Monday, April 26, 2010

Any excuse for a picnic

As anyone from the DC area knows, April is cherry blossom season, when the metro area looses its collective minds as the tidal basin erupts in a blaze of pink and white. Now imaging an entire country reacting in the same manner - and you have "Hanami" (花見)- lit. flower viewing.

News stations begin the nightly countdown charting the progress of the blooming as it encroachs on reason like an army of irrationality from the south. As each prefecture falls to their sway, the citizens decamp en massé for the local parks and rivers to set up a (always blue) tarp and break out bentos and booze, passing an entire day having a picnic under the hypnotic spell of the cherry blossoms in full bloom. In any given year, you get about two good weeks of full bloom before wind and rain strip the petals from the branches and the trees return to their normal state of snooze.

By now, the season is well passed, but I did get a few shots of the CBs in all their glory -

This is Cherry Blossom Tunnel (桜トンネル)a street in Kobe up near the mountains.

For two weeks out of the year, residents must deeply rue their choice to live here as it is non-stop parade of camera-toting cherry blossom viewers on foot and in cars streaming past at all hours of the day (including myself).

Another riverbank lined with "sakura" - or cherry blossoms

Who cares what that posted speed limit sign says - it's freakin' cherry blossoms!

OK - so I admit, they are pretty damn beautiful.

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