This week, the sakura (Japanese cherry blossom) started blooming! Since there are so many sakura trees, it is truly an awesome sight to behold. The trees, that are actually somewhat bland during the rest of the year, suddenly explode with pink/white flowers. The trees stay like this for about a week, and then the flowers fall of, creating a blizzard of petals. I guess this makes Sakura so special, one day the trees suddenly bloom and just as quick they are back to normal.
The Japanese themselves are very fond of this special time of the year. When the first flowers appear, so do the first cameras. Our house is next to the famous “Philosophers Path”, a trail in Kyoto that visits a lot of different temples and is full of sakura trees. During the day, hordes of Japanese tourists walk by for “Hanami” (cherry blossom viewing). How nice that they also decided that Hanami is a great time to be picnicking and partying! Especially in Maruyama park the atmosphere is truly fantastic. All different kind of delicious food is prepared and everyone is enjoying their beers, during entire day and night. At night the lamps show the most beautiful tree of them all; an very old sakura tree that almost looks like it is emitting light. The tree is so old that it needs to be supported by a lot of wooden poles.
We also had our very own Hanami party/picnic with our friends Yoshiko, Eri and Jesse. Yoshiko made a large bento box (a box with food to go) with all kinds of delicious things, and the weather was also very nice. Also yoshiko got us these special ancient Japanese hats for earthquakes and disasters, made by her grandmother! Really neat, you might recognise them if you have seen “Grave of the Fireflies” ( -> the little girl is wearing one) We have put them next to our bed :-).