Tokyo Blond Is Not Porn

Tokyo Blond is not a porn blog, about hair or even, as one pithy friend remarked, a micro beer or late 1980s glam metal band ("Dude, I just saw Skid Row and Tokyo Blond opened and played a killer set").

The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my experiences in Tokyo - poignantly, visually, irreverently - for fun.

Anybody can tag along...that is if I like you. This blog will endeavor to be entertaining and honest and frequent enough to keep those following interested including me.

Friday, April 20, 2012

River and Garden Tour - Hanami Like You Mean It

Allegedly, one of the best ways to see the cherry blossoms in Tokyo, the Sakura guides said, was to see them from a boat on the river.  You start at the detached garden, Hamarikyu, then take a boat up the Sumida River to Asakusa.  Yeah, yeah. 

We usually do this route when we want to have tea at the Conrad Hotel, which is across the street from the Detached Garden.  A great experience by the way.

So in our ongoing Hanami quest, we packed a picnic, and some rose, and headed to Hamarikyu.  Truth be told, there weren't that many cherry trees, and the best ones were at the entrance.

Cherry trees at the entrance across the street from the Conrad Hotel.

But I did like their sign.  Apparently they take Hanami here very seriously, in the more traditional sense. In the traditional sense you're supposed to sit under the cherry trees and reflect upon the fleetingness of life and resolve yourself to treasure what time you have here on earth to the fullest.  

We do that too.  We just do it with rose and tonkatsu finger sandwiches.  What's wrong with that?!

What I like about this sign is you're not allowed to make any noise.
What about breathing?

Even though there wasn't the cataclysmic spectacle of hundreds of cherry trees blossoming at once like we had seen in Chidorigafuchi or Meguro, the carefully placed cherry trees around the sparkling pond with the Tokyo metropolis in the background was inspiring.  I love Hamarikyu exactly for this reason - the juxtaposition of ancient and new - 17th century Shogun garden in front of 21st century city.

This cherry tree is probably older than America.


And of course the garden itself is always beautiful.  Unfortunately, they were overhauling the tea house, which is usually one of the most picturesque sights in the park.  Oh well.  They still had the requisite arched oriental bridge to admire.

Gotta have the bridge.

We selected a picnic spot close to the prettiest blossoming cherry tree in the park.  It was a great spot for Hanami and an even better spot for people watching.  

Our tree.

Love the dappling.

Hey Russell. If you look over there, there's a cherry tree.
This way I can pour the rest of the rose into my glass without you knowing.

My view, looking directly up from our tarp.

Ok, time to go.

From our picnic spot we walked to the boat ramp and the park and waited, along with two hundred other people, for the Sumida River boat.  We've been on this ride several times, but never during cherry blossom season.  Usually we marvel at the bridges, everyone is different, but this time we marveled at the trees.

Ok, that's nice.


They seemed to go on forever.

When we got close to Asakusa the new Tokyo Sky Tree came into view.  We've been watching it being built since we moved here.  It opens officially this May. It's the highest tower in the world, until China builds a new one.

You know this is going to be a standard postcard in the near future.

Asakusa was crowded as usual, and even more so along the river, because the entire riverside park was covered in frothy pink cherry blossoms.  It reminded me of the Sumida River Fireworks.  Not a single space near the river was un-tarped and it wasn't even the weekend.  Salarymen were laughing and drinking beneath the trees. It was a happy sight.

Suddenly I had a craving for sakura ice cream.  The Hanami continues....

Only the walkway was un-tarped.

Light filtering through the blossoms.
Enjoy it while you can.

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