This is a photo taken around 2005 at Kairakuen Park in Mito-shi, Ibaraki in Japan. This celebration is typically celebrated around the spring time where plum blossoms start to sprout. Personally, I feel that plum blossoms are more beautiful than the cherry blossoms. Plum blossoms are more radiant in color. You can see that this photo shows how pink they are. Japanese people get excited about the plum (ume) blossoms and cherry (sakura) blossoms. Families, friends and couples with pack a picnic basket of rice balls (onigiri), leftovers and beverages and drive, take the bus, bicycle or take the train to local parks that have blossom viewings. Kairakuen is said to be one of the most famous parks in Japan for plum blossom viewing. Here is a link showing how Kairakuen is extremely respected for plum viewing in Japan. http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2013.html
People literally flock their in crowds and get excited to look at the flowers which tells you that nature is important to the Japanese. Many Japanese stands will pop up selling ice cream, dessert cakes with red bean paste, fried squid steaks, ramune (Japanese soda) and of course beer. I remember seeing many Japanese people drinking excessive beer and their faces turning red. They were obviously having a great time! The funny side story that a Japanese person told me is how thousands of worms will come out to eat the flower leaves when they drop. I didn’t think about that!
Yep, that is me looking SUPER JAPANESE posing with Mito Komon.
The Mito Komon were people from the time of Tokugawa Mitsukine (grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Mitsukine was a powerful DAIMYO)
It is a festive occasion and if you ever get a chance to experience it you should, because it is a very Japanese thing to do. If you live in California or various parts around the United States, they actually celebrate the festival. Here is a link that will take you to celebrations in the United States. http://www.la.us.emb-japan.go.jp/e_web/2012_sakura.htm
“Japanese Plum (ume) Blossoms.” Japan-guide.com. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2013.html>.
“2012 Japan – U.S. Cherry Blossom Centennial.” Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://www.la.us.emb-japan.go.jp/e_web/2012_sakura.htm>.