Sunday, February 25, 2007

The springing of Spring

Well, that's pretty much that. Last night, with my farewell party, my obligations to AEON have all been taken care of and I am officially a free man. The party was nice, though the venue leaves a lot to be desired. Good turnout though, and as always, it's the attendees who make or break such an event. I am picture-less since I was too busy talking with people to snap photos, but I'm sure I'll get some by email at some point and I will be sure to post a few on here. One of the highlights of the evening was when Matt and I sang an ode to Scotto-sensei with a slightly modified version of "Country Roads" by John Denver. Priceless! That was pretty much it for the big goodbyes. From this point out, I foresee just a few more intimate get-togethers.

On a significantly lighter note, after having lunch with Mattoto, who was unfortunately forced to work one of the dumb Sunday Open days at the school, I embarked on a stroll reminiscent of the days Scott and I would bum around Utsunomiya for hours on end. I started out at the temple behind the Tochigi Prefectural Office which has a series of plum trees. As I approached, I could smell the fragrance of the blossoms on the air and knew I was in luck. Plum blossoms are considered by most as a mere preview to the fantastic cherry blossoms which follow, but they are special in their own way. My favourite thing about them is the fragrance, which is strong but not overpowering and permeates any area where plum trees are in bloom. Quite lovely and the first real sign of Spring's arrival. This is the front of the temple in question, The old cherry tree which blooms here is definitely worth the visit.


While some of the trees were just starting to bloom...


Others were much further along... say 60%? due to their location in full sun for most of the day.


In a sort of blog reply to Masanori, who took a great picture of chestnuts with the moon in the background and posted it on his blog, I snapped a few with plum blossoms in the foreground. Thanks for the inspiration! Here's the first with some yellow plum blossoms in the foreground.


And with white blossoms.


This is the gate to the graveyard on the temple grounds, these trees will flower up really nicely and frame the gate very well. I took a photo like this last spring as well. After looking back at my pictures, these guys are about 3 weeks earlier than they were last year... testament to this warm winter we've enjoyed here.


After spending a bit of time on the temple grounds enjoying the blossoms, I headed out to Hachimanyama park for a bit of a walk. The Cherry trees there are just starting to bud, figure another couple of weeks before the blooms start popping out, though it will depend on the weather. On my way out of the park, I found myself perched on the side of a hill overlooking the city. I guess the reason plum and cherry blossoms are so wonderful is that the are an oasis of beauty in the concrete jungle that are are typical Japanese cities. This tree is the only one in view from this vantage point.


But of course, as with most things, so long as your modify your aperture and limit your depth of field, the beauty manages to shine through despite the surrounding concrete.


I completed my afternoon of wandering by making my way all the way home on foot, rounding out about 4 hours of walking. Not so bad.

2 Comments:

Blogger Wanderer Masa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:16 AM  
Blogger Wanderer Masa said...

Great photos, Michel. The fragrance is coming from your photos.
I don't have to worry about hay fever in front of my PC!

9:21 AM  

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