Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Cherry Blossoms

Blossoming cherry trees are a big deal in Japan. They were the symbol of Japan's friendship with America back in 1914 when the Japanese cherry trees were planted in D.C. along the Potomac River. Matt and I missed the cherry blossoms when we lived in Virginia by mere days. We had to wait until the weekend last April, and due to some strong storms by the time we arrived pink petals littered the ground next to bare trees. We were determined not to miss the short season this year!

Cherry blossoms (sakura in Japanese) bloom only about one week. The warm island of Okinawa has the first blooms in Japan. In this country they represent the beginning of spring. Yep, our spring starts in January according to the trees. Is it ever winter here? There are huge festivals with parades and food vendors at the beginning of the season. Matt and I avoided the crowds and traveled to the city of Nago on the Friday after the major festivals. 

We arrived at Nakijin castle ruins in the late afternoon. I was so glad Matt had a day off after he was in the field for a few weeks. Especially since we could travel on a weekday. We were able to tour the grounds and snap our pictures right before the tour buses arrived with hundreds of people wanting to view the pink flowers. 

I really enjoy that the Okinawans love to take pictures as much as Matt and I do. They all had their camera phones (like me!) and expensive cameras (like Matt) trained on the trees. We were able to make deals with people - we would take a picture of a family and then they would take a picture of us. We ended up with some beautiful shots.

I love the pink blossoms and the turquoise sea in the background.

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