Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Cherry Blossoms (Page 1 of 2)

Time Out Tokyo

Jet lag worked in our favor for our Sunday plans. We planned to get out of the house early Sunday morning and begin our day at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. I wanted to share the beautiful Sakura in the National Garden with both Dave and the Thompsons. I also knew the garden would become very busy. We arrived about a half hour after it opened and there were already many people prepped for Hanami.

We enjoyed walking through the garden. Yet again, we were lucky with more beautiful weather.

As we walked, we enjoyed the opportunity to view so many Sakura still in bloom.

After leaving the gardens, we stopped for lunch and then caught the train to Harajuku. As many times as we have been to Harajuku, I have never it seen it so crowded. This was the train ride to Harajuku.

The girls made a brief stop to purchase cat ears. Because, Japan.

At one point, about half way down Takeshita Street, the crowd came to a complete standstill. We ended up having to push our way out and slip down a side street.

The crowd left us weary and in need of a break from the crowd. We decided to walk to Shibuya instead of riding another crowded train. It was actually an enjoyable and somewhat entertaining walk.

After the crowd at Harajuku, Shibuya didn’t seem too crazy!

From Shibuya Crossing, we took the train to Gumyoji. I wanted Jennifer (and everyone else) to experience Yozakura. It was yet again, a beautiful evening.

These two! Candy covered strawberries dipped in sugar.

We caught one last train home. It was a long day for the first day of a Julia tour. For the record, I think the kids won this round.

Tokyo Sakura Chasing

On Monday, Katie and I decided to check out a couple spots in Tokyo with beautiful Sakura. The first place we visited was the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. We met at the Kanazawa-Hakkei train station. It was about an hour on the train ride to the closest station and then a quick 10 minute walk to the garden. Several articles we read listed Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden as the number one spot in Tokyo for Sakura viewing. It is easy to see why. The trees were magnificent.

We arrived by 10:30 and were glad we did. The garden was already becoming quite crowded. It was another beautiful day and I think many people had the same idea!

The Sakura trees were everywhere throughout the garden. There were a variety of colors. From white to pale pink to the deep pink. I tried to capture all the colors in this photo.

Here are a couple of my favorite photos of the Sakura trees within the park.

Katie pointed out the beautiful contrast between the serene gardens and the city skyscrapers in the background. Ahhh, wabi-sabi indeed.

We had fun trying to hide in the Sakura and take selfies.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is my favorite Sakura spot so far. It was absolutely magical. After visiting Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, we caught the Tokyo Metro to Meguro to see the Sakura along the Meguro River. The blossoms were spectacular.

The pathways along the river stretched out for such a long way. It was serene.

These blossoms were more of the blush color. Team Blush had a strong presence today.

The lanterns created a fun ambiance and great for snapping a few portraits.

I’m so excited to have such wonderful weather this year during Sakura season. I’ve strategically planned out my week to capture different parks and gardens. I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures as much as I do chasing down the Sakura!

Early Spring Blooms

We enjoyed a relaxing weekend. Saturday, I visited the farmer’s market being held on base. I came away with several treasures, none of them were food! I purchased two antique pieces. One is a chest and the other a tea tansu. I love them and have already incorporated them into our decor.

We also had the opportunity to visit our favorite lunch spot in Kamakura. Barchie’s remains one of our favorites restaurants. We stopped in for lunch on Sunday.

Check out this ingenious idea. I ordered a bbq rib burrito. It was served wrapped in wax paper and sliced in half. As I ate it, I peeled away the wax paper. All the juices dripped out the bottom of the burrito and were collected by the wax paper! Brilliant!

After lunch, we walked around Kamakura. A couple of the white Sakura trees are starting to bloom. Everyone was taking pictures!! We couldn’t resist either!

As you’re reading this, Jennifer, please don’t be alarmed. I took a picture of the pink grove across the pond. This is also where the peony garden is located. The pink Sakura are not blooming yet. They still have about 7-10 days. Plus, there is a lot rain in the forecast this week. The rain will slow down the blooms. I think timing will be perfect for your visit!

In the meantime, please enjoy the early spring blooms. The white Sakura, plum blossoms, and daffodils.

Buddha’s Pooper

Bill’s visit was work related and only provided for a small amount of time for me to give him a Julia Tour. Between the jet lag and his work schedule, it was tough to find too much spare time. We did squeeze in a few traditional Japanese experiences. Starting with ramen.


Tuesday night, I met Dave and Bill in Yokosuka after work. After a brief pit stop at the O’Club for an informal Navy happy hour, we went to the “Red Door” ramen shop in Yokosuka. This is actually the first place Dave and I had dinner when we arrived in July. It was just as delicious! Dave ordered the spicy ramen and Bill and I both ordered the salt ramen – mine with extra nori (seaweed sheets) – remember, seaweed is the pickle bite of the burger. I think Bill would have this chopstick thing down if he was here another couple days!


Bill’s flight left Wednesday evening giving us a few hours to explore Kamakura. The first stop was the Great Buddha. My favorite.


There wasn’t a line to go inside Buddha, so, we ventured in for ¥20 (16 cents). The best part, was Bill referring to this opportunity as “going into the Buddha’s pooper.” Haha! I snapped this quick picture of Bill looking in the same direction as the Japanese ladies were pointing. No, he has no idea what they are saying.


As we returned back to Hase Station, I snapped one more picture of the last remaining Sakura and the wisteria starting to bloom. Considering the wisteria photo foreshadowing for next week!


We returned to Kamakura and walked to the Hachiman-gū Shrine.


We walked up behind the main shrine and found this quiet sanctuary and shrine.


It was a beautiful morning and I was happy to share a couple of my favorite spots in Japan with Bill before he headed back to America.

After I dropped Bill off in Yokosuka to catch his shuttle to Narita, I stopped by the post office to pick up a package. The Chick-Fil-A fairy delivered again! This time from Germantown, TN and with a few other essentials to kick off grilling and smoking season! Thank you, Layla, Nick, Nina, and Noah for going to several Chick-Fil-A stores to gather yummy sauce for us. I truly appreciate your friendship, love, and support to help us taste TN in Japan. Watch out for a few Neko Atsume surprises coming your way!

I Thought You Would Get a Kick Out of This

I was asked to be the substitute teacher at an English class in Zushi. It is about a 15-minute drive from my house. It is a little bit more of a hectic drive than normal because I have to drive behind Zushi train station. In this area, there are a lot of pedestrians and bicyclists on their way to the station to catch their train. So many people combined with the narrow road sometimes makes me feel like I’m driving on a sidewalk! Also, on this route, I have to cross three different sets of train tracks. Often the traffic is blocked at these crossings making the drive take a little longer.

The class is two hours long. The structure of the class includes each person discussing an incident from the past week for ten minutes. After each person has talked, I read a story selected by the teacher. The story is loaded with a variety of idioms. I explain the idioms and then ask questions to check for their understanding of the story and idioms. One of the idioms from the story today was “to get a kick out of something.” One of my questions to each student was to tell me a time they got a kick out of something. Each shared with me an antidotal story, which were very entertaining.

The road leading up to her neighborhood was lined with beautiful Sakura. 


I thought you might get a kick out of a short video I took driving up the street. You can really hear the Hooptie engine revving as I climbed the hill! I know the video takes a little longer to load. I hope you are able to view it nonetheless. I think you will get a kick out of the Sakura tree blossom tunnel as well as me driving on the left side of the road! Please enjoy.

One More Sakura Adventure 

Tuesday it rained and rained. It was pretty ridiculous. If this isn’t the “rainy season” I’m not sure I’m gonna make it without owning a canoe! Haha

The clouds finally parted and Wednesday started off beautifully. Dina and I had plans to hike to Mt. Miurafuji and to visit the cemetery pagoda in hopes of catching a few remaining Sakura.

We set out on the hike I did last month to Mt. MiuraFuji and made the steep climb. Unfortunately, today was not a clear enough day to see Mt. Fuji. The blue skies want to promise you otherwise. None the less, the views along the hike were stunning. If we were going to see Mt. Fuji, it would be in the first picture.


At the top, we made the decision to head towards the Nobi train station. There was a trail and a sign pointing the way and I thought this might connect us to the pagoda faster. Simultaneously, we knew we wouldn’t see Mt. Fuji anywhere else on the hike. So, the pagoda became our next goal.

Off we set, back down the mountain.


Soon we came to a fork in the path and a sign. Google Maps helped to point us in the correct direction. We veered right at the fork.


Down we went.


It doesn’t look very steep from the top. How about from the bottom!


We continued hiking down and found a beautiful little over look. The dark spots in the photo are Sakura petals falling. It was so serene.


We were eventually dumped out into urbanization. We followed Google Maps to the cemetery. On our journey, we passed through a quaint little park and beautiful cemetery. Both with Sakura trees in bloom.

My beautiful friend! How is she not a sweaty mess?

Me… Sweat-a-Saurus Rex! Honestly, who cares about me! Look at those Sakura Blossoms!


Ok, enough with the suspense already, we made it to the cemetery. First stop, Buddha.

This view!


A few more steps and the pagoda was in sight!


The Sakura trees in bloom with the pagoda were well worth the hike. Dina and I picked up onigiri for lunch and had our own Hanami under the Sakura trees. It was perfect. Except we forgot the Sake!!

I think the first picture is my favorite. Or maybe the second…


By the time we stopped for Hanami, I was pretty hungry. I snapped these pictures after we both finished our onigiri. Oops! It was a beautiful setting!


As we returned home on the train, clouds started to roll in and so did a few sprinkles. By the time I was walking up the hill towards home, it was full on raining. I had no umbrella, just more beautiful Sakura and a chu-hi!


Kanpie!

Sakura Chasing

On Monday, there was a break in the rain. I set out on a mission to spend the day enjoying Sakura. I set out with four locations in mind to view with a Sakura setting. The first was the Great Buddha, Daibutsu. The first picture was the one I made the trip to capture. The others were taken in the surrounding gardens and a delightful surprise. 


My second stop was at the Ōfuna Kannon Temple or also known as the White Lady of Ofuna. Visiting this temple always calms me and helps me find peace. Seeing the White Lady today with the Sakura was enchanting and serene. 


My next point of interest was at the Gumyoji Station. I have never been there before and was recommended to visit during Sakura Season by a neighbor. Google Maps help me find my way from Ōfuna Station to Gumyoji Station like a champ. 


After a short walk from the Gumyoji Station, I was along the canal where the Sakura were in full bloom. It was breath taking. 


I must take a minute and explain the Japanese custom of Hanami. Hanami is tradition of enjoying a picnic under the Sakura. As I walked along the Gumyoji canal, there were many groups enjoying an afternoon Hanami. I couldn’t help but smile and truly appreciate the way the Japanese take time to enjoy fellowship and the beautiful Sakura blossoms. Without looking creepy, I attempted to capture a few groups practicing Hanami. 


The canal stretched on for a pretty good distance. I walked from one train station to another taking as many pictures as possible! 


My final stop of my Sakura chasing experience for the day was at the Shomyoji Temple. The temple was about a 15 minute walk from the Kanazawa-Bunco train station. The temple was easy to find because the street was lined with Sakura and lanterns. 


Around the temple there were several groups enjoying the Hanami experience. 


A highlight in the temple garden was the bridge crossing over the small pod. 


A few more Sakura shots from around the gardens. 


I feel like I made the most of the non-rainy day getting out and about to see the beautiful Sakura. When you plan your visit, I hope you consider Sakura Season. I will warn you though, like most things in nature, it can be difficult to predict. 

April Showers 

It has been raining off and on since Friday. Along with this rain came humidity. We went from having dry cool air on Tuesday to having muggy wetness on Friday. Friday morning I plugged in our dehumidifiers in an attempt to keep ahead of the mold and moisture.

As the temperatures are starting to warm up, the Sakura trees are at peak bloom. Unfortunately, the rain damped the effect of the beautiful trees. I took a few pictures of the Sakura throughout Zushi on our rainy run this morning.

Dave and I were planning to have Sakura pictures taken in the peony garden of the Hachiman Gu Shrine in Kamakura on Saturday. The rain cancelled those plans. On Sunday, we decided to venture to Kamakura to see the blossoms in the peony garden despite the rain. First, a few pictures from our walk up to the shrine.

In the garden, the trees were stunning and the peonies were a delightful surprise. They were ginormous and they were protected by parasols to keep them intact during the heavy rains.

And now the Sakura trees. Can you imagine how beautiful this would look on a sunny day?

Dave and I decided to have our own photo shoot. Just us being us.

The Sakura blossoms won’t last until next weekend for us to have pictures and so we are working on plan B. Reflecting on the day, I realize it epitomizes wabi-sabi sole. We found beauty despite the imperfect weather conditions. We even completed a long run in the rain not because we were training for anything, just because we wanted to run.

Ahhhhhh… wabi-sabi sole…

Meguro River 

Sakura Season is really starting to blossom. Would you believe that Google Map actually identifies areas where Sakura present and their bloom status. One place that has received a lot of attention is the Meguro River.


Besides Sakura, in the Meguro River area is Pizzeria de Michele. The plan of the day came together quickly and I was able to convince Dina and two of her kids to join me.


Lunch at Pizzeria de Michele, followed by a walk along the Meguro River to view the Sakura.

The pizza was just as amazing. Eme said it was her favorite pizza place in Japan. I couldn’t agree more!


After lunch, we took a 20-minute walk up and over a hill to the Meguro River walk. The Sakura were lovely.

We walked along one side, crossed the bridge, and then came down the other side. The other side had fuller blooms and at times gave the feeling of being surrounded by the Sakura. At night, the lanterns light up!


Along the way down the other side, we stopped for Sakura mochi. Because Japan!



As we made our way to the train station, we passed several different varieties of Sakura. The first were white!


The other set were bright pink along an office building.


Sakura Season is so beautiful. It was interesting to see how many people were there walking along the river. On a weekday!

Tall and Small

Dina and I went to Kamakura to do a little shopping. After walking down Komachi Dori for a little bit, we were ready for lunch and decided to enjoy a bowl of ramen. The first place we found was closed. I did a quick “ramen near me” search on Google Maps.

 Google Maps led us to Hirano. 

Turns out, Hirano is the Japan’s smallest ramen joint. The sign out front was hysterical. 


As we were reading the sign, we thought we should first check to see if there was room for us before determining our order. As luck would have it, when we opened the door, three people came out. Therefore, plenty of room! 


There were actually two more seats available. Seven seats total. (Can you see all 4 customers? Plus me taking the picture.) 

Our chef in the kitchen. 


Ironically, the smallest ramen joint in Japan still serves ginormous bowls of ramen. 


I ordered the #4 special ramen. Miso base with a little spice. It was good. It made the top five of my favorite ramen joints mainly because of the restaurant itself. 


Seriously, could this place be any funnier!?!


Perhaps, when Dina poses for me! 

Kamakura is full of so many bizarre and unique experiences. I truly can’t wait to take you there when you visit! 

Here are my finds from our shopping. Can you tell it is Sakura Season? A couple bowls, plates, chopstick rests and adorable cats. Kawaii!! 

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