LAST year when the sakura came in May, I felt a sort of cognitive dissonance with myself and my surroundings.  Suddenly,  myriads of trees were flourishing with the most precious pink flowers.  They spread their limbs so proudly throughout the entirety of the Blue Forest and all I kept thinking was, had it been only three months ago that the largest earthquake that Japan had ever experienced had happened and thousands of lives were swept away so viciously?  

While I never voiced it during that time, I felt that beauty of the season was such a sham, a kind of cruel joke.  The spring had come to soon, nature was celebrating new life, and had decided to move on, as if it had forgotten about the devastation it had left in its wake, leaving thousands of people still homeless and so many broken lives.  How could the changing of the seasons be so casual?  And I had felt slightly angered by the beautiful blossoms around me.

This year however, after one of the most longest winters I have ever experienced in my entire life, I had a feverish thirst for spring and the sakura to appear.  Only this time, spring refused to come, or perhaps it was winter that was prevailing, but over and over again winter teased us, refusing to let spring arrive, fighting with it through rebellious thunderstorms and lightning.  It would rain for a bit, and just when we thought it would get warmer, it would snowphoon, icing the streets of our towns once again. 

BUT, when I awoke this past Monday, there were blossoms everywhere.  Since it was a holiday, I made the decision to do ‘hanami’ (flower viewing) with or without people, but luckily for me Sassy-Australian-Fancy-Pants wanted to join.  We really didn’t have a set plan so we met up at Hachinohe station but missed the local train to Hirosaki by a few minutes.  In the end, we  decided to go to this place called Kabushima, where there are a plethora of seagulls.  I had actually heard about this place the week before and had never been so we went. 

I was not mentally prepared for what I was seeing. There were birds EVERYWHERE…there must have been a few thousand, and with birds comes lots of poop.  I know its sounds like weird, but I actually really enjoyed going there.  At one point I took my umbrella, like Sean Connery,  in that one Indiana Jones’ movie and ran through the flock of seagulls (to either the dismay or amusement of the Japanese people who were also there).  But I didn’t care because it was so fun!!  And I was really happy that no birds crapped on my head.  So it was an overall success, I thought. 

After that we decided to actually go and see some blossoms at Kodomo no Kuni koen (Children’s Country Park) in the Eighth Gate.   On our way, we got lost because our conversation was basically:

me: I don’t know my way around the Eighth Gate, so you have to direct me.

Sassy-Australian-Fancy-Pants:  Okay, turn left.  I mean right! TURN RIGHT!

me (jerking wheel): AHHHH!

Sassy-Australian-Fancy-Pants: I wonder where this road goes, oh well, it probably leads to the park.

me: What?!

Sassy-Australian-Fancy-Pants: Go right now.  I mean LEFT!

me: Okay. Is this the right road?

Sassy-Australian-Fancy-Pants: I don’t know.  I’m sure its fine. 

Anyway, we went up this one road that didn’t feel like it led anywhere except into residential neighborhoods, so we decided to turn around, so I pulled into a road to make a U-turn, but the I saw in the corner of my eye a row of cherry trees almost hidden by a bridge.  We decided to be adventurous and go under the passageway to get a better look. 

It totally paid off (even though the passageway smelled like poop- I think there was fertilizer coming from someone’s yard, and we were basically downwind of it),  I had no idea where we were, but there was this really cool walkway with giant cherry trees, that led up a hill to a park.  It was secluded with maybe just a few families in the park.   Anyway, we pranced around and made a really bad rap about sakura…I kind of forget but I think it sounded something like this:

Yo yo, yo yo yo, yo yo, yooo (we said this for awhile since we are not really good at rapping)

I’m at the park with my hommie

And we are watching hanami

and afterwards, we are gonna eat nabeyaki


Sa-sa-sa kura Sa-sa-sa-kura.

I’m freestlying…yo…when I freestyle I get….nervous… (obviously Flight of the Concords reference)…Sa-sa-sa-sakura!

But then we stopped, because I think we felt stupid, and also because clearly we cannot rap.   

ANYWAY, after that we actually found the road to Children’s Country, but stopped to get popsicle first.  The car line to get into the parking lot of the park was reedickoulus.  BUT, we had some major favor, because this traffic guy called us over and was like come on in the back way, so we actually didn’t have to wait in line, AT ALL.  We basically just sailed into the park and passed everyone in line. <insert evil laugh and thank-you to Jesus for His favor>

As promised, the park was filled with sakura trees, entertainment, food stands, AND also a bunch of amusement park rides!   BUT, the rides were really only for children, nonetheless, Sassy-Australian-Fancy-Pants and I decided to go on a couple rides.

We first went on the Merry-Go-Round, but I think we both didn’t realize how slow the ride was going to be.  In Freeland, Merry-Go-Rounds are usually much faster and more jolting. This Merry-Go-Round however….was very gentle and not jarring in the least to its riders, who mostly happened to be around 8 years old or younger, with a few scattered parents.  Suddenly, I began to feel very awkward.   I think we made the Japanese parents feel awkward as well, who were watching from the sidelines and taking videos of their children. I highly doubt those parents woke up that morning expecting to take pictures of their children with strange gaijin in the background.

We really should have learned our lesson, but we saw this Skyway thing where people were in pedaling contraptions that were lifted high above the ground, so they could view cherry blossoms up high.  Sassy-Australian-Fancy-Pants started having second thoughts about the ride, but I forced her to go on it with me.  I guess we really didn’t think it through, since the seats and pedaling contraption was really built for 1. Japanese children. 2. Skinny Japanese parents.  Let’s just say that neither of us fit into our seats very well.

Midway through pedaling, whilst hovering over park goers and their families,  Sassy-Australian-Fancy-Pants had a panick attack and felt certain that we were going to keel over and plunge into some the meals of the picnickers below us.  She started yelling at me, “PEDDLE WOMAN PEDDLE!” in an effort to get across the stretch way.

So there we were, two oversized gaijin, one screaming at the other and the other laughing her head off (that would be me of course–I think at one point I could barely breathe I was laughing so hard) peddling like madwomen teetering precariously in the air above a crowd of stunned Japanese families, not enjoying the blossoms at all.

After we got off, I think Sassy-Australia-Fancy-Pants was kind of mad at me for making her ride with me, so I apologized.  Hindsight really is 20/20, in retrospect it probably wasn’t the most suitable ride for us to have gone on.

After that I dropped Fancy Pants at her house, and went back to the Third Gate to take a nap, and met Princess No. 2, Knitting-Nihonjin-Girl, Lt. Dan and Precious-Takko-Princess for dinner at Megu where they told me about their trip to Sendai for a rock concert.   So that concluded my weekend.

On a more serious note though, I wanted to end entry this with a literary passage. While gazing this morning at the blossoms, I was reminded of an excerpt from Song of Songs.  The Song of Songs one of the most beautiful books in the Bible about love and seasons, and this passage kept running through my mind with the coming of spring and blossoms, from the second chapter: 

10-14 Get up, my dear friend,
   fair and beautiful lover—come to me!
Look around you: Winter is over;
   the winter rains are over, gone!
Spring flowers are in blossom all over.
   The whole world’s a choir—and singing!
Spring warblers are filling the forest
   with sweet arpeggios.
Lilacs are exuberantly purple and perfumed,
   and cherry trees fragrant with blossoms. (Message Bible)

Anyway, I am so refreshed by the beauty of this season this year- I am a happy garu desu yo and looking forward to fun times ahead, yaay!   ^^v