Spring 2013: The Sakura of Peace
Are you annoyed by cherry blossom? Or should I say, are you tired of the idea of hanami, which seems to be all about covering a whole area with ugly blue mats, then to have an army of barbarians over, armed with bento and beers? This kills the inner beauty of sakura. It is an awful situation in which, if you are not lucky, somebody drunk might throw-up on you with all the sushi he just ate.
Traditionally, Hanami is about appreciating the beauty of blooming flowers and the arrival of spring. So why is it replaced by drinking parties with no relation at all? But why not after all, you could say? 😉 And I probably wouldn’t mind joining with some home-made vodka-malabar (this is excellent). However, this year my wish was to let Kami-sama take me by the hand for nice, random walks through the city and enjoy the hanami in a more spiritual and romantic way. Let’s try that.
Sakura were very early this year (two weeks) and got everybody surprised and unprepared. On top of that, the weather was not that great: most of the days were rainy, we had typhoons, and the rest of the time the sky was mostly white, which doesn’t play nice with sakura. I therefore didn’t hesitate a single second to take a day off from work whenever the sky was blue 🙂
I spend the first day of my sakura chase around Nakano, Nishi-Waseda and Kagurazaka. I realised very quickly that it is not so hard to find beautiful and interesting scenes but extremely difficult to actually frame them in one beautiful picture to keep the ambiance… but it was such happiness to spend time trying. If only the time wasn’t running after me! I felt like I could see my shade getting longer, and longer, as I was walking…
I walk randomly and casually everywhere and anywhere, without following a strict plan. Often, I would get attracted by a tiny street afar that appears to have a sakura or two. I will always have places where I want to check nearby. And in cases where I do not see anything interesting around, I will take my iPhone out, check the map, and go towards the closest flow of water or tiny local parks. In Tokyo, it’s not hard to find sakura at all, they are always around!
This cat, lazy as hell, is like a reflection of myself on that day. Too bad he does not have a DSLR around his neck and a little flask full of Boss coffee. He would have been my perfect alter-neko. See ya, cat!
Under the sakura, the city feels completely different, and this apply to the people too. We all go to places we don’t usually go, we look at things we don’t look at normally. Delightful! And the temples also look completely different, they look so alive!
People also look real happy, which is a pleasure.
La Vie en Rose, mais pas seulement…
So… the “Big Parks” or the “Little Streets”?
Now, I would like to ask you: don’t you want to join me for this adventure? Of course, we could have a few beers on the way, stop over at a good ramen shop or just enjoy a bento on a random bench. Isn’t that much better than gathering like factory-chickens at Ueno, Shinjuku or Yoyogi?
Along the River
During my second sakura peregrination in Tokyo, I discovered a magnificent beauty haven of 1 kilometer or more (couldn’t tell the distance): it is a nice walk around Naka-Meguro, along the river (Not the main river of Meguro-gawa, because it is so tiny!). Again, I was amazed by the people packed at Meguro-gawa, while there is a beautiful and more peaceful place close-by.
Keep your eyes opened
We can also enjoy the sakura while living our normal life. The Peaceful Sakura are everywhere, generally cleverly arranged, so never hesitate to go and see them when you have the chance to spot one. It is a great pleasure for free.
For example, below is a sakura found at Fuji-Q, which is the place where you can find the craziest roller coasters in Japan. I was just done with the Eejanaika when I took this photo, which is now my favorite roller coaster 🙂 Please don’t miss the Fujiyama if you go there, it’s really awesome and really long as well. Below, here is a sakura right in front of the very strange house of a famous Japanese actor.
And of course, there are always sakura on my everyday path. This one is turning green, it has probably only 2 or 3 days maximum before being green at 100%.
Et tout le long des courants d’air on voit des amoureux qui savent encore changer leurs nerfs en un bouquet délicieux…
And now we are in Paradise. I brought my friends there for a special crazy Japanese-style sunset, although I never planned it, but it actually was the perfect day for the Diamond-Fuji (this name actually makes no sense, but it’s what it called here – originally used for the eclipses).
The sun set right on the top of Fuji-san! Unforgettable.