According to an old Japanese gentleman I spoke to last night, there's about a two week window for prime blossom viewing. When they explode onto the scene, full of life and color, before falling and returning to the dust. He said the Japanese draw comparisons between the blossoms and our own lives. The brief lifespan of the floral spectacle is part of the appeal. These past two weeks are like an unspoken holiday, where it would be almost criminal not to take in their splendor at least once.
I've enjoyed them myself nearly everyday, as the Takao area is ground zero for blossom stalkers. The other day I ventured over to Ryo-Nan Park, along the river trail, where it's a virtual orgy of petal and stamen related activity. Here, let me draw you a map.
If you click on the above image, you can see a plethora of locations I have mentioned in my journal, starting with the location of my apartment at the crossroads of two paths. South of me is the train station and Gourmet City, where I do my grocery shopping. Northwest is the beguiling Tama Forest, with its fortress like walls preventing me from accessing its manicured trails. I've failed on two attempts, but I will get inside you.
Directly north is the Musashi Cemetery, where they've laid up some dead emperors. I went there after Ryo-Nan, but those pictures will be in the next post. To the northeast is the start of the rive trail and Ryo-Nan Park. That's where I took the photos contained in this post.
Blooming trees along the river path
Looking back over the bridge from the entrance to the park
I should mention that people dress up for the blossom watching occasion. Not me. Classy Japanese people.
The major thoroughfare through the park. Photos can't do it justice.
Nobody sits or lays directly on the ground. A snooze in the park requires a tarp and removal of the shoes.
A friendly game of stick ball
Japanese Picnic. Old people know how to dress here.