Friday, March 30, 2007

They're cooooooming....

Well, a mere matter of days after my family leaves Japan, the cherry trees in Ueno Park at 100% and those in Utsunomiya are on their way. Too bad folks! But do keep an eye on the blog and you'll see what you missed.

Yoshiko and I hopped on our bikes this morning and did a bit of Sakura scouting around central Utsunomiya. Our first stop was Shoun-ji, where the trees are in fact well on their way.

The grounds of this temple also have this large tree, which was planted in the early Edo period, some 350 years ago. This old feller has survived many years and even a direct lightning strike. I missed seeing it in full bloom last year, won't make the same mistake this year.

Next, we crossed over into Hachimanyama Park to check out the progress there, and most of the trees were still very early in their blooming cycle. Nonetheless, we will be back here on Sunday for a bit of a Cherry Blossom Party... looking forward to it!

After having lunch at Yarra, near the Tochigi Prefectural Office, we continued on to Jikou-ji, where the city's earliest blossoming tree is located. Unfortunately, the clouds rolled in for a bit and I couldn't get a decent shot... a nice tree for sure.

We then made our way up to Futaarayama Shrine where a few of the trees have started up. Unfortunately, the construction of a nearby building has totally messed up the central approach to the shrine, which is quite lovely this time of year. Just in the last few weeks, they've erected a metal fence and ripped up the road right at the base of the stairs to the shrine... and just before the big cherry blossom viewing crowds come in.... bad planning desu ne? Stupid construction. At least the future views from this area promise to be better. After the demolition of two building which crowded in to the main access to the shrine, they will keep a wider avenue once the new buildings go up.

A few of the azalea trees up there were blooming quite nicely though.

There was also a man feeding pigeons, which is always amusing to watch. These birds would come right up onto his arm to get their soy beans...

Over the last few days of moving around downtown, I've noticed some additions in the form of signage and maps on the streets, in Japanese and English, which is nice.

I guess this may be part of the tourist plan with the newly built Utsunomiya "Castle" opening recently. I guess they expect an influx of visitors? Good luck with that, we happened to bike by the other day and it's nothing too too spectacular. Then again, I have seen 2 of the best castles in Japan, Matsumoto and Himeji, which are both originals... a fero-concrete reproduction just doesn't float my boat I guess.

So, with less than three weeks in Japan left, and less than two weeks left before we move in with Yoshiko's parents in Imaichi, we've started getting ready. A recycling company is dropping by tomorrow to give us a price for Yoshiko's appliances and some of the furniture she'll be getting rid of. We've also boxed up some things and are now waiting for the move date to get closer before packing in earnest. I don't really have anything left here since my folks took 5 bags of mine home, including my skis. So that's that!

Oh, and I will be needing a job when I get back in Canada... Something around the Vice-Presidential level of a company would be nice... but I'm willing to accept lower... lol Do keep your ears open for me won't you? Don't wanna go back into tech support, unless it's a Team Lead position, going to be trying to get in to the government I believe... we shall see.


Anonymous Sarah said...

I recently found your blog and I must say, it's fantastic! Congrats on your life-changing experience in Utsunomiya. I lived there from 2005-2006 and your blog keeps me in the 'nomiya loop ;) I'll be back for a visit (all the way from Halifax!!!) in June and thanks to your blog, I feel like I haven't missed a thing...although I am sad to miss hanami this year :( Best of luck to you and your wife as you start your new life in Ottawa!

1:59 PM  

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