April 25, 2011

easter sunday with cherry blossoms

The month of April seems to have gone in a haze between my day job, news and current stories on TV and the Internet, lots of sakura sweets, and a short trip to Kyoto. And now back in this mountainous part of Nagano which is located north to Tokyo and at a higher altitude, cherry blossoms have finally started to come into full bloom, a few weeks later than they did in Tokyo or Kyoto.

It was Sunday yesterday, and it happened to be a gorgeous one with clear blue sky and warm breeze, perfect for a little walk...

And this also happened to be the Easter weekend. Not that we celebrate it here as many of you may do where you are, and I tend to see it pass without any big event, at least when I am in Japan. (But when I happen to be elsewhere, like in London, well, that's another story.)

In some years I might have some Easter eggs or hot cross buns, but this year I had nothing planned out, and it looked as though Easter would come and go without event - until on Saturday I received a small package bulging with Easter candy from the other side of the world, brought no doubt by the Easter Bunny. Good job!
My favorite easter candy of these past few years, by the way, has been the MaltEaster bunnies; they are basically giant Maltesers in the shape of bunny - oddly cute with all the Maltesers goodness in every bite. Yum!

In the absence of young children in the household, we didn't do an egg hunt on Sunday morning. But we did admire pretty eggs and enjoyed picking them just as enthusiastically as any kid would.
Celebrating Easter has never really been a part of early spring rituals in our culture, but this year it seemed to have literally marked the return of spring, as it has coincided perfectly with the cherry blossoms coming to bloom here in Nagano.

And it was such a gorgeous day I took my camera along as we went out to run errands in the afternoon, hoping to catch some more sights of the blossoms along the way. I was glad I did!
See the pink blobs on the hillside? They are sakura trees, and I had never realized there are so many of them there, until the flowers blossom and turn into masses of pink.

For instance, all these times I took this road, I had never noticed it was lined with cherry trees...
... Nor would I ever be able to spot sakura trees along the mountain paths in other times of the year...
Which is a bit shame, but the way they seem to pop up out of nowhere (to me) makes it doubly exciting when I finally 'discover' cherry blossoms when they come to bloom.

It would have been nice if I had planned a full-blown hanami (flower viewing) picnic for the day, but as it was I hadn't, so I had to settle for quick stops here and there. But we still enjoyed our little hanami trip.

Now we are planning to do a proper hanami sometime soon - after all, those blossoms have a very short life on the tree, and they seems to be even more fleeting up in the mountains.
I hope you all had a good weekend and are enjoying the arrival of new season as much as I do here. Have a good week! -cx