I know, it’s way past cherry blossom period, even past spring. We are already entering into the tsuyu (rainy period) now. But I have taken so many captivating shots of sakura that I want to share, and it’s better late than never, right? I really wanted to upload earlier, but couldn’t manage to because of, ahem, life.
Speaking of which, we all know it, but refuse to face the truth, that life is just as transient as a sakura in bloom. Every moment is to be cherished, for we never know when each petal will fall.
Childhood, in a sense, is even more like a sakura, for it is such a fleeting moment in our lives, and yet, for many of us, it was one of our happiest periods filled with pure child-like wonder at everything in life, when we still saw the world with the eyes of innocence.
The primary schools in Japan seem to know this very well, for they let their children be who they are at heart, kids, free to play and roam about without the binding buttons of a uniform. I only recently found out that Japanese primary school kids didn’t have to wear a uniform, and I think it’s an absolutely brilliant idea, for parents get to save on buying uniforms for their fast growing children, and children get to behave like children. While I certainly do not envy the business people in Japan, bound by societal and work norms to look and behave uniformly, their primary school children are exempt from such stifling rules and could be totally themselves even in school. Without a uniform, the children seem to even forget they are in school, there is no stress on their cute faces, which is very much unlike the tired, peaked faces of primary school children I see in Singapore, who are already burdened by exam stress at such a young age.
Alright, no more rantings, I simply just want to show more photos of sakura. I managed to learn to capture the flurried motion of birds sucking the nectar of out of each blossom as they hop and fly around sakura branches, thanks to the amazing production team from Singapore who taught me as best as they could on my not-so professional camera. We went hunting for places in Tokyo where they film many sakura, which was why I managed to get so many photos of sakura in the first place. Some of the sakura were also captured for my video in Yanaka (谷中), where they featured an unlikely place in Tokyo to view sakura. In case you don’t know, it is the Yanaka Cemetery (谷中霊園). It may sound morbid, but it is actually really peaceful and beautiful, without the drinking hanami (cherry blossom viewing) crowds found in the nearby Ueno Park.
There was also another enchanting place we found which has almost no tourists and definitely no drunk “hanami” partygoers. It’s actually the Omokagebasi Bridge (面影橋). along Kanda River near Waseda University, which looks very similar to the overcrowded Nakameguro area. Apparently an annual event, the Waseda Sakura Festival, is held here, which I imagine should be pretty vibrant with many street vendors selling sakura-related items.
And another impressionable place we found was the Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑). It’s definitely very touristy, but it has many varieties of sakura all contained within the park, from the pale pink Somei Yoshino to dark pink blossoms and weeping cherries, and they were all very beautiful.
Besides being able to capture the blossoms during the golden hour, I also got to see a magnificent view of night cherry blossoms, yozakura, together with DH in Chidorigafuchi (千鳥ヶ淵), which is said to one of most spectacular hanami spots in Japan, featuring a 700-m long walk path lined with cherry trees along a moat.
It was truly a mystical night, I never knew cherry blossoms could be even more enrapturing than they already are. The glowing sakura was enough distraction from the insane crowd (we were jam–packed like sardines), and we actually really enjoyed the walk.
I also managed to put one tick off my bucket list and had a hanami with DH along the Tama River (多摩川). We had to do a late hanami because our schedules clashed during the sakura-blooming period, and we ended up picnic-ing under Yaezakura, a late-blooming sakura. Still, it was a liberating feeling to be seated under a canopy of blossoms, and watching the falling petals being carried away by the wind. Time seemed to be lost to us for the moment, and with hardly anyone else doing such a late hanami, it was almost as if the petals were dancing for us.
On a side note, if you are curious to find out more about Yanaka cemetery and the town of Yanaka itself, do check it out on the Discoverist.SG channel on Youtube!