Spring is here! First things first: We didn’t get the flu this year! Woohoo! We are so relieved by the warmer weather. Madeleine especially is a ball of energy, and seriously needs time outside the house every day.
Cambria has some big news… She lost her first tooth! She got the first one out on her own, and then let me pull out the second a day later! I’m so proud of her. What a big girl she’s becoming!
In lieu of the Tooth Fairy, we had Cambria put her tooth under her pillow, and while she slept we replaced it with ¥500 (I know, I know, but I was just so proud) and a sparkly note suggesting a fun family activity. Her first tooth garnered a trip to the “roller slide playground,” the girls’ favorite playground that we hadn’t been to all winter.
The second tooth brought a trip to a McDonald’s play place! Sounds small, but we’d never been and I knew they’d love it. I did too!
Next… it’s cherry blossom season! I always end up feeling like I missed the season, but Leslie has been ensuring that we experience it this year. The girls are so cute… “I WUB chewwy bossoms!”
This has to be the most joyful time in Japan. Everyone goes out as often as they can during the 1-2 weeks that the blossoms are here. Companies actually send out rookie employees early in the morning with a blue sheet to secure a spot for the post-work hanami (flower viewing picnic).
We went to a local park with some friends for hanami. This is one of those situations in which small cultural differences create an undercurrent of tension within me. (It’s small, and silly, but constant.) Japanese are very particular about dirt (see: different shoes/slippers for different areas of the house). When I go on a picnic, I accept that dirt will probably get in my sandwich, and as long as someone’s not actually stepping on my food, I don’t really care. At a Japanese picnic, you take your shoes off before you step on the blanket/sheet, and make sure that every last bit of dirt is scrubbed from your hands before you partake. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes me totally stress over picnics!
Last week we popped down to Ueno, one of the more popular hanami locations in Tokyo, as the blossoms were just starting to pop out. (I took a couple pictures, but iCloud confuses the mess out of me and I can’t figure out where they are.) This Monday, I walked from my class in Ochanomizu to Kitanomaru Park (北の丸公園) to meet the family at the festival there. We walked along the moat of the imperial palace under a canopy of sakura. Beautiful. And packed.
Yesterday morning, we left the house around 8:15 and travelled up to Gongendō Park (権現堂公園) in Satte. It.was.gorgeous. So many sakura, contrasted with a field of vibrant yellow rapeseed. We spent the entire day there, and I didn’t see a single white person. So very, very Japanese. The path below the sakura was lined with stalls selling various and sundry delicious Japanese festival foods. We started with shaved ice (かき氷), then grabbed fried chicken, okonomiyaki, yakisoba, and grilled sweet potatoes for lunch. As we left, Leslie and the girls shared takoyaki (dough balls stuffed with octopus bits). I knew Cambria liked octopus, but Madeleine surprised me in eating a bunch herself!
We are completely worn out, but all in all, a pretty good sakura season.
I’ve mentioned before that my husband is a photographer. I know I’ve got some amazing iPhone camera skills, but I highly, highly recommend your checking out his website. He updates multiple times a week, and will be posting a slew of photos from this season over the next while. Check him out at Les Taylor Photo, or on Facebook!