Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring in the Countryside...Sayonara

7 Days...
We had reservations on a 1:00 train from Tokyo to Hinoharu in Yamanashi Prefecture, but for the first time in memory, I arrived at Shinjuku Station to find the train had been cancelled because of heavy snow along the line. However, we were lucky in catching another train shortly after 1:00 that was not influenced by the snow, so got to Yamanashi with little delay. Such heavy snowfall this late in April is not common in Tokyo, or other parts of the Kanto area, so waking to find snow on rooftops and ground was a surprise, and not a happy one.

For the full hour and a half of the train ride sun blazed down on the passing scenery, and anyone would have mistaken it for a summer afternoon. As the train moved beyond Tokyo, the flowering trees -- cherry, plum and peach began to color the mountain slopes and the orchards spaced here and there along the track. Of course, following the treasured custom of long distance train travel in Japan, we enjoyed eating and drinking tea as we gazed upon the splendor of those blossoming trees sliding past outside our window.

Arriving in Hinoharu, we found Mieko-san waiting for us at the station. Rather than driving straight back to the house we took a long roundabout way, stopping to see the cherry trees at Sane Hara, all of them at the height of bloom. The two attached photographs are views at Sane Hara.
We reached the house sometime after five o'clock to find Jiro working with his honeybees. This is his first year to keep bees, and he is expecting the bees to produce honey in the neighborhood of ten kilos. One of my hopes is that tomorrow I will be able to get a look at Jiro's bees.

I am warm here seated not far from the woodburning stove, but it's time now to see if I can post these words on the blog using Jiro's computer. More tomorrow... 

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America