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Posts Tagged ‘Cherry Blossom’

First it was Cherry Blossoms and Sakura tea.  Then it was Ramen, Sake and Black Sesame ice cream.  I thought that was the end of it, at least until I went out for sushi sometime in the future.

But then I just happened  to come across a piece of vintage sheet music that struck me as a great gift for my sister-in-law, Juanita.  She’s a Japanophile, and rightly so since her son lives in Japan and she’s  visited that beautiful country many times, so when I saw this song sheet I knew it would make a wonderful birthday gift for her.

Today, May 14th, is her birthday and I made a plan with her to meet after work for a glass of wine and then dinner out.  When she arrived at our apartment we settled in with some wine, olives and cheese and crackers.  I gave her the present that Peter carefully wrapped in paper he knew she would like – it was a silver wrapping paper with the skyline of The City silhouetted on it.  This is what I gave her.

A Trip To Japan

A Trip To Japan

It is interesting, isn’t it?

But it didn’t end there….Tia came bearing gifts;  My birthday is next week and when she was in Japan recently, she picked up several only in Japan items.  Lucky me!  There was Plum Liquor, Sakura Sake, great notepaper to write to my granddaughters – the Japanese create amazing paper products.  She gave me a very unusual Starbucks gift, packets of coffee and within each packet are the makings of an origami cup.  And that’s not all!  I got a seriously cute pad that could only be made in Japan and the elusive Green Tea Kit Kat bars!  This was a delightful evening!

Green Tea Kit Kat! Who Knew??

Green Tea Kit Kat! Who Knew??

 

Anime pad

Anime pad

 

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Recently, I wrote how stressed I’ve been over a few things!  Tia, who is actually Juanita, my sister-in-law arranged a special fun day this past Saturday for both of us.  It was guaranteed to be fun and stress-free!  We were going to spend the day at Sakura Matsuri or Cherry Blossom Festival viewing the beautiful cherry trees, drinking Sakura tea, watching some Japanese flower arranging and maybe catch a Tea Ceremony.  I would be Juanita’s guest as she belongs to BAM (Brooklyn Art Museum) which is adjacent to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and where there are over 200 cherry trees of different varieties! She brewed some sakura tea which we enjoyed in a shady spot mid-afternoon.

Real China Cups

Real China Cups

And how did my sister-in-law come to be such a fan of the cherry trees?  Well, to begin with, she informed that she’s sure she was Japanese in another lifetime and one can’t really argue with that!  Her son, (my nephew by marriage) lives and works in Japan and is fluent in the language (I am so impressed with that)!  Juanita goes to Japan once a year to visit Justin and tries to time her visit to see the cherry blossoms. She came home this year with a beautiful kimono which she wore while we were at the Gardens.

Tia's Cherry Blossom and Butterfly Kimono

Tia’s Cherry Blossom and Butterfly Kimono

Viewing the cherry blossoms in Japan is an amazing experience;  In Japan this annual celebration is about appreciating the temporal beauty of nature.  Friends and families gather under the cherry trees for a picnic or hanami for food and drink, songs and to enjoy the beauty of the sakura (cherry blossoms).  Celebrations begin in the day and often last into the night.  The viewing of the trees begins the buds bursting into bloom and ends with the colorful pink and white carpet of petals on the ground.

Bursting to Bloom

Bursting to Bloom

Pink, Pink and Pink

Pink, Pink and Pink

Typical of the American way of life, I walked around the 42+acres of trees, seeing them, enjoying  them but never sitting still long enough to really, really appreciating their beauty, their delicate color… No we were off to see the flower arranging and the library and the vintage kimonos.  Well, actually in all honesty, we only had a couple of hours, it was hot and we saw as much as we could.

The Art of Japanese Flower Arrangements

The Art of Japanese Flower Arrangements

The Botanical Gardens are not only splendid with Cherry Blossoms, there are gorgeous Magnolia trees all around the Library.

Deep Pink Magnolias

Deep Pink Magnolias

Juanita suggested we return to Manhattan and board a bus to New Jersey where she would take me to a huge Japanese food market where we could have a late lunch and I would get to see a store full of exotic Japanese food products.  I love to go to ethnic markets, checking out items I never heard of and admiring the packaging and labeling.  I could have wandered around that store for hours.  We were ravenous and ordered A LOT; Most of it was gone by the time we decided to take a photo.

Ramen, Rice, Salmon and a Hard-Boiled Egg

Ramen, Rice, Salmon and a Hard-Boiled Egg

I had such a great time checking out the Saki, the Daikon, the various Teas and then best of all, it was time for sweets!  Tia bought a dish of Japanese soft ice cream in the exotic flavors of Black Sesame (which tasted like peanut butter), Matcha Green tea and Madagascar Vanilla.  If you are a follower of this blog, you know I was in bliss!  And then we had a big fat cream puff filled with Green Tea cream.  I brought home an Ichigo Daifuku for my husband who I had abandoned for the entire day.  This Japanese delicacy is a strawberry wrapped in red bean paste and mochi and he loved it.  I hate to admit this but at the check-out counter where impulse purchases are the same in every market, we bought yeast cakes, one filled with cream and one with red bean paste.  I thought I would not eat another morsel when I got home but sometime around 8:00pm I heard the yeast cake calling my name! 

Ichigo Daifuku

Ichigo Daifuku

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