It all began with a book. A few months ago, I was reading aloud Thea Stilton and the Cherry Blossom Adventure to my kids. If you're not familiar with books "written" by mouseling Thea or her brother, Geronimo Stilton, they are an excellent bridge between picture books and chapter books for young-ish readers. As I described the action-packed story that took the characters from Kyoto to Tokyo, I was suddenly struck with inspiration for our Spring Break trip. We were going to Japan!
Of course, we had to see the cherry blossoms or "sakura" as they are called in Japanese. New England has their leaf peepers, and I think it's an unofficial law that every Central Texas child must be photographed in a field of bluebonnets. That's how the Japanese feel about hanami (cherry blossom viewing). There's a palpable feeling of giddiness in the air if the sakura are in bloom. We were a few days ahead of the peak, but we still had a chance to enjoy the budding trees in Ueno Park. With more than 1000 cherry trees, it's one of the best hanami places in Tokyo.
|Young love in bloom |
getting their wedding portrait done
|Old married couple|
Office workers set up blue picnic blankets on the the ground and had a party filled with toasts and gaiety. My oldest boy thought that this was a wedding reception since everyone was wearing suits.
|Cherry blossom viewing (hanami) party|
Late at night the next day, we saw another group of workers still picnicking under park lights and cherry blossoms, even though it was already dark. The blooming season is short, so work (and sleep) can wait.
Even the manhole covers paid homage to Mother Nature's lovely work.
Though it was a weekday, the park was packed with what seemed to be both locals and tourists. Jugglers put on an impromptu show, and a kimono-clad woman demonstrated the art of Japanese paper cutting (monkiri).
Thank you, Thea Stilton. Naturally, we brought the book along on our vacation. With a few pages that highlighted some of the most famous sights and activities in Kyoto and Tokyo, it was a great way to build our kids' excitement about the trip.
This post is part of Friday Daydreamin at R We There Yet Mom?