Sunday, April 10, 2011

WFT Extra 007: Cherry Blossoms

For people in Japan, April is one of the most important months of the year.  It's the celebration of a new period.  Our fiscal year, school year and even employment start in April with the addition of mother nature: Cherry blossoms.

It has been quite hard missing this season for almost 10 years by being in the US.  My husband and I used to go to Brooklyn Botanic Garden every year for their cherry festival when we lived in NY.  It was very fun and the blossoms were beautiful there.  But their cherry trees are mostly "Yae-zakura", which blooms a bit later than "Yoshino" (spicy); the most common one in Japan.  "Yae-zakura" actually looks a lot bigger with more layers of petals than "Yoshino".  So for me, the blossoms in Brooklyn weren't quite the same as what I used to enjoy seeing in Japan.  But this year, we were lucky enough to enjoy them here in the States!  This weekend, we went visit Washington DC, the most famous cherry blossom site outside of Japan. 

We got a piece of last minute information from my husband's uncle who lives in Virginia as to where to see the blossoms.  The place is a subdivision called Kenwood in Bethesda, MD by Kenwood Country Club.  It's not so big of a subdivision but it's very historical.  The developer focused on landscaping of the area and planted trees way before the first house was built (click here for the detail story about the area). 

The weather was not as nice as the day before but at lease it wasn't raining yet.  When we got there, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Each street was like a tunnel made of beautiful cherry blossoms and this was EXACTLY how I remembered one street by my grammar school.  And the timing was so perfect that the blossoms were almost toward the end and when the wind blew, there was a phenomenon similar to a snow of petals coming down from all of the trees.  It reminded me of my favorite line from the beginning of The Tales of Heike, "The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; the mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind."  This scenery was literally dream-like, as my husband said, and we enjoyed every second of it.  We both  envy people who are able to live in this area.  The important thing to remember, though, is that it doesn't last forever.  This short period of time of the year makes it so special.  If you have a chance, I highly recommend everybody go see it next year (but please remember to be respectful to the residences)! 

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