April 2, 2009

Spring Is In The (Cold) Air

It is still a bit unseasonably cold here in Japan. However, due to some warm weather a couple weeks back, the cherry blossoms (sakura) are a-blooming and this weekend looks to be prime time hanami time. Mike saw the non-working hordes descending on Osaka Jo Park (near the Osaka Castle, which has some great cherry blossoms), armed with large picnic mats, box lunches, and plenty of drinks. Tomorrow evening, we will be heading to the Oji Zoo in Kobe, which is supposed to be another good local sakura spot, and if the weather holds up will plan on another family excursion on Sunday.

Some say hanami is just an excuse to drink. And there might be something to that. But in Japan, despite the uber-industrial concrete jungle of cities, people also do seem very in touch with nature and enjoying the outdoors. For whatever reason, we think its cool that the fleeting blossoming of these pink flowers that add a touch of beauty to the otherwise gray is so wildly celebrated.

In that other sure-fire sign of Spring, Opening Day of the baseball season begins in Japan tomorrow. Go Tigers! It will be nice to get back out to the ballpark this year...

(Aside - Japan has already had a successful start to baseball, since it ended up winning the WBC (again), first beating the U.S. team and then the Koreans in the final. We followed some of the action while on vacation. Some say it served a message to the rest of the world about the level of play in Asian baseball. Others say they were just a glorified exhibition games. Seems to us, it is somewhere in between. Japan is certainly thrilled with the result. By the way, we (of course!) rooted for the U.S., but there is something a little out of place about Jacob and Lauren cheering "ganbarre USA!").

And here's to it getting warmer.

1 comment:

jmgesq said...

Indeed. We finally had a beautiful day here on Sunday and of course I was stuck inside readying the house for Passover. But it was nice to even look outside and see the sun shining and the flowers and bushes beginning to blossom. Of course it rained all day today and part of the night and it's supposed to stay cool the rest of the week. I can't believe that THIS is spring!