Sakura in Sendai in May!
Wisteria at Geibikei in the same month :)
Dandelion appreciation in Shiogama
Some time back an American friend of mine asked me what is Japan's biggest draw for me. When I told him that it was the food, he was rather shocked because he's the kind of fellow that food doesn't seem to give even half the pleasure that it does me. At the same time, I must admit to being somewhat surprised that he didn't expect my answer since pretty much everyone who knows me knows that I do enjoy eating quite a lot -- and variety -- of food!
On the other hand, I think my friend would have a good reason to be shocked if I told him that I had travelled to Japan -- or anywhere for that matter -- to go look at flowers. Although there's one instance where I did indeed do so (back in the summer of 2013 when my mother and I travelled to the lavender paradise that is Furano and Farm Tomita), I also happen to be someone who decided some time back to never visit Japan during sakura season (for reasons that include cherry blossom viewing season also being when allergy- and hay fever-causing pollen from the sugi and hinoki trees are at their peak levels).
For all this though, I must admit that my heart skipped a beat when I came across a tree full of pink blossoms when I went up to the top of Sendai's Mount Aoba on the first day of my recent Japan trip. While I wasn't sure if it was the case at the time, a couple of Japanese friends have since confirmed that I did indeed spot a cherry blossom tree in bloom. And although it was the less well known Yaezakura that blooms later than the more popular and numerous Somei Yoshino, I still am happy to be able to have actually seen a sakura tree in bloom in Japan!
Another species of flower in season in Japan this month is the wisteria. Known as Fuji in Japanese and considered to be the country's second most famous flowers, they too can make for quite the splendid sight -- and while I didn't get to see large clumps of them, the sightings of them that I made, including on a rock at Geibikei actually known as Wisteria Rock, were also pretty welcome.
To be honest though, it really doesn't take that much to get me excited as far as flowers are concerned. A case in point: I know that dandelions aren't all that special to many people, and even considered weeds by quite a few, but it never ceases to please me to catch sight of them -- because, as a child, I had yearned to see them and blow on them to tell time the way that characters in Enid Blyton books that I loved reading had done. And yes, when I caught sight of some dandelions by the side of a road on this recent Japan trip, I couldn't resist stopping and taking a photo of them too! ;b