The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 28 March 2008

The sights and smell of Spring

Spring has arrived to Tokyo, and I'm happy for the warmer weather. One of the good things about living further south than where we were last year (in the Noto, Ishikawa-ken) is that spring arrives a couple of weeks earlier. The sakura (cherry) trees are in full bloom right now, and these fleeting blossoms will only last for a week before they start to fall.

Last Saturday we had gorgeous weather and we took a leisurely walk over to the East Garden of the Imperial Palace. The Otemon Gate (the east entrance to the garden)) is located west of Tokyo Station, and it took us only about 35 minutes to get there on foot from our apartment. The whole imperial area is surrounded by a moat, and one of the sakura trees growing on the banks of the moat were beginning to blossom. No surprise then that there was a crowd of Japanese people armed with cameras crowding this tree to get a shot of one of the few fully-bloomed sakura blossoms on that tree. I myself felt pretty silly as I poised my camera to take a shot of these flowers because only moments before I was chuckling at the crowd who did exactly what I was doing.

The moat and entrance to the Imperial East Garden; cherry blossom:

The East garden itself was nothing spectacular - certainly we have been spoilt by having lived in Ishikawa prefecture which is the home of Kenrokuen, touted as one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. (All the Japanese gardens we've seen so far have paled in comparison to the beautiful Kenrokuen.) There were many flowering plants and trees in the Imperial East Garden, although I'm certain the spring blossoms around my previous abode in the inaka (countryside) Noto were far more abundant and beautiful than those in this garden.

I am no flower expert, but I can certainly enjoy the sights of beautiful flowers. Indeed I'm ashamed to say that I cannot differenciate between some types of ume (plum), momo (peach) and sakura blossoms except for the timing of when they bloom respectively. Nonetheless, I hope you can get a taste of how spring looks like in Japan from the following shots.

Pink flowers:

Yellow flowers. Can you spot a bug in the daffodil shot?

Spring vacation started this week and my friend Kim from the Noto is visiting Tokyo for a week, which explains my lack of posting on my journal this week. Hopefully I will be posting more regularly next week.

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