Monday, April 19, 2010

The Cherry Blossoms of Maebashi

At the height of the Cherry Blossoms last week, Maebashi was graced with perfect spring weather. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and the wind was warm. My new friend Ryan came down from Nagano to pay a visit to our fine city, and local ALT Anna also came down from the mountains for a day in the park.

Adjacent to the Prefectural Office is Maebashi Park, the ancient location of the local castle. What's left isn't very military looking at all, but it does make for a gorgeous city park.

A small river borders one side of the park, and gloriously white cherry blossoms lined both banks, dropping delicate flowers into the deep blue green waters whenever the wind picked up.

The 32 floor Prefectural Office looms over much of Maebashi, its by far the tallest and most modern building in town. Hanami (literally "flower viewing") isn't just about gazing at the beautiful and short lived cherry blossoms, it's also about good food, good friends and good alcohol.

The paths through Maebashi Park were lined with food stalls, selling all manner of amazing festival food. This stall had karage (fried chicken) on offer, and other stalls competed with okonomiyaki, yaki tori, sausages, cucumbers on a stick and more. I always like to say you can judge a country on it's street and festival food, and in that comparison Japan ranks pretty highly!

Of course, we weren't the only ones out and about in the city, much of the population of Maebashi was also enjoying the fine spring weather, excellent food, and crisp refreshing sake, chu-hi and beer. People even made the trek from nearby Takasaki, to make sure the park was filled with revelers!

As the afternoon waned, the day grew a bit more chill, and we decided that we had viewed enough flowers, and drunk enough sake, so we made for the center of town, and the local karaoke box. Later that night, on the way home, Ryan and I came across one of the rivers that cuts through the city had been decorated with lanterns for the season. It really made for a beautiful end to a very beautiful day.


Elizabeth said...

Oo so pretty!

victoriasart said...

You have to give the Japanese credit - they not only celebrate the beautiful(in this case, cherry blossoms), but they make a festival out of it!