Late Afternoon Plum Blossoms
Trip Start Aug 15, 2010
25Trip End Ongoing
I hope no one has taken the lack of updates over the last couple of days as a sign that things have gotten worse. I usually operate on the "no news is good news" principle, but one can hardly cleave to that in a time of earthquakes and nuclear crisis, so I thought I'd let you know that everything is fine. Grocery store shelves are starting to look normal again (in this part of Japan, at any rate) and yesterday, word was that radiation levels around the Fukushima plant had gone down a bit, which is encouraging.
When I turned on the news this morning, they'd just announced another earthquake up north, but I didn't feel it at all. The last ones I felt were Thursday evening, when there were two, about half an hour apart, the same as there had been the night before, and the night before that
Things have been wearing on her nerves, though; Thursday night, she actually jumped out of my lap when the second earthquake started. It wasn't all that strong (a 3 in Tokyo, according to the news) but it did make my bookcase rattle, and Tabitha didn't like it. I held her a bit to soothe her, and once again was reminded that the best way to calm oneself down is to have someone else to worry about and comfort.
At that moment on NHK, they were doing a phone interview with the mayor of a town near the nuclear reactors. The mayor was in the middle of saying something when the words "There is currently an earthquake taking place" started flashing at the top of the screen and the earth started shaking. The newscaster waited for the mayor to finish his sentence, then politely said, "I'm very sorry, but there's an earthquake happening right now, so I must transmit that information at this moment."
Once the earth had settled down and the newscaster had finished listing the affected regions and how hard the quake had been felt in each of them, as well as repeating that there was no danger of a tsunami, she went right back to interviewing the mayor.
Yesterday was a beautiful day, and I took a walk along a little river that runs through Mitaka, the Senkawa. I left home at four o'clock, just as the sun was starting to go down, and the air was warm and just a little hazy
The main motive for my walk was to take pictures of the last few plum blossoms. Last weekend I meant to make my yearly pilgrimage out to Ome, but the earthquake derailed those plans, and I didn't want my excursion to Mogusaen a couple of weeks ago (I'll be posting about that within a few days) to be my only plum blossom viewing of the year. For those just joining me now, know that plum blossoms are one of the things I love most about Japan.
The first cherry blossoms, sakura, are also out, but they're not important right now, though they are lovely.
This is my fifth spring in Japan. My first spring, I took lots of pictures of plum blossoms with my little point-and-click camera. The second spring, I had a fancy new DSLR with many more focusing options. The third spring, I took to photographing plum blossoms against the sunlight. Last year, I had a new zoom lens, so I took a million zoom shots of plum blossoms with sunlight shining through them. This year, I've added a very wide aperture to my arsenal in the quest for the perfect picture of plum blossoms.
But really, plum blossoms are always beautiful to me, and they smell like nothing else on earth. I still can't think of a better way to describe their scent as what I came up with five years ago: surprisingly fruity and achingly sweet.