It’s a new day, and therefore time for some old pictures, lol! These are pictures that I took during my “long silence” this winter.. Actually, the day before what would have been my 2-year anniversary with you-know-who.
But what simpler way to feel better about yourself than to spend time with friends and pretty flowers? Something that I adore about Japan is the copious amount of flowers that appear every Spring. It’s a bit of a bane to my nose, as I suffer from hayfever (I’m currently dying from lack of breath as I type this), but they’re nice to look at, anyways! In this case though, they’re not cherry blossoms (sakura), but instead plum blossoms (ume)!
To me, they look more-or-less the same. Sometimes I hear people say that plum blossoms are whiter than cherry blossoms, but I’ve seen plenty of white cherry blossoms, and as you’ll see, plenty of dark pink plum blossoms! It all depends on the breed, I think.
And in a few months, just imagine all of the amazing plums that will be hanging from those branches.. Yummmm….
For more information about where I went, and lots of gorgeous pictures, click the link below!!
My good friend Adele was the one who invited me out, and I’m glad that I did!
We headed out to Ome, a station way up in Ibaraki, about two hours from Tokyo, for their annual Ume Matsuri. It was rainy and chilly, so luckily there weren’t many people! That’s a welcome change from past years when it’s been packed with wall-to-wall people, so much so that it was hard just to move.
The matsuri (festival) has a homepage here:
http://www.omekanko.gr.jp/ume/matsuri.htm (japanese only)
Directions: You need to make your way to Hinatawada station, on the JR Ome line. The thick black-and-white striped line on the top right-hand side of the map has a box on it. That box is Hinatawada station.
Out of the station, you want to go right and then left when you reach the street with the bridge on it. From then, follow the map towards the large red area at the bottom. That’s the Ume blossom park. It’s about a 15 minute walk, or faster if you walk quickly, but plan to leave plenty of time. It also costs 200 yen to enter the park (about $2 USD), but that’s hopefully not a big deal! If you’re lucky and you come on a festival day, there are often dances and displays, etc, happening on that red street on the map.
When: The dates change every year, but generally it goes from the middle of February through the end of March.
And now for pictures!
The sign in Hinatawada station announcing that the plum festival is going on:
I just liked my friend Adele’s yellow sweater 🙂
Some more shots from the station:
And from the scenery on the way to the park:
Adele brought us some kit kats, yum! Friends, flowers, and chocolate, who could ask for a better pick-me-up?
Crossing the river. I always stop to admire the valley. It reminds me of where I grew up in the US.
I thought this elderly gentleman had a rather whimsical fashion sense. Maybe he was dressing to match the flowers?
I tried a lot of different styles of photography this time, since photographing flowers can get a little bit repetitive. Any favorites?
A sign for local konnyaku and umeboshi. Konnyaku is kind of like a gelatin made from seaweed. It’s pretty much flavorless, but is always packed in really rancid-smelling water (it smells like fishing docks, if you know what I mean). If you wash it and boil it, though, it’s great for you. A lot of fiber and basically no calories!
Umeboshi are pickled plums. They’re really sour, and really salty. I don’t like vinegar, so I can’t stand them, but they’re popular among Japanese people, and even among a lot of visitors, it seems!
The sign says “Space available.”
“Belly button buns.” LOLOL
They sound like something out of Harry Potter.
Me! It was chilly, so I still had my winter coat.
A japanese graveyard. Anyone interested in me taking pictures at a graveyard sometime?
The sign to “Ume park.”
It had started to rain pretty hard, so we stopped by an interestingly-named cafe on the way back…. XP
Any favorite pictures?