S is for Sakura


S is for Sakura for this installment of the A to Z ChallengeSakura 桜 is the Japanese word for cherry blossom, the light pink flower that blooms for only a few weeks a year in the spring before falling to the ground in a flurry of blossoms. Cherry blossoms have fallen for the most part in mainland Japan, although Hokkaido is still due to be in full bloom next week. So I thought I would post about these beautiful flowers.

Sakura at Shiroyama

Sakura (cherry blossoms) in Yamanashi Prefecture – photo by kei

Japan has a whole flower-viewing culture 花見 based around cherry blossoms. When spring hits, sakura themed food, drink, and cute characters bloom like the flowers they represent. School ends during cherry blossom season, and many graduation songs reference cherry blossoms. School rejection letters have even been known to contain a metaphor that goes something like “the cherry blossoms are falling.” Continue reading

Photo Friday: Circle / Cosmo Clock 21


Welcome to my first go at Photo Friday! One of my unresolved 2015 goals was to improve my photography. Something I’ve been wanting to try out is the Photo Friday challenge. I take lots of photos, and I wanted to share some of them on my blog. So, here is my first challenge to myself.


Photo Friday Challenge: Circle

My interpretation of the Circle challenge is the Cosmo Clock 21 (コスモクロック21) in Yokohama (横浜), Japan. The Cosmo Clock is a huge ferris wheel, and it is a famous symbol of Yokohama. Another famous symbol in the foreground is the Nippon Maru (日本丸), a Japanese ship museum. I picked this photo because it makes me think of the New Year, and the Cosmo Clock goes around like the year, and time, turns. It’s also fitting, because 1 year ago today I returned from my Japan trip to visit my then-fiance ^^

Flower Viewing/花見


Writing a thesis for a Master’s degree is a very stressful pursuit. I’ve learned that it’s not for the faint of heart! Since it was Spring Break, I decided that I needed a change of scenery. So, I packed up my thesis and headed for cherry blossoms, or sakura! No, I didn’t go back to Japan (although that would have been nice). I decided to stay in the country instead. There are several places in the US where you can see cherry blossoms. The most popular city is Washington D.C., which is famous for its National Cherry Blossom Festival. There are also festivals on the east coast: Brooklyn, NY & Philadelphia, PA; in the south: Macon, GA & Nashville, TN; in the Rockies: Denver, CO; and on the west coast: San Francisco, CA & San Diego, CA.

Sakura along a garden path

Cherry blossoms – Sankeien Japanese Friendship Garden
photo by kei

Cherry blossom viewing, which is called 花見 or hanami (lit. flower-watching), is the thing to do in Japan during cherry blossom season. Cherry blossoms are white to pink flowers that bloom for a very short time (on the order of days to a little over a week) in the spring. When the cherry blossoms bloom, it means the coming of spring after winter. The trees burst into fluffy blooms of whites and pinks, and it’s very beautiful.

Sakura at a park in Japan

Cherry blossoms at Shiroyama in Yamanashi prefecture – children enjoying hanami
photo by kei

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Japan Diaries Day 5 – Yokohama


Only 5 days into my one-month Tokyo trip, I was ready to keep doing the tourist thing. After Monday’s trip to Asakusa and Tokyo Skytree, on Tuesday we went to Yokohama!



When I travel, I like to visit as many sightseeing spots that I can that interest me. I like to get up early and to pack as many things as possible into the day as possible. My fiancé doesn’t like to get up early though, so our compromise was to leave for Yokohama 横浜 around noon.

Yokohama Minato Mirai 21

Yokohama Minato Mirai 21 – photo by kei

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