Growing up I never appreciated nature as much. Maybe it had something to do with me running around in iron-rich dirt. One of my grandmothers (may she rest in peace) chided me for my view on nature, specifically flowers. She went as far as saying “It’s a sin to hate flowers.” I indulged her because that was my grandmother and I never would dare disrespect her. Fast forward to 2014; I left my family behind and moved to Japan. I arrived in March, toward the end of the winter season. Spring was near. People were fussing over where to go for Ohanami お花見 but being new, I hadn’t a clue what it was about. As extroverted as I normally am, I was beyond nervous to venture beyond my apartment. I wound up missing my first Ohanami お花見. No biggie. The following year, I visited Hirosaki Sakura Matsuri 弘前さくらまつり with my friend Moe. There we met up with two other friends Shaheen, Theresa and Yusuke. On the way, we stopped at a field of canolas. Awestruck! Never a fan of yellow, but that field evoked a happy feeling.
When we arrived at Hirosaki Sakura Matsuri 弘前さくらまつりwe were greeted by lush pink cherry blossoms 桜. It was also the last time we’d be able to see Hirosaki Castle 弘前城 before its renovation. I moved from Aomori 青森 to Nagoya 名古屋市 and my eyes were opened even further to the beauty that Spring held. Mama would be proud.
I never knew looking at flowers would be so calming. After all, they only move when the wind blows. But, seeing how carefully planted each tulip, carnation, daffodil, daisy, etc was, I was in awe. I was marveled by the assortment of colors for each type of flower.
Ohanami お花見 isn’t only about viewing these masterpieces from God but in Japan, friends, families, loved ones, even frenemies get together in parks across the country for weeks on end. Small tents are pitched, food trucks are on site with the most delectable food and everyone either sit under the cherry trees 桜 or anywhere close to it. People leave their homes as early as 10:00am for the parks to choose the perfect spot. Like last year, I was invited to join some friends but this time the park was close to my apartment. I couldn’t refuse.
Tsuruma Park 鶴間公園 was where we met up last weekend. Since moving to Nagoya 名古屋市, this would be my second Ohanami お花見 and I was excited. The food is the best. It’s like having the local cooked food from my community. Most of all, I enjoy the beef. We laughed, we played, then played some more. The day was well spent. Before we left, I was sure to capture as many memories as I could. Spring time is the best time.