurrying to get everything ready! The holiday is quite different here, as February 14th is a day when only the girls do the giving. Stores are packed with a variety of “make your own (insert treat name here)” sets, and adorably designed boxes of chocolate. I have to admit, there are some pretty awesome looking sets, and I love the “dig-up” chocolate, where you get to be a paleontologist and dig up some yummy chocolate dinosaur bones!
I have a confession.
I’ve been living in Japan for about five years, and I do not own a yukata. While it’s not something everyone living in Japan must have, I feel like I’m missing out a bit.
I’ve thought about getting one in the past, and recently I’ve been revisiting these thoughts. Of course I’ve worn yukata at onsen and hotels, but I’ve never had one of my own. I guess part of me felt that since I’m not Japanese, it’s weird if I wear one. Almost like I’m an imposter. However, the more I think about it, the more I realise that it’s just clothing, and it’s part of Japanese culture. Why not jump right in?
So what exactly is a yukata?
The weather is starting to warm up, which means that spring is just around the corner. As many people know, spring in Japan means sakura (cherry blossoms) and hanami (flower viewing).
I always love the time of year when the cherry blossoms start to show, and everything turns into shades of pink, and white with a spattering of earthy browns and greens. My absolute favourite thing to see is the wind blow the petals around like a soft, pink snow.
So while I enjoy cherry blossom time, I never knew much about that. I decided to rectify that, so here are a few interesting cherry blossom facts.
In June of 2009, a friend of mine came to visit. During her stay, we took a day trip with a couple of my friends to Kyoto. We were lucky to have some beautiful weather, and spent the day visiting the a few of the most famous tourist spots in Kyoto.
Before we took off to see the sights, we stopped at a little shop where you can get made over to look like a maiko (舞妓), or an apprentice geisha.
I guess technically we were all too old to be maiko, but it was a really fun experience.