These photos date from the peak of cherry blossom viewing here in Fukushima City, so you can tell they are a few weeks old.   Close your eyes, and imagine the cherry blossoms swirling around you, laughter in the air, and the warm sunshine on your face.

Okay, that was our day at Mt. Shinobu.

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We walked there, which was a good thing.  It was crowded, and I know that parking was terrible.   Notice the grass.  That is brand new.  It was not there last year.  Why did they replace the dirt and grass?  Well, some people might say that it is just to spiffy up the park, but we all know it’s to help eliminate some of the radiation in the soil so it is safe to relax on the grounds.

 

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The blue mats have nothing to do with radiation.  Japanese people ALWAYS sit on mats during “hanami.”  Japanese people will pretty much never ever sit their butts down directly onto soil.   They need a mat or chair.  Notice in the next photo, there are two people squatting.  They won’t sit in Japan.  They squat.

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Hanami season on Mt. Shinobu is a party atmosphere!  The rather low mountain is located in downtown Fukushima City–near my house.  Lucky Lucky

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There’s a temple?  shrine?  I’m sorry, I always get them confused.   Temples are Buddhist.  Shrines are Shinto.

I think it is a shrine because it has a torii (gate) and those are only in shrines.  Plus it is on a mountain side, which seems to me to be pretty Shinto-y.

(This is a nicely illustrated site on the differences.  I don’t quite get it though, because it says that charms are only at shrines, but I’m pretty sure I have seen charms at temples.  I’d love to know if my readers can tell the difference between shrines and temples, or if you pay attention to that sort of thing!   I myself often don’t really pay attention–since I am neither Shinto nor Buddhist.  I am going to start paying more attention.)

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Shaka Shaka French Fries.

From right:  barbecue, butter chicken curry, butter soy sauce, plum something?, garlic, corn soup, basil, basil tomato, chili, yuzu pepper

 

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cotton candy in bags

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While my son was relaxing, I strolled up onto the mountain, away from the partyers.  Still not high high up on the mountain, but high enough for my little legs.  The map is of the area.

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Cemetary.  I read that cemetaries are often on the sides of mountains and hills out of respect.

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Right next to the cemetary, there was a shop (company?)  that makes and sells headstones, plus also statues.  So they had some statues on display:

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Of course we’ll fit in your suitcase. No problem.

 

Oh, I need these.  Grandma and Grandpa, I got your Christmas present!

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I’m not a mythological creature…I’m real!

 

Kappa.  I think kappa are so cool.  Doesn’t everybody think kappa are cool?  I mean, you don’t have to be a Japan lover to recognize the inherent coolness of mythological creatures.