Posts Tagged “sakura”

MSP Mob at the Matsuno MarathonThis Sunday I walked in the Matsuno Tougenkyou Marathon, which translates to something like “Matsuno’s Fairytale Garden Marathon,” so named because the route took us through lots of blooming cherry blossoms. I only did the 10k instead of the half marathon (20k) on offer, but I felt like I could have kept going for at least another 5k.

I walked most of it because my knee doesn’t let me do much running. On the day though, I took 800mg of Ibuprofen and felt good enough to run on some of the downhill sections. As Rick sagely pointed out before the race, everyone gets caught up in the moment, no mater what your intentions.

I was a little worried about going over the time limit because I was only walking while everyone else would be running. On the day though, I actually saw people walking the half marathon, and a couple of the ladies from our own MSP Mob even stopped a couple times to take pictures.

If I do it again next year I’ll have to get some better shoes, because my old clunkers (~6 years old) really left my feet sore the next day.

Even still, I ended up finishing at one hour and fifteen minutes; fast enough to not be last, and slow enough to have enjoyed the scenery. 😉

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It’s spring in Japan, and that means enjoying the cherry blossoms (花見 – hanami). You’ve probably heard the Japanese word for cherry blossoms before; it’s Sakura (桜), and it’s also used as a girl’s name here. These trees are all over the country, and the small flowers that cover the trees make them look like little clouds on dark knurled columns.

Without the flowers, the trees aren’t very attractive. They have sort of a dark mottled bark, and when the flowers bloom, the contrast is surprising, to say the least. There’s a lot of variance in flower color, too- everything from deep red to pure white, though light pink seems to be the most common here in Matsuyama.

On Sunday, I went to Dogo Park, and it was an absolute madhouse. I think it was a national holiday weekend of some sort, and half of Matsuyama’s residents were in the park. Every reasonably flat surface was covered with blue tarps and roll-up mats where people were enjoying the beautiful day. There was a general festival atmosphere, with booths set up along the main footpaths selling everything from cheap plastic toys to cooked food to “fresh” charcoal.

People were playing games in open spaces, and it was really neat to see all the families and friends just out having a good time. It’s days like this that make me appreciate the Japanese sense of family. However, it’s also days like this that make me wonder if maybe some people might be happier if they weren’t in the thick of the throngs all doing the same things at the same time, if they considered breaking from the pack.

As I mentioned, hanami is a popular pastime, and people often bring their whole family or group of friends to the park to grill meat over small barbecues. The first picture shows some of my friends out at Dogo Park enjoying the day. The rest are from trips to Matsuyama Castle and Matsuyama “General” Park.

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