In early April, when the Cherry Blossom trees are in full bloom in
, it is a common practice to go out for flower viewing called ‘Hanami’ or hold lawn parties under fully blossomed trees. Since I did not have anyone to party with, I decided to go around enjoying the Sakura on a bicycle. It was not very difficult to rent a bicycle at the local train station. I just had to cross two hurdles- one, filling up a Japanese form which I managed to do with some help from two kind-hearted elderly women who barely knew English and two, after being given the key to the bicycle I actually managed to find the right bicycle from hundreds parked at the cycle stand. I knew the route I had to take, but once I got on the road, I decided to keep the maps away and wander aimlessly under the Sakura. Japan
The weather was beautiful. Bright sunshine passing through thick branches of blooming Sakura created a play of light and dark on the pathway. Every now and then, the cool breeze nudged the petals to leave home and carried them delicately as they twirled and danced to silent music till they rested on the earth. Every time I passed through this rhapsody, I stood there with my face turned upwards and my palms stretched out so that I could feel the petals falling on my skin. Can there be anything more flattering than being showered by the Sakura petals or the ‘Hanafubuki’ as the showers are called in Japanese? I rode through the
campus and found many people merrily stretching out on the lawns- some were playing music, some were reading and some were even barbequing! It seemed like no one could turn down the invitation extended by bright sunshine and the pink hued-cloud shaped Cherry Blossoms to come outdoors and have a nice time. Tsukuba University
I cycled through the small lanes finding spots where I could enjoy the Hanafubuki and then rode through the boulevards that were graciously lined by Sakura on both sides. As it started getting dark, I realized that I had to go back and return my rented bicycle. I handed over the keys and told the lady at the counter that I would need the bicycle again the next day. I had enjoyed the Sakura show and wanted to experience it once again. You see, there are some things in life that one can’t get enough of.