Spring Is Here, as I Emerge from My Hibernation

Careful readers may have noticed that it’s been quite a while since my last post, and I do apologize for the long gap — the busy season has finally calmed down a bit, providing me with a moment to once again say hello to the world. I am, in fact, still alive.

Appropriately enough, this week has also been the start of spring proper, at least based on how it’s been outside. The weekend reached sunny highs somewhere around 25°C/77°F, and it wouldn’t be spring in Japan without the cherry blossoms, which are likewise in full bloom right now, as every single person living in Japan (including the foreigners, or perhaps especially the foreigners) steps outside to spend hours taking photos of the cherry blossoms, which will no doubt bring constant joy to them throughout the rest of the year.

This year, my wonderful wife has been particularly adamant about how we should do some “proper hanami” (cherry-blossom-viewing), though she also jokes about just carrying around a little 180 ml jar of sake or a beer, finding a cherry blossom tree in bloom somewhere, and just shouting “HANAMI” and having a drink while standing underneath it. The main problem with this plan is obvious: it is also vitally important to have a snack with you.

In any case, we made a point of enjoying the blossoms this weekend along with the lovely weather, and didn’t worry too terribly much about finding an ambitious destination — as anyone who has lived in Japan for any length of time can tell you, cherry blossom trees clearly grow naturally along every riverbank in Japan. ; )

The guy sitting on the bench next to us thought it was from Kikumasamune, instead of Sakuramasamune

Ultimately, we decided to do some local blossom-enjoying with a bit more formality, bringing some little ochoko cups along with us. I do want to draw attention to the label on this sake, though: in addition to being fairly tasty stuff (nicely sweet and tart), it has what might be my favorite bit of logo graphic design I’ve ever seen. Both my wife and I initially saw the “さくら” on the label as just elaborately written text, and it took a moment to realize that they formed a face and the brim of a hat. I’ve long been a big fan of clever graphic design (I absolutely love the little feet on the Takkyubin wordmark, for instance), so when we saw that at the store, well, we knew we had to pick up a bottle, just to reward the brewery for their work.

I hope you’re all having a lovely spring, too!

Hello! I’m Greg, an American who has lived in Japan since 2008. I have a tremendous fondness for both reading and writing, which helps out quite a bit in my work as a translator: after all, at its core, the job is built on writing. I’ve always been fascinated with languages, and how they can differ in how they treat even seemingly basic, fundamental things. In particular, there are many common Japanese words that have no good English equivalent, so finding a good way to translate them can be a really interesting challenge.

 

My other hobbies include cooking (Serious Eats is one of my favorite websites, and I cook dinner from scratch nearly every evening), playing games with friends (both tabletop and video games), calligraphy (both English and Japanese, filling an A6 page with some sort of calligraphy practice every day for the past few years), photography, and a long-held interest in computers (as a teenager, I installed operating systems recreationally).

 

I also drink too much oolong tea.