So…. Cherry blossoms (sakura) are the national flowers of Japan. Once a cherry tree goes into blossom, the flowers remain for only about a week then abruptly fall to the ground, a highly symbolic process in Japanese culture linked to the samurai, the kamikaze, the rebirth of spring, and a general notion of the fleeting nature of life, to name a few. The cherry blossom season usually begins in early March for mainland Japan, but Okinawa is the southern-most prefecture of Japan and as such, the cherry blossoms begin here first and earlier than for the mainland. Now, actually, starting from the north of the island and progressing southward.
We decided to have a go at cherry blossom viewing (hanami). I’ve previously lamented the pitfalls of the language barrier. And at this point, to continue lamenting is pathetic, so I’ll just say we did our best to research where to go and when to go. From what I could tell from the car windows, our research was rather effective. Unfortunately, we failed to take into account a key factor- the weather. So, our day of hanami looked more like this. Drive for over an hour, taking only about 3 wrong turns, despite the use of 2 smartphones, to locate cherry tree forest in the mountains. No worries, since children both fell asleep. Arrive at forest and simultaneously realize the weather is not cooperating. Take pictures from the car. Reach out the window and grab a few cherry blossoms from an overhanging branch, give to Isla who is now awake. Drive away from forest and find a place to eat lunch. Eat lunch, then take children to the infamous and nearby Pineapple World (see separate post on PW). Call it a day after gorging on all things pineapple.
Tomorrow is Elliot’s last day in Okinawa. Depending on the weather, we may try again to find cherry blossoms!
Fun Fact- the cherry trees in Washington D.C. were a gift from Japan in the early part of the 20th century.
Great story and wonderful pictures. Thanks for continuing to share these. Dad
Beautiful, even on the rain.
I know you want to spend every moment with Elliot before he leaves so call us when you can. I hope we can visit with him in FL.
Love you. I mailed a small pkg to the kiddos Mon. Hope it gets there for Valentine’s day.
Sent from my iPhone
I love this post. The history and eloquence in your words. The respect of the culture. And making good on an otherwise rainy day!
Oh, and Isla’s hair! Wowzers, she is lovely.
Sending cyber (((HUGS))).
Thank you Buffy, for posting these adventures that you are experiencing. You are giving all of us the opportunity to “see” a little of Japan and to learn a little about the culture. I love these road trips, that you take us along on.
This is the honest to god’s truth. The first time we went out to enjoy the cherry blossoms in japan, I looked up and out of the sunroof and started to cry. It was one of the most beautiful things in nature I have ever seen. It was like magic or maybe what heaven must feel like. Still, the pictures taken from that day, are my faves! The girls weren’t as young as isla and asher, but even still it makes you feel young. Better than snow, better than the beach. Some things cannot be explained, you must experience them. love to you all. enjoy.!