The Beginnings of Spring!

This Sunday, I went with some friends to go see the first of the plum (ume) blossoms in Hikari City! This is my second time to Hikari–the first was Nijigahama Beach. It’s still cold like winter here, and I caught a small cold last week >< I went in to see the doctor yesterday after school just to make sure it wasn’t something else (like the flu…or pneumonia. But I mean, who would catch both, right?). Today I’m feeling great! And tomorrow should be even better!

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I don’t remember ever paying as much attention to the changing seasons as I do in Japan. Even though there are places in CA where it snows, and even though the trees in my area still change color, it wasn’t such a huge change that I really thought that much about it most of the time. In Japan, it’s so freezing sometimes that I don’t want to get out of bed, and since it’s raining I need to walk to school because we’re not supposed to ride bikes while holding umbrellas (and I don’t have a bike-attached umbrella holder). Then, when the flowers are blooming, there are festivals and events and commercials all centered around the different blooming flowers, and it’s hard to ignore.

This festival, called the 梅祭り (Ume-Matsuri) or Plum (Blossom) Festival, was held at a shrine in Hikari City, about an hour’s train ride from Waki (with extra-long stops at Iwakuni and Yanai). The food area wasn’t very big, and there wasn’t like a procession being led through the town or anything like that–you just climb up the long steps to the shrine, and then when you get to the grounds at the back, there’s a hill full of plum and cherry blossom trees. The festival isn’t like a one-day thing either–it’s like a certain number of days, for however long the blossoms are blooming (I think).

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You can see the ocean in the background, as well as some of the town below. There’s someone selling stuff on the blue tarp on the right–I’m not sure who, but there were several tarps selling random stuff–the cd players and watches stuck out to me.

The blossoms smelled SO good! I don’t consider myself to have that great of a sense of smell, and my nose was kind of runny/plugged up because of my cold, and I could STILL smell how good they were!

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In the food area, there was an area with a bunch of plants (and plum blossom trees) for sale.

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More to love!

I really liked these cute, fat little plum trees. I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but for their size, they were really fat! Haha!

There were only a few trees in bloom on the front/ocean-facing side of the hill, but once we got to the back, we were able to see a lot more colors that are coming in.

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Brightened this a little because zooming washes out the color.

There was a lot of landscaping at the foot of the hill (and a river), and also a big field where mochi-throwing took place, and on the next hill over there was a playground with six different levels and a great view.

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View of the back of the first hill. This is such an interesting picture, because there’s so much going on–I feel like I could make an “I Spy” page out of it.

There were paths running all up and down and around that entire hill, and it was really confusing! The first time we had to come down it, we walked and walked and were trying to figure out where the paths let out so we could get to the grassy field. You can’t just walk straight down through the plum trees (except my friend who came late did that, because he was in a hurry^^;).

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A view of the playground over the heads of all the people waiting for mochimaki to begin.

That ends our group trip to the Hikari ume trees! I think some JETs might be going back again next week or soon to see the blossoms in full bloom, but if I’m going to do that, I think I’ll go to a different place–once was good enough. I think the pictures still turned out good despite the weather, though!^^ Until the next post, then!

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Song of the Day: David Crowder Band, “Come Find Me” <–Give it a chance, it’s not a boring song!

One thought on “The Beginnings of Spring!

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