It’s Hanami Time! Sakura Blossoms Come to Yamaguchi

April 6, 2012

Yeeeeeah, that’s right. The 桜 (sakura/さくら) are here. Cherry blossoms everywhere! Finally, I feel like a kid in a Miyazaki movie. Cherry blossoms are, the quintessential ‘wanna see’ for any North American kid who’s ever dreamed of going to Japan. The beautiful trees are everywhere.  From a distance it sort of looks like they’re covered in this pink-white snow fluff.  Get a good gust of wind and they shower blossoms down all over you.

The sakura blossoms only last for about 2-3 weeks, so everyone tries to enjoy them while they can. You can see tons of people stopping at the side of the roads to take pictures; everyone from giggly jr. high girls to black-suited salarymen: no one is immune.  

‘Hana mi’ literally means ‘flower viewing’ (花見). From the end of March to early May while the cherry and plum (ume) blossoms bloom, you can find people gathering outdoors for walks, picnics, photos and other festivities. In general, everyone is in a wonderful mood.  At night, you’ll see a lot of teenagers and young people having nighttime picnics with lots of beer and sake near the trees. These can get a little more rowdy, although in general everyone is still very respectful (it is Japan, after all).

I actually can not stop taking pictures of them. I wonder if there’s a Japanese word to describe this compulsion?  Sakura fever?

We’re so lucky at Yamaguchi Prefectural University to have a huge sakura trees blooming right outside our cafeteria on campus. 

You can sit, study, eat and relax while the blossoms dance around you on the wind.  If that isn’t picturesque, then – – well, you know what? It is, no matter what.

Friendly classmates in the cafeteria’s outdoor eating area!

This is my kind, smart and beautiful tutor, Miho! Everybody clap for Miho! I’m not the most studious student of Japanese, too busy running off and having adventures, but she puts up with me nonetheless.  She even took my picture!

I feel so lucky to be here; to get to experience all these beautiful sights and sounds, smells, existence, ahhhhhh. Truly, the world is an amazing place!