The Burst of Blooms at Kumano Shrine

Suddenly Tokyo is bursting with blooms!
I know everyone’s blog, twitter, and instagram in Tokyo is suddenly filled with cherry blossoms. I am, of course, one of them
There’s something special about these blossoms that keep you guessing (when will they bloom?) and suddenly vanish before our eyes (this rainy day? this gust of wind?). You just never know how long they’re here to stay.
So what do you do when that perfect sunny day when the blossoms are in full bloom comes in the middle of a weekday? You make the most of your lunch break and visit the nearest cherry tree, of course!
My coworker mentioned that Kumano Shrine (熊野神社), located in a corner of Shinjuku Chuo Park (新宿中央公園), had a variety of cherry trees so during my lunch break I skipped on over there to see if there were any blossoms.
And boy, am I glad I did! The cherry blossoms were in full bloom and the sakura looked gorgeous against the main shrine and torii. I am still sighing over how lovely this place was.
Do you have cherry blossoms where you are? Where is your favorite hanami spot?

The Weekend I Opened My Windows

Did you think sakura season was completely over?
Well, due to our love of sakura, we have many many types of cherry trees in Japan. Yaezakura (八重桜) is a cherry tree with blossoms of more than five petals and they tend to bloom a couple of weeks later than the most common Somei-yoshino.
I went to my local supermarket and happened to pass by this carpet of pink. So, of course, I had to stop and take a few photos. I love how full the Yaezakura blossoms are. They look beautiful with the green leaves, don’t you think?
This weekend was amazing, even though I didn’t do anything. I did a little cooking and a little tidying up. But I mostly spent the weekend working on my quilt stitching project that I have to finish very soon. Very mellow weekend.
But what made it amazing is the weather outside! I usually don’t open my windows this time of year due to all the pollen in the air, I couldn’t help myself. Well, I also checked the Japanese cedar pollen forecast and it said the amount in Tokyo was low. So I swept open all my windows and enjoyed the cool spring breeze inside my apartment. It felt great!
I hope you all had a fabulous spring weekend, too! x

I love the carpet of pink underneath my feet!

These guys (gods?) were showered with pink petals as well!

The Weeping Cherry Tree

Have you noticed how I’m trying to mix different topics in between all my cherry blossom posts?
I didn’t want to overwhelm you with all this sakura spam. But it’s hard to hold back when you have houses like this in your neighborhood. A house that stands around a breathtaking weeping cherry tree that everyone stops to admire when walking past. (As they should!)
Don’t you adore the owners who decided to build their house around this cherry tree?

The Afternoon Hanami Picnic at Yoyogi Park

What a perfect day for a picnic.

My baby sister N was staying with me for a week and my other sister Y also came down for the weekend, so we decided to have an early hanami picnic at Yoyogi Park after church last weekend. It was such a warm day and I cannot tell you how amazing it felt to sit under the sun and feel all that warmth. It was actually a bit early for the cherry blossoms but that didn’t even matter.

I brought my ridiculously bright and cheerful picnic rug and we ordered veggie burgers and rice krispies treats from my favorite little burger shop Arms. We also had oranges, thanks to my parents who live in the orange kingdom of Japan. Pretty much my favorite kind of picnic feast!

We bumped into an old friend and dragged him into our game of daifugo. Card games may be old school but it’s still a lot of fun. And you know what they say, playing cards can bring out one’s true inner-self. It’s so true. My sisters and I get quite competitive.

It was an afternoon full of laughs, although the card game did produce a few screams as well. We had a really great picnic and I’m hoping that this is just the beginning of many more to come!

Here are some photos:

The Sakura Trees in Shinjuku Gyoen

A super short post to tell you that you should probably be in Shinjuku Gyoen today!
This is what it looks like from above. Look at all those different shades of pink, so pretty! The cherry blossoms from last year were amazing and I’m sure they are this year, too. I love that there’s never a season you can’t enjoy at Shinjuku Gyoen. x

The Plum Blossoms in Okurayama

 

I know, I know. Plum blossom season is over.

But when I went to the bookstore the other day, I saw some of the prettiest plum blossoms at a local ume-matsuri (plum festival) and I had to share! Better late than never, right?

It was a beautiful day out but still very chilly. Very very chilly. But despite that, there were quite a few people enjoying picnics under the plum blossoms. I am guessing a lot of alcohol was consumed to ward away the chills.

There were also many festival stalls selling different kinds of food. In my recent obsession over dorayaki, when I saw the ume-flavored dorayaki in one of the stalls, I had to get it. It ended up being the very last one…lucky me!

Next to come are cherry blossoms! Are you ready? x

The March Link Love

March is here!
I am very optimistic about this month for various reasons. It’s a season for change and new direction. I always feel like I lose myself a little during the winter, just trying to get through the cold days without all together hibernating. But I’m ready to step outside and be active again!
This spring my baby sister is starting her first year of college, which is mind-boggling to me. How did she grow up so fast? But she’ll be staying with me for a bit before she starts her semester in April so I’m looking forward to that.
Hope you’re all ready to officially welcome spring! x

——————————————————-Link Love——————————————————-

This song can’t help but make you happy!

– I love that I’m reading books again…The History of Love is my next book.

– This frame by frame of the Olympics is amazing.

– This hotel looks unbelievably cool.

– Can’t exactly say wrong answer…so funny! (it’s in Japanese though)

1972 Seishun Gunkanjima

The Sign of Spring in Tokyo

Despite the snowy weekends we’ve been having in Tokyo (here and here), blossoms have been popping up here and there.
And you know what that means!
It’s a sign. The very best sign of all. It means warmer days are just around the corner (which is all I need really) and mother earth is starting to snuggle out of her winter blanket so we can enjoy her magical spring transformation (obviously I’ve forgotten how bad my hay fever is during the winter…but I don’t care!). Can. Not. Wait.
Major blossoms in Japan are ume (梅 – plum) and sakura (桜 – cherry). I love the ume for its delicate and fragrant blossoms and the sakura for its lush gorgeous trees. 
I’ve been seeing ume blossoms around the city but my absolute favorite blossom of all time is this yellow blossom. It’s called Robai in Japanese and Winter Sweet in English. (The kanji for Robai uses the characters wax (蠟) + plum (梅), apparently got the name from the fact that the blossoms look like waxwork.) It has an strong sweet fragrance and I couldn’t make up my mind whether to snap a shot or just keep on sniffing.
Aren’t they gorgeous?

PS: If you want to see ume blossoms in Tokyo, here is a great guide to the best spots!

The February Link Love

Happy February everyone! Are you ready for the shortest month of the year?

I don’t know if I am but I’m hoping to juggle everything a lot better than I did in January. The flu was making the rounds at work and a lot of us got sick last month, which messed with our heavy work load.

But this was one of the times I was grateful that I work in a typical Japanese company. We work in teams, so even if someone suddenly isn’t able to come into work, we can cover for them so the work doesn’t stall during their absence. It makes missing work a lot less stressful.

 I’m guessing February will be another crazy month. But I’m excited. My office will be in a new location starting this month (need to remember to go to the correct office on Monday morning!). Also, Valentine’s Day is serious business in Japan (as in my male coworkers will be expecting something from us on that day…apparently their status at home depends on it!). But nothing tops the fact that my best friend from college, who currently lives in Melbourne, will be coming to Tokyo for a visit. I can’t wait to see her and her fiance 😀

Will you be doing something for Valentine’s Day? Or anything else exciting planned?

I cannot tell you how relieved I am to see ume (plum) blossoms blooming here and there. Winter is coming to an end…FINALLY!!! I don’t care how itchy my eyes get from the pollen allergies (have I mentioned that they already started itching a few weeks ago?), I can’t WAIT for spring to get here. Longer days, more sunshine, and warmer temperatures…I’m counting down the days!

I hope you all are blessed with good health and have an amazing month in February! x

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– I love instagram but this reality behind instagram made me laugh out loud…so true sometimes.

Chalk art book covers are amazing.

– Wouldn’t these heart-shaped lemons be great for valentine’s day?

– Speaking of valentine’s day, I think I’m making this and this. Keeping it healthy this year!

– Pippi Longstocking animation film that was never made.

– Will you be watching the Olympics in Sochi? I’ll be following figure skating, ski, and this guy.

Andy Warhol’s exhibition in Roppongi.