Friday, May 01, 2015

Tea and Sakura

Today’s coffee: 春色ブレンド (Spring-colored blend)

Hooray, we made it in time to Hakodate for cherry blossoms! And we got to spend our day off last Monday enjoying Sapporo cherry blossoms! All this with perfect picnic weather and friends to enjoy the flowers with us. I think this makes up for missing hanami (flower viewing) season two years in a row.

Picnic with Takahashi's at Moerenuma park

There has also been lots of tea this week—Wednesday was a holiday, so our tea ceremony teacher’s students gathered and held an お茶会 (ochakai—tea gathering). Keith, Noriko and I each had a chance to do the host’s role and the assistant’s role. I’m now fairly comfortable with the basics of the host’s role and the guest’s role, but I’m still a little fuzzy on the assistant role. I’ll need to practice some more. We also had hanami picnic tea with friends both Monday and Thursday. Yay, picnic!

The ochakai last week was the first of many goodbye gatherings for us. (And so it begins…) Hakodate hanami was on the bucket list of things to do before we go “home” to Seattle. Also while we were in Hakodate, I had the first of the “waking up in the middle of the night because I forgot to do something” moments. I’m sure there will be plenty of those in the next two months… yes, there are only 2 months left of our first term. Yikes. So much to do—both the “have to do” things and the “things I will regret if I don’t get to them.” Do we really have to repeat this once every five years?

I’m thankful that the cherry trees are blooming now at the beginning of this busy time—and I’m especially thankful for the two days we got to spend with friends. And “Golden Week” public holidays next week mean a lighter schedule at church and more time to putter around the house and get things done. I’m thankful that we’re going to start these last two months from a place of rest, having spent some time enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I think the effects will last a while.

I promised pictures last week, so here are a few favorites. I’ve posted more here, and I’ll probably add others over the next several days.

Historical church in Hakodate
At Matsumae Castle park... with different Takahashi's.

Matsumae Castle--the only castle in Hokkaido
We found these fox cubs on a hike up Mt. Hakodate. So cute. Mom, can I keep them?
Cherry trees by the Goryokaku fortress moat
I didn't have any pics of our ochakai, but these flowers were among the decorations.
These flowers too.
The city of Hakodate, from the mountaintop. That's the Pacific ocean on both sides.

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