Monday, April 03, 2006


I’ve had a fascination with the cherry blossom, or sakura or yamazakura as its referred to honorably in Japan ever since mom and dad moved to Tokyo and mom started waxing eloquent about this beatific bloom that could be seen everywhere, come April. Mom insisted I plan a visit around that time. Being at school in NYC, I could only visit in May and by then the sakura had given way to the hydrangea. Next year, when mom started talking about these blossoms again, I gave into the temptation and visited Washington DC for the cherry blossom parade. I barely caught the blooms. We spent the entire day Saturday walking around the mall and admiring the flowers. When we drove past the area on Sunday, we were in for a disappointing sight. It had rained in the night and the water droplets had taken the flowers with them in their plunge to the earth. I was left wanting for more.
I moved to Japan towards the end of April and then started the wait for the next April, for the cherry to bloom again. I wanted to witness the blossom in its glory again and I did get the opportunity.
And I got it again this year. Although, it lasted for a much shorter time than last year, I enjoyed it much more this year. The ladies of Rachna club organize a Sakura charity bazaar, every year. The club is formed by wives of the senior members of the Indian Embassy in Tokyo and the wives of other Indians in Tokyo. Though I am guessing, being a wife is not a mandatory requirement for membership. :P
In the Previous years, almost all the food sold at the bazaar was made by the ladies themselves. Last year, they introduced a few restaurants and this year, the food was entirely by the restaurants. The members, however, manned the various stalls and their family members pitched in. The bonhomie and the sense of belonging was so tangible, one could almost touch it. And, as a friend put it, he felt at home, in India while he was at the embassy. Don’t take my word for it, just read about it.

I took these picures at the Yasukuni war memorial shrine on the 18th of march. This particular tree is from Kyoto and it was blooming then.

These pics are from yasukuni shrine again, just different trees. The leaves are already visible. Another day or two, and the flowers will fall off and the leaves will take over. The Pics were taken on April 1st and the blooms already on its way to getting over.

And now, to a different kind of bloom. Its still the sakura, it just hangs. I think it is also referred to as the weeping cherry. I could be wrong about it though. These were taken on the 2nd of April, at the end of the lab hanami picnic.

We did not have as nice a picnic as last year , as, it was windy and sand got into mostly everything. I've witnessed worse sandstorms here as compared to the ones in the mid east. so we sat on our blue tarp for a little while, tried to eat and drink and make merry, but after a few beer spills and a hell lot of mopping, we finally gave up and headed towards the lab. We did make takoyaki ( octopus ) though. It seems to be a hanami tradition. This year though, there were too many fake takoyaki floating around. From the ones filled with apples bananas and pineapples to my own desi take on it. I took bondas for the lab picnic :D

And now for the grand finale. Apy took a great effort for it and was generous enough to share


Vivek said...

They indeed look so beautiful. I have always heard about them:) and wanted to see them: maybe once I become a famous writer, I'll be able to go;)

Nice description there: as beautiful as the blooms

.m. said...

the flowers are super beautiful... noticed one of the videos had them flowing about like snow drops... almost!
lucky you, must feel like in a story book to be surrounded by so any flowers.
Do they smell good too?

El enigma said...

hey bilbo....absolutely stunning pics...I've always loved the pic on the top of ur home I know they are cherry blossoms :)

and the grand finale was so cool, I was expecting some audio in the video too by the way ;)


bilbo said...

Thanks ppl,
Vivek, amen to your becoming a famous writer :)
Wbix, I havent tried smelling the flowers. But I dont think they have any fragrance. The plum flowers have a slight aroma that one can smell on the air .
Enig, thanks. I have an old point and shoot camera. It does not have audio support for the video recordings. :(

Santa said...

Really beautiful....... thanks for sharing.....