Spring in Japan- day 2


Woke this morning an hour or so before sunrise and already it was clear that it was going to be a lovely sunny warm day, so we decided to get out at dawn in the hope of getting a few snaps before the rush hour crowds swept through the streets of Osaka.

The blossom forecast on Japanese tv (yes they really do have that) announced that blossoms were now in full bloom in and around Osaka so the carefully made plans for today were completely trashed in favour of a visit to a local park, followed by a long walk around Namba on the look out for cherry and Apple trees!

At the local park we found that it was true…

Even in the low light, with an early morning haze hanging over the city the trees looked amazing.

After a while, with it still quite early, we decided to head over to the Castle Park to see if the trees there were the same.

We arrived around 7am to find the park quiet apart from some keen photographers, dog walkers, joggers and around 50 Japanese military personal with armoured vehicles and machine guns!

The castle park looked amazing as I ran around grabbing shot after shot of the blossoms. I had to remind myself to put down the camera every once in a while otherwise I wouldn’t have had any images from my phone to use in the blog!

The camera phone didn’t really do justice to the range of colours so im looking forward to sharing some of my camera images with you all on Facebook and Instagram when I get back!

After an hour or so of wandering around snapping away it was obvious that the news about the blossoms had filtered through as bus loads of people began to turn up, with people literally running into the park to pose with and photograph the blossoms in full bloom before the rest of the crowds turned up!

Ive tried all day to come up with a similar event in the UK where people just get out and celebrate nature in such numbers and with such obvious passion and enjoyment and I can honestly say I can’t think of a single example. It seems to be an uniquely Japanese thing and its something I feel very lucky to be a part of right now.

Business men in suits on route to work were stopping to photograph trees they probably walked past every morning for months without looking up; from the youngest to the oldest everyone seemed caught up in the excitement of it all and it was infectious! I was running around with the rest of them snapping away, taking close ups, “arty” shots, etc. With no regard to composition or the usual care taken when I’m out photographing normally.

I really need to get some good quality images on this trip that I can add to the upcoming exhibition and also to illustrate an article I’ve written for a popular photography magazine, so i kinda need to have some good quality black and white images soon but the riot of colour and the excitement of realizing that despite all the things that could have gone wrong in the last 195 days of preparing this trip, we’d managed to arrive the day before the blossoms bloomed took over and I was swept up with the crowd and snapping at everything and anything that looked like blossom!

After a walk around the Castle and in the middle of a large and growing crowd of people we decided to call it a day and head back to the city centre for some breakfast and to take care of the planned admin for the day.

It was still only 10am as we queued for our rail passes the set off to track down some food.

This afternoon was spent in the Umeda area doing some early gift shopping before calling it a day and heading back to Namba for food, a well earned beer and then the walk back to our appartment.

Tomorrow is a trip to Arashiyama on the outskirts of Kyoto. I didnt visit this location last year so im looking forward to the trip. Bamboo groves, temples, gardens, monkey’s and hopefully lots of blossom. I just hope I can show a little more control around the blossoms!

Oh, and the heavily armed soldiers? No idea what was going on. Last I saw them they were preparing to abseil over the side of the huge walls that overlook the moat which surrounds the Castle. Not to be outdone by the civilians, the military had a photographer with a drone recording whatever they were up to.. it may have been my imagination but im convinced the drone spent more time sweeping over the blossoms and hovering above the trees than it did recording the soldiers. Even the military, it seems, gets caught up in the moment sometimes! 🙂

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