Cherry Blossom Season in Japan

Hello everyone I hope everything is going well! I can’t believe this semester is almost over, I feel like I just started a few days ago. These past two weeks have been great for me and I will talk about some of the interesting things I done. The best thing in my opinion was knocking out all of my mid-term exams! I am so happy they are over now. My lowest mid-term grade was an 85% in my religion class and highest grade was a 93% in my Japanese writing and reading class. This is the first weekend in a long time that I don’t have to do a massive amount of homework or a studying for tests. I am sure you all don’t want to hear about busy work, you want to hear about the fun things Japan offers right?
Last week I was able to see cherry blossoms in full bloom. I have wanted to see them in person for a long time and what a magnificent site it was. I talked with my homestay mother about some of the best places in Kyoto to go and see the cherry blossoms and she delivered! The first place I went to was Maruyama kouen (Maruyama park) and at first I will say I was a little disappointed. But let me first tell you how popular this place is during the blossoming week. After arriving in Kyoto I had to take a bus from Kyoto to Gion. The line to get on the bus was unreal. I thought I was going to be standing there for hours waiting to board the bus. It took about 50 minutes or so finally to get on the bus which I will say was like a getting on a train in Tokyo at rush hour…just packed. When I arrived, I walked to the entrance of the park and there were a lot of people sitting under cherry blossoms having picnics and enjoying themselves but the pictures I saw on the internet looked absolutely nothing like what I was seeing. I was still happy though because I was finally able to see some cherry blossoms in person. After 5 minutes of walking around the park I followed a Japanese couple down a road which to my surprise led me to what I was searching for. The Sakura trees were absolutely beautiful and the day I picked to go could not have been better. There was a bright sea blue sky and the Sakura pedals danced in the breeze as they fell from the trees. There were also many food and game stands throughout the park that were always busy. The atmosphere of this park is what really made me feel at home. Everyone was so cheerful, conversations were plentiful and it was just nice to witness an event like this in person. In the middle of the park was one of the largest, if not the largest, Sakura trees in Japan. I took so many photos of the tree…I may have gone a little overboard. Around 3 in the afternoon, I met with one of my friends and we walked around the park for about an hour before I told him we should go and check out the Tetsugaku no michi (philosophers path) which is one of the most famous walking paths during the cherry blossom season. It took about 15 minutes from Gion’s bus station to the bus station right across from Tetsugaku no michi. Once again, this place was amazingly beautiful. There were also a lot of people here around 4:15 in the afternoon but it was still a wonderful experience. At this location, there is a small river with side walks on each side with cherry blossom trees creating a roof above you. There were seriously a ton of sakura trees and they were in full bloom which was amazing! After taking a ton of various angled photographs and walking around until my heart was content, I decided we should go back to Maruyama park to see the night view. Good thing I checked the bus schedule before walking around the Philosophers path for 1 hour and 45 minutes… definitely would’t want to miss the last bus…Oh look at that! We did!! This was a mistake on my part but hey, what can you do. We walked around for about 20 minutes before we found another bus stop and thankfully the bus we needed to ride was on its way. Once we got back to Maruyama park, there were even more people than in the afternoon. It was a magnificent sight walking up the path seeing the lamp posts light up the Sakura trees. The real treat was seeing the massive Sakura tree lit up and just sitting beneath the Sakura trees under a clear sky and full moon. To be completely honest, that was probably the most peaceful night of my stay in Japan thus far. It was like a dream and nothing in that moment was on your mind. Truly a great feeling. I sat in the park for almost three hours and walked around taking photos of things I found interesting. I got some amazing pictures of the Sakura trees at night with with moon partially hidden in the clouds. I will see if I can post a lot of them this time. For some reason on my last post, this site was not letting me upload photos =(. If you come to Japan to study or just come for fun, I highly recommend coming during cherry blossom season as it is something you will remember forever.
This week all of the students at Kansai Gaidai started classes so it has been packed! I absolutely love it! This past weekend on Sunday, there was an event for freshman students which I attended and had a blast! To be honest, I am not sure why almost no study abroad students showed up. I was at the event from 9 am until 4:40 pm and saw 2 foreigners throughout the day in the masses of Japanese students. This event for freshman was like a club day. All of the clubs and circles were trying to get the new students to join their club/circle. I actually joined Musicmind which is a music circle! I am really looking forward to participating in all of the upcoming meetings we will have! Not only did I join a circle, I made a plethora of new friends by just walking around and talking to random people. Don’t be shy if you come over here, all of the Japanese students want to talk to foreigners, just push yourself to talk to students you don’t know and you will be making friends right and left.
Yesterday, I was a model for the Kansai Gaidai brochure that will be used for next semster. I was quite surprised that I was picked. There were only three other foreigners besides me who participated in the photoshoot. We were taking photos in groups of 4, two Japanese students and two foreigners, at different areas of the Kansai Gaidai Campus. I had a great time talking to everyone and doing the photo shoot. If you come to Kansai Gaidai next semester be sure to check the Brochure! =)
Tonight I went out to dinner with my homestay family for my homestay brothers birthday and we went out to a very nice sushi restaurant. Some of the sushi was extremely fresh as it was swimming around in a fish tank seconds before you ordered your sushi. I avoided ordering any of the sushi when they would catch it in the fish tank. To be honest, I felt kind of bad being able to see that =( I did have some tuna and tempura shrimp. The sushi was so delicious! My homestay brother ordered part of the back portion of tuna which I had never seen on the menu before. I took some pictures so I will see if I can upload them.
It is getting late and I should go to bed soon. I have been up since 6 in the morning and am extremely tired now. I hope you all enjoyed this blog and continue to have a great semester.

Large Sakura tree
Large Sakura tree

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Sushi Restaurant
Sushi Restaurant

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One thought on “Cherry Blossom Season in Japan

  1. Looking forward to getting our hands on next years brochure! It will be great to have a USF student represented…WELL DONE!


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