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