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Sunday, 27 February 2011

Hanegi Ume Matsuri

I've got a new camera :-) I decided to go test it out at a Japanese apricot/plum blossom festival! It was SUCH a beautiful day for it and the camera is way better than I even thought possible, so I'm a very happy girl, unfortunately I wasn't feeling 100% so I didn't stay too long... I got enough photos though (this post is going to be mostly photos).

The photo above was by complete accident... I'd been pressing all the buttons on the camera and it did this - kinda cool... pretty much sums up the whole event in one photo.

There were so many people there, it seemed that this blossom attracted all types of people too, young and old, rich and poor. I love Japan for it's diversity... no one is judged, people can walk around wearing what they want and being who they want to be... it's rare and I love it! I am really looking forward to the cherry blossom in spring I think that this is just a warm-up festival!

In this park there were over 300 Ume (Japanese Apricot and Plum) Trees and a ridiculous amount of different types of this tree and flower, colours ranging from bright white, through to light yellow to bright pink (and reds apparently but I didn't see any here). 
There was lots of people having picnics and there were lots of food stalls.

There were rows and rows of people selling beautiful flowers and cuttings from the plum trees. I wanted to buy one and take one back to England with me, but apparently that's NOT allowed - how silly am I?!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Snowy Japan

It snowed so heavily throughout the night... It is rare for it to settle in this part of Japan, but there was a good 8 inches of snow covering everything. When I eventually left for work, the sun had started to melt most of the snow, but everywhere looked so beautiful!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Ueno Park for Valentine's Day

We headed to Ueno Park to see if the Plum Trees had blossomed yet and to see if we could find any winter Sakura.... (I have only found out this week that they are 2 completely different kinds of blossom) The picture above is of the Winter Sakura, it was a huge tree covered in blossom - very very pretty. It's such a shame it was such a dreary and overcast day!

We had a nice stroll and we came across Toshogu Shrine that we hadn't seen before.  There were so many of these beautiful Origami Tsuru Strings. They were perfectly folded and so tiny!

Look at the shrine... look closely at it...
... it's a huge picture OF a shrine... only the front gate is real! Well they fooled us.

All of the Peony Flowers were displayed like this one - under a wigwam type thing. The photo on my entrance ticket is of the garden covered in thick snow and the wigwams were to protect the flowers from the snow, I guess. The flowers were lovely, but as far as Japanese gardens go... if there had been no Plum Blossom I could have walked in and out in a few minute because all the flowers were the same, and I couldn't get close enough to take any good photos either. So YAY for Plum Blossom!

It was getting pretty cold by this point - so we went to TGI Friday's ... good excuse right? We had a lovely meal and when we were on our way home, it started raining. booooooooo!!!