OK… so it’s been a long time since our last blog post. A really long time. What happened is that we really didn’t want to turn this into one of those “baby blogs”, where new parents share cute pictures and developmental milestones with the whole world. What we hadn’t counted on is that the last 8 months or so have been sort of thin on the non-baby-centric activities, so we ended up not posting anything. Instead of a baby blog, this turned into a culminates-with-baby blog.
Now, though, spring is here and we’re ready to emerge from hibernation and take our offspring out to see the world. A couple of weeks ago, for example, we went out for hanami (花見, cherry blossom viewing) with some people from RIKEN. Last year’s hanami involved a lot of sitting in one place eating and chatting; this year was a little more action-packed.
The first destination was the gokukjinja (護国神社, a shrine honoring the war dead) in Kobe’s Nada Ward. Apparently Japan’s fallen heroes like cherry blossoms a lot. We had a picnic lunch with o-bento to fortify ourselves for the arduous flower-viewing that lay ahead.
From there, we walked over to the “Sakura Tunnel”, which is a narrow road up a rather steep hill that is planted with cherry trees on both sides, so that when they bloom it forms a cherry blossom tunnel.
The final destination was Oji Zoo, which has an impressive collection of cherry trees. It’s also a zoo that lets elementary-school age kids in for free, so on the first really nice Saturday of the spring it was packed.
This giraffe was appreciating the cherry blossoms in a different sort of way.
For next year, I think the gokokujinja is definitely worth hitting again, but we’ll probably skip the zoo. In general, a pretty good hanami experience.