Monday, April 16, 2007

Spring in Japan



School graduations and farewell parties are over. April is the time to celebrate new beginnings. At CEH, we are happy to start our second year. In Japan, "Hanami" or cherry blossom viewing is one highlight of April. This tradition started sometime in the 7th century. Cherry blossoms are such a part of the Japanese mind/culture now. Although we have cherry blossoms in my native country (USA), people don't get so excited about them. Is it because we can't appreciate the beauty of nature as much as the Japanese do? Maybe we need to adopt the custom of "hanami party" where families, friends, colleagues both young and old sit under the cherry blossoms and drink, eat, sing and drink some more into the night. I have enjoyed this custom here but wonder if it would ever pick up back home. Some Japanese will even follow the cherry blossoms all over Japan in quest of the perfect blossom. My favorite place in Odawara for cherry blossoms is the Odawara Castle. This year the peak was around April 1st. I went one week later after returning from California. It was still nice even then. Next spring, let's have our own "hanami party" at the castle!

3 comments:

Hideki said...

Hi Conrad,

It is the first time to write on your blog. Talkig of "Hanami", I also visited Odawara Castle on the beggining of April with Dutch person who is the employee of subsidiary in netherland. He took photo of the "Hanami party" not cherry blossoms. I thought he was more interested in the custom of Japan than the beauty of cherry blosoms. It is true that many Japanes people enjoy Hanami party and sometimes singing and drinking are the main subject, and watching flowers is neglected. But I absolutely enjoy the beauty of cherry blossoms and I always visit several places in Odawara city every year. I recommend National Printing Bureau in Kamonomiya as the place for watching cherry blossoms. There are a lot of old cherry trees, but we can enter there only two days a year. I wish we could attend "Hanami English Class" !

conrad said...

Hideki,

Thank you very much! You are the first (and right now only) one to write a comment on my BLOG. But hopefully others will follow suit. :) I love your idea of a "Hanami English Class". Maybe we'll try that next year. I also want to visit the National Printing Bureau you wrote about, sounds nice.

Anonymous said...

I am sure I will miss Spring in Japan X0