Well first off, I am sorry for the lack of updates.. Also, a lot of my free time disappeared due to a promotion at work. I have also been preparing to my WSET Level 1 course and test. I did have to send my computer off to be have the screen repaired. I did take the little bit of free time I had to relax and unplug myself from the internet for a while.
Well spring is officially here in Pennsylvania. It seemed to take forever to come. It almost seemed like the winter was never going to end. The sun has finally come out and cherry blossom trees are blooming. That is right, it is time for hanami!
Hanami is a Japanese custom of taking time to relax outside and take time to view and appreciate the blooming cherry blossom trees. It could apply to also just viewing any flowers blooming. It is really more of an appreciation of nature.
Like, the last few years mt family and I have gone to the Sakura Sunday in Philadelphia. It is an annual event put on by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia. It is a wonderful event that everyone can enjoy. They have the Tamagawa University Taiko band (japanese drums) band as well as some folk dancers that always put on a great show. They are probably my favorite part of the festival.
The festival also celebrates other aspects of Japanese culture. You can take tours of the Shofuso House. (A 17th century style Japanese house with a beautiful garden, with pond.) There are various vendors selling Japanese goods, martial arts displays, Cosplay pageant, and other events. At the Horticulture center you can walk in and take in some other beautiful plants, practice calligraphy, learn about shogi,and go.
I do also enjoy hanami outside of these festivals. I find just a nice way to get some sunshine, relax, and just shutout the modern world and enjoy beautiful scenery. Now, there is a a hanami tradition I would like to take part in one day, yozakura. This is practice of viewing hanami at night. Paper lanterns are hung which allows the viewer to appreciate the sakura at night. It sounds like a great time.
Well no matter where you are find time to go out and appreciate the blooming flowers and other wonderful scenery. Take a blanket, pack some food, and some sake (where allowed) and get out there and enjoy the centuries old tradition of hanami.