Thursday, May 06, 2010

Cherry Blossoms of Komoro

As you gain in latitude and/ or altitude, sakura trees bloom later. They bloomed in Kyoto weeks before they bloomed in Maebashi, and two weeks after the peak of blooms in Maebashi, they hit their stride in the small mountain town of Komoro, in nearby Nagano Prefecture.

Through random happenstance, I actually have two friends in Komoro, one who went to college with Zach, my old friend from highschool, and one whom I met at the Interac training. They both invited me to the festival, and I had to say yes. I needed a bit of time outside of Maebashi and Gunma, and I wanted to road test Hammond a bit, and see how he performed on a longer duration trip before the epic road trip planned for Golden Week.

The Komoro festival was held in a park set amongst the ruins of Komoro Castle. Like many old feudal castles in Japan, Komoro Castle was destroyed at the beginning of the Meiji Era, and now all that is left are the impressive stone foundations. Walking along the the top of the stone wall you see here and looking down at the flowering trees brought a new way of looking at the sakura, from above they looked less like trees and more like clouds of flowers.

The park festivities ended with a jazz performance. I didn't recognize much of the music, but a highlight track was some music from Lupin the 3rd. Only in Japan can you enjoy natural beauty, great street food, beer, and Jazz bands playing songs from animated films.

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