Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Sakura (Page 3 of 3)

Sakura Geraniums 

I went to the Homes store today and picked up a few more plants to decorate the back yard and fill my herb pot. They had Sakura Geraniums for sale! Sakura Sakura for everyone! 

They are so pretty and a highlight to the double fence issue in the backyard. 

I put a total of five planters along the back fence. Three with Geraniums and two with this interesting plant. Not really sure what it is other than pretty and pink. 

My last project was the herb pot. Filled with herb happiness. 

I absolutely love coming home to the front porch of our cell block. It’s so homey and inviting. I can’t wait for you to see it in person when you visit. 

I want to tell you one more thing I finally did today and it is on a completely different topic. My Japanese grandmothers have a cute way to communicate a change of subject. They say, “thank you for sharing. Ok. Subject change.”

I finally figured out how to put my name on my PASMO card. I first noticed this was an option when I saw Dina’s card. I tried once before and couldn’t figure it out. Almost 8 months into this adventure and two attempts, my card is named! I must give James credit. We had to put his name on his card because he qualified for a youth fare PASMO and through that experience I had a clue. Today, on my way to meet Dave and his former CMC from SWOSU for dinner, I charged my card and put my name on it in less than a minute. Boom! Small accomplishments make me feel amazing. Now let’s hope I get on the correct trains to get me to Yokosuka on time… 

Running Errands

I think we can all agree that “running errands” is not our favorite thing to do. Simultaneously, they are necessary and can only be put off temporarily. They best way in my opinion to run errands is with someone. This way, you have someone to talk to and distract you from the annoying tasks! 

Dina and I set out on errands today. Our first stop was Costco. We needed our regular items. For me, fizzy water and kale. This is the second visit in a row Costco has not had kale and I had to settle for spinach. Grrr. 

Dina also needed a cake for her oldest daughter’s birthday. The one at Costco was of course Costco size. Too big. So, we headed to Sweet Tooth in Hayama. While Dina picked out the chocolate cake she needed, I picked out a few treats I didn’t need! The first was a Sakura macaroon. 

The second, a Sakura tiramisu. Can you guess which one? Oh, right. It’s in English. 

I mentioned before how Sakura is everywhere. Check out the number of Sakura treats! Besides macaroons, there were muffins, cookies and donuts! 

After dropping everything off at the house, we decided to treat ourselves to lunch. Our reward for “running” our errands. We went to Zushi and tried Kappa Sushi. It is a Sushi-go-round. Very similar to to Sushi-ro, with the exception there was no English option on the menu! 

Google translate and the pictures helped. We did have to call the server once to help us order Sake. Now that is a reward!! Tuna Sushi and Sake!! To quote Delaney, “my favorites!”

Everything was pretty much the same. The experience took a little patience. But, all things considered, we were champions. Tip: don’t take the plates on the special bowls! 

Up close picture of tiny squid and shrimp. No, we didn’t try this one! 

Juice boxes!! This made me laugh. 

Days like today when I can accomplish normal things ( like running errands)  without incident make me feel pretty good. Simultaneously, I suggest we all give ourselves a “reward” when we successfully “run” our errands. Life should be celebrated! 

Sakura is the Japanese Pumpkin 

Dina, Miki, and I went up to Yokohama for lunch. We are at an American style pizza buffet restaurant called Shakey’s. It was ok. After eating at Pizza da Michele on Saturday, I should probably avoid any pizza for a while to avoid disappointment. 

After lunch we walked around Yokohama station and explored the shopping area. Sakura season is quickly approaching. As a result, Japan has turned everything Sakura flavored. From Sakura lattes at Starbucks to Sakura Rosé. The bottle of Sakura wine was so cute, I couldn’t resist purchasing it! It has actual Sakura flowers in the wine! 

A unique Sakura product I found was Sakura tea. The product has the consistency of soft jelly. To prepare the tea, place a teaspoon into a tea cup and add hot water. Stir until the jelly dissolves. We were able to sample the tea at the store. It was delicious and relaxing as advertised! 

Miki also shared with us her favorite desserts from Baum Kuchen. Here the desserts are being baked. As each layer is added, it is dipped and then baked. Creating the ring effect of the layers. 

I purchased a sample of the regular flavor and the Sakura flavor. 

They look flakey and delicious. 

Check out the delicious layers. 

Dave and I agreed our favorite part was the outside edge with the icing. I can’t promise I tasted the Sakura. It was sweet and yummy. Honestly, that is all that matters! 

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!! 

Miurakaigan Sakura

Miurakaigan is located towards the southern end of the Miura peninsula (where we live). I went today with several spouses for my first true Sakura viewing. I was AMAZED! They are more beautiful than I ever imagined!

I took these pictures right outside the train station!

We had to walk about 10 minutes to the main road where the Sakura line the side of the road.

On one side is the train tracks and the other side is the street. Seeing the blue train zip past was picture perfect.

The red was pretty, too.

A few close up pictures.

I caught a bird in one!

After walking down the street, we were able to walk through a small park. Cute pink and white lanterns lined the path. Yay! Yellow train!

My friend, Karen, took this picture for me with my iPhone.

Karen is a professional photographer and took this picture with her fancy camera with a crazy swirly filter attached. Obviously, her camera provides better lighting! This is the second time Karen has lived in Japan and she has lived here a year already. She has promised to take me to all of the “good” Sakura, wisteria and hydrangea spots this spring. I’m super excited.

Besides Sakura in the park, there was also a small shrine and Japanese snacks!

After the park, we crossed a bridge over the train tracks. A few more pictures close up. Maybe just a few more…

The sad thing about the Sakura, they only last a couple weeks. The good thing, each species and location bloom during different times. I wasn’t joking when I said Sakura Blossoms were my new obsession!! If you want to see Sakura Blossoms this year, you will need to visit before the first week of April. Or next year, plan to visit between the last week in February and the first week of April. I can’t wait to explore with you!

Flowers by Naked

Catchy title, huh? 

I went with a group of spouses to Nihonbashi area of Tokyo to visit an art exhibit known as “Flowers” by Naked 2017. 

As you entered the exhibit hall, the aromatic fragrance immediately removed any stress. The aroma was complemented by calming music both of which helped to establish a majestic and serene atmosphere. 

The journey through the exhibit begin with a story book illustrating the flowers on display. 

The art exhibit included real flowers, flower images, and lighting to bring the flowers to life. 

Some of the flower displays were larger than life! 

To illustrate summer was an over six-foot tall dandelion seed head. 

Frozen flowers of winter. 

As you progressed through the exhibit, you moved through a bamboo tunnel. 

Springtime = Sakura! 

These three ladies were preforming an interpretive dance beneath the Sakura exhibit. 

The Sakura exhibit was enhanced with a light show. The lights brought the blossoms to life and gave me the sensation of watching the blossoms in a gentle breeze. 

A couple close up pictures of the paper Sakura flowers. 

This dress! A Sakura inspired design. Notice the train! 

These images are my favorite. A large illuminated ball representing a full moon hung with the Sakura trees. 

Full moon, Sakura trees and the amazing Sakura dress. 

Coming around the corner, I found the flower science lab! Here you could smell the different fragrances of several flowers. 

There was also a balcony viewing area. It was relaxing to listen to the music, smell the aromatherapy, and watch the light show. 

It was a very unique art experience. One of my Ikebana friends was there as well and we both laughed at how much we are enjoying (and getting excited about) flowers since arriving in Japan. I remarked that I’m becoming so much like my grandmothers. I know both my grandmothers, Bobbee and Mona, would have loved this exhibit! 

Ume or Sakura

This time of year is very special in Japan. It is the beginning of Ume and Sakura season. Ume is the Japanese word for Plum Blossoms. Sakura is the Japanese word for Cherry Blossoms. 

As to be expected, there are Ume and Sakura forecast for the different regions in Japan. The Ume trees bloom a little earlier than the Sakura. Right now, the Sakura is expected to be in full bloom in the Tokyo area towards the end of March. Perfect time to plan a visit!! 

My struggle was identifying the difference. Yesterday when we were at the Seto Shrine with Miki, I asked her to help me identify the differences between the Ume and the Sakura. First rule, do not judge by color! 

Here is an Ume blossom. The first thing to notice is the petals are rounded. Also, the flowers occur individually. 

Here is a broader picture. Notice the blossoms are attached to the tree. 

Comparatively, let’s look at the Sakura blossoms. The Sakura petals are not quite as rounded and the blossoms occur in clusters. 

Also, the blossoms are attached to the tree by a short stem. 

The trunk of the tree is also a good indicator. A Sakura tree will have “cracks” in the trunk. 

Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to identify whether the blossoms pictured are Ume or Sakura. Test yourself. The answers are at the end of the post. 









Hopefully, the variety of these blossoms help you to understand why color can’t be used as a determining factor. Here are the answers. 

A. Ume

B. Ume

C. Sakura

D. Ume 

E. Ume

F. Sakura 

G. Sakura

H. Ume

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