Meanwhile back in Tokyo, I was able to locate more cherry blossoms. I never understood why it was such a big deal until I came and saw it in person. They are a big deal. I would have loved to come earlier in the season. I intend to come next year at the height of the cherry blossom season because it is truly a big deal. During the height of the season picnics are being held in parks and people just meander around places where the blossoms are and enjoy the beautiful sight.
Spring comes later in the mountains. So while cherry blossoms were all but disappeared, it was just beginning to appear in the mountains. I took a shinkansen or a bullet train from Tokyo to Nagoya, changed trains and went up to the 'alps of Japan.' I missed the train I was actually booked on because of a case of lost translation. My ticket said '8.20am' and I keep asking where I would be leaving from? The ticket clerk said, 'Shibuya' where I bought my ticket. But the truth was my train will leave Tokyo station at 8.20am and I am to get there anytime before then. I left Shibuya at 8.20am and got to Tokyo station 20 minutes later to find the 8.20 train has left. There are lots of trains and I jumped on the next train and off I went. The trains in Japan are incredible. You can get a reserved seat but if not, each train has a few carriages that are for non reserved seats. Just ask the station people or the carriages have signs that say 'reserved' or 'non reserved'.
The height of the season was over in Tokyo and as I went around hunting for them, I found a few trees still in bloom in the city. I blame myself for coming so late and missing the season. But whatever I found was still so beautiful, these billowy blooms that so epitomizes Japan. I never understood their mystic till I came and saw them. Now Im really hooked. I want to return next year to see them in full bloom all over the city!
I just arrived back from Tokyo after spending 9 days chasing cherry blossoms. I was praying I wasn't too late and that I'll find some. They are mostly over in Tokyo even though I found some late blooms. But during its height, the whole of Tokyo would be filled with these beautiful blooms. I went up to the mountains and they were just getting their share of the blooms. This is not my picture but an advertisement for train rides during cherry blossom season to see all the places where cherry trees are. It is quite a phenomenon, a must see in this one's lifetime. I was apprehensive before I went to Japan but I was pleasantly surprised how easy and fun it was.
On the eve of my trip to Tokyo, I'm getting my camera battery charged up and sorting through my huge collection of memory cards. I went through some of the photos of my summer trip and found a collection of what I took of the paintings of Nikolai Astrup. He's a Norwegian painter and most of his works can be seen at the museum in Bergen, Norway. He, more than, Munch, really captured the essence of Norwegian life. He grew up in such a setting, little village, the white church where his father was the preacher and gorgeous fjord views. I adore his work. Norway is still my most favorite country.
I would say it is one of the most beautiful country in the world. It is glorious in summer. They have such short but splendorous summers. It wasn't that expensive and much easier to travel in than what most people say. Don't believe what people say, go check it out for yourself. I did and I'm never the same.