Sunday, March 26, 2006

They're heeeere

Well it's official ladies and gents. With the arrival of Cherry Blossoms here in Utsunomiya, Spring is finally here. On the grounds of a temple nearby stands a multi-century old cherry tree which is just about to erupt into flowers. This is the old boy here and you can see it is just covered in buds at the moment.


A few of the buds have begun to bloom, marking a very early return of sakura to Utsunomiya.


The cherry trees in Hachiman-yama park are also starting to get going, with a few flowers just on the cusp of coming out.


Needless to say, Yoshiko and I did a bit of walking today, even though the weather wasn't that great. Our trip to Ueno was postponed to next weekend since the blossoms in Ueno park were only at about 30%, we'd prefer to hit them at their peak... next week should be perfect so long as it's not too windy or rainy this week.

Took this nice shot of the plum blossoms and an old gate at the temple as well.


There was also this bike which nature was slowly reclaiming as its own.


All in all a relaxing day. Slept in a bit this morning, then a quick breakfast and we headed out to the temple and Hachiman-yama park. Spring really is a great time to be in Japan, especially now with the sakura blooming, the atmosphere is just fantastic with people out for walks and picnics in the parks and such. I can see why Scott extended his contract just to enjoy one last spring here. After the walk, we headed to Starbucks for a quick frapuccino (they have green tea ones here, they are great!) and then to Nagasakiya to stock up for dinner. Tonight, I made Ginger pork chops and mashed potatoes and carrots.... almost something I would make at home. Unfortunately, I forgot to cut the soy and ginger with some sake so they were a bit too salty... but live and learn I guess. Tomorrow Scott and I are likely headed out for our monthly Yamaya run where I'll pick up some nacho chips since I intend on trying out Matt's great guacamole recipe which he made for us a couple of weeks ago.

Look at me, all I talk about is hanami and food... I truly am turning Japanese! Tomorrow I'll post with a bit of a bite into a taboo subject I broached in class this week for a speech unit about a "controversial topic." Predictably, most of our students picked safe topics such as dieting or school uniforms... but I initiated a full frontal assault on the right-wing groups here in Japan. If I'm up to it, I'll write up a bit of a rant on the subject some time this week.

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