Hanami with Shishô 師匠と花見

As I wrote in yesterday’s post, Somemaru invited me to join him on a cherry-blossom-viewing excursion, in Kyoto. Our destination was the Daigoji Temple complex, which has long been praised for its beauty during the four seasons, and is today a World Heritage Site.

I have known for some time about Japanese people’s fondness of nature, and particularly cherry blossoms. I remember the first time I was surprised by this: my host brother from a previous homestay sent me a picture of himself engulfed by sprays of cherry blossoms in full bloom. At first, by sending such a picture, I thought he was attempting to appeal himself romantically…

I now know better. I understand that cherry blossoms hold, and have long held, special meaning for Japanese people. Among many other things, cherry blossoms represent the beginning of spring, and the “official” end to winter darkness and cold.

Though we also viewed any number national treasures–buildings, statues, paintings, and tablets of poetry written by Heian (794-1185) courtiers, the cherry blossoms in full bloom stole the show today.

No matter how many times I see it, I am always surprised to see throngs of Japanese out at this time of year, taking photo after photo of cherry blossoms, pushing their way through crowds in hopes of getting the perfect close-up, or their own picture with the blossoms, oohing and aahing, going on nonstop about just how beautiful they are… Maybe what is even stranger is that I ended up in the middle of them doing the same…

Thank you for a wonderful day of cherry blossom viewing, Shishô. Spring has come!

Here are a few of the MANY pictures I took today:








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