I know it has been a while…too long really. I have thought about blogging several times and have many ideas for blogging topics….things I’ve done, my travels, life in Japan, etc. I’ve started them all in my head, but just haven’t quite found the right moment to actually get them down on virtual paper and out to you all. I wish I could chalk it up to my busy schedule and hectic life, but I can’t. What it comes down to really is…well…sheer laziness.
But now spring has arrived and I couldn’t be giddier. I cannot believe how fast time has gone since I have arrived, but I am so thankful that the horrid winter months have finally come to a close. In all honestly, Japan does not get THAT cold, especially in comparison to Reno. I would say the winter days averaged in the low-mid thirties…a bit lower at night of course. However, the difference here is the amount of time spent outside. In most places that have harsh winters (I’m thinking in the States), modern technology has allowed us to start our cars from our kitchen window to get it nice and toasty before heading off to work in the early mornings. We also keep our homes at a comfortable temperature throughout the day and night. Making a quick stop at the grocery store is a mad dash from the parking lot to the warmth of the building and often times, we find ourselves in covered parking lots to protect us from the bite of the winter cold. Japan is quite different. I ride my bike to work every morning, no matter the weather. Anywhere I need to go, be it the grocery store, out to dinner, or just to pay my bills, I am required to walk or ride my bike. This winter I did actually use my car to get me to the grocery store at least. Train stations are quite close to anywhere I would need to go, but that doesn’t alleviate the short distances needed to travel by foot to get to one’s destination. And why oh why doesn’t Japan have frickin central heating???? I have NO IDEA considering it is supposed to be the leading country in technology. Our homes are equipped with wall units in each room that do a decent job of warming up, but as soon as you step out of that particular room prepare to freeze your tooshy off! I think I finally got a routine down in which I didn’t freeze too much. I had my robe and slipper/boots readily available next to the bed as soon as I woke up in the morning. I came downstairs and turned on the heat in the living room and turned on the little electric heater in the bathroom. I often would go back up to bed for a “few” more minutes to warm up under the covers while the downstairs warmed up a bit. It was a pain in the butt, but it worked. I am truly grateful for one thing….my heated toilet seat! All hail to the mighty heated toilet seat maker because he/she is a fricking genius! Tackling the summer heat will be my next mission, but for now I am going to enjoy the perfect spring weather. Why did I leave San Diego again? Oh right, because this is an awesome adventure and it will always be there for me to go back to if I choose!
The best part of winter is when it ends. I’m serious! Here the end of winter signifies the coming of the Sakura trees; my favorite part of the year.
It isn’t just the blossoms themselves that are so beautiful, it’s that they bring everyone together. I love observing families, kids, young couples, friends and the elderly all out laughing and sharing the experience together. People are celebrating the end of a hard winter and the arrival of a new start. It makes me smile.
A tradition is to have Hanami or a picnic. Everyone lays out their blue tarps side by side and bring their lunches and drinks to view and enjoy the blossoms. Some stay a little too long and have a hard time walking home…but all in good fun.