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Sunday, April 10, 2011

*TOKYO SAKURA

Pearl's two favorite Sakura viewing sites were Jindaiji and Shinjuku Gyoen.  I will not say much and show a lot of photos, except that two years ago, she and I were taken by Fumio Ito through Jindaiji:

We did not realize it until he picked us up, but he had gotten out of his hospital bed because he just had to show us his favorite cherry blossom park.  After our two hour tour, he went back to the hospital and a week later, passed away.  Dr. Ito spent his professional career with Tokyo Electric Power, and he was the leader for the team that built and tested that OTEC plant at Nauru, which, unfortunately, was destroyed by a hurricane.  A couple of months later, Pearl also died.  While this location has more variety than any Sakura park, the memories are very difficult for me:

Interestingly enough, the first photo I took was a statue that startingly, almost looked like Pearl:

Even the hairdo is the same.  This photo of her was taken a year before she passed away:


There were some bonsai Sakura:

And a wide variety of cherry blossoms:

Of course there were other flowers:
They even had the State Flower of Hawaii:
And some beautiful begonias:

I then went over to Shinjuku Gyoen Park.  First, though, to Takashimaya for an onaga bento with sparkling sake and Yebisu Premium beer.  There was a mob of people in line to enter.  Then I saw this sign:
And they were checking all bags:
There were parallel tables with half a dozen staff checking, so I carefully walked between the tables.  A guard was in the middle and looked at me, but I smiled and walked by him, and he didn't say anything.  As I think about it now, the next time, wear a jacket with inside pockets.  They only look at bags.

Anyway, there must have been 100,000 people in the park.


Finding a place to eat should have been impossible, but by some miracle, three minutes into my walk I saw a shaded bench, with a wall blocking the secret police from seeing what I was drinking:
Note how I'm covering the beer:
Yes, I guess I was drinking a 124 year old beer.  But the sparkling sake...
...must have been older.

Anyway, no problems.  I might comment that bentos costing more than $20 are not worth it.

I found the ideal spot for the ash tossing ceremony.  On the other side of this pond, under the whitish Sakura:
Just below here:

The people also made my hanami memorable:

What a grand day.  I return home tomorrow.

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