Cherry Blossoms

This weekend the cherry blossoms in Tokyo have been in full bloom, so we’ve been to see them. If you don’t know how important the cherry blossoms are in Japanese culture, you could look at my Japan Diary for this time of year, or, indeed, just have a close look at the background for the diary (not the blog). Almost everyone, it seems, goes to spread blue plastic sheets under the trees and have a picnic. This being the nation of conformity (allegedly), who are we to be different?

So, we went to Ikuta Ryokuchi, a park near our home, to see the cherry blossoms. Actually, the park is closer than I had thought; it’s about the same distance as the Forest Park (Shinrin Kouen), so we may plan to go there a bit more often. Today, Yuriko had organised the “Mummies Group”, which is made up of the people we met at the Ward’s parent classes, to meet for a picnic. That meant that there were five babies around six months old, along with all of their mothers and, by the end, four of their fathers. It was my first time to meet some of the fathers, but obviously I’d met all the mothers before. It was also my first time to meet the babies.

Mayuki was, of course, the cutest baby there. This may have been because she was in the best mood; she didn’t go to sleep, and she smiled and laughed nearly all the time. One of the other babies slept all the time, while the other three slept a bit, cried a bit, smiled a bit… behaved like babies. (Of course, Mayuki cried as soon as we got home; she must have been enjoying the outing.)

We actually went to the same place as last year, and went up on the viewing platform to take a picture of Mayuki with the boar. They have the animals of the Chinese zodiac on the railing of the viewing platform, and Mayuki was born in the year of the boar. Of course, we got the cherry blossoms in the background, so that’s a nice picture. We got quite a few nice pictures; I was pleased about that.

Today’s weather was not quite ideal for cherry blossom picnics, but we didn’t let that stop us. Yuriko had made a home-made packed lunch for us, with rice balls, quiche, and pickles; it was really nice. She also baked a marmalade cake, which we shared with everyone, and that was very nice as well. Still, it was a bit chilly and rather cloudy, so we only stayed about three hours. It was good timing, too, because it started to rain on our way home, and now it’s raining quite hard. Quite apart from making it unpleasant to sit under the trees, rain has a tendency to knock the blossoms down. By tomorrow, they probably won’t look as good.

The only downside is I’ve been feeling a bit as though I’ve caught a cold; I hope I’ve not, really, and that it’s just a reaction to pushing Mayuki’s pushchair up and down hills in cold weather.