Oh, april. How I’ve longed for you. And how long you’ve lasted! In March I whined about how I didn’t really know what to do with myself and the blog as I felt like I lost that so-called sparkle. In April I decided to get over it and the silliness I get from ‘running’ a blog for years that’s become really personal and fun to be taken too seriously. I’ve decided that I am going to have a lot of fun again on here. And I’m resolving to create more time for me to do so, as I feel like I miss the blogging community.

On that note: I changed the blog’s layout! I’m head over heels with the new look. I’ve always leaned more towards the minimalist and sleek look on the blog, but I’ve decided to lose that for a bit. It’s time for the feels and the fun. So a little more of a romantic touch wouldn’t hurt. I’m still debating about the header (as I always am), but the foundation is solid and I love it.

Apart from blogging, a lot has actually happened in April offline. So let’s get cracking with that monthly recap, shall we?

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Hiya! Another month is gone. Jeez, 2017 is rolling by expeditiously. March already done!! I can’t believe it, spring is here! How wonderful!

So, it’s that time again when I make another attempt to round up a month and bid it farewell. And I can assure you, this March I really tried to round up this month as a whole — instead of just highlighting some parts that “I could remember”. Yeah, great blogging Louise… ANYWAY, let’s go!

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tokoname festival

Okay! I arrived in Tokyo today, to have my final week of my trip. So what better to get back to the events of early April to Mid-April: enjoying the countryside of Aichi Pref.! This time more about the fun stuff I got around to do when I wasn’t doing any volunteer-work.

I was pretty happy to hear that the family at which I stayed offered me their bicycle for my own use. So whenever I felt like exploring or going to the post office I could just go. Riding a bicycle in Japanese countryside though, it feels right out of any anime I used to watch when I was a kid. Then I was also lucky enough to be right around festival season. Every spring there is this sort of festival with huuuuge, high carts made of wood and loads of pretty fabric. And although I still don’t quite know what this festival is called – or what exactly it is for (my hosts were just about as good at English as I was at Japanese…it didn’t work so much haha). But it was so nice, as my host family took me to Tokoname on the weekend, and later in the week we went on foot to the festival in our own town.

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sakura midtown roppongi

I decided to just start from the beginning. I mean, there’s already so much going on… but before I am forgetting my sentiments and feelings. Here’s the start of my trip, well you know… the weekend after my arrival in Japan at the beginning of April. In on of my previous posts I talk about arriving in Japan, and about seeing sakura. But I actually had a whole weekend in Tokyo before heading of to Aichi Pref. and the rest of my travels. So let’s get on with it already!! I could have probably fit this weekend in a few separate posts, but hey… let’s just make it a photo-heavy one.

Whatever you say, Tokyo will stay one of my favourite places in the world. Sure, I am really at home in the Kichijoji and Mitaka area. But I really love the crazy bits of districts like Shibuya, Shinjuku and Akihabara too! This weekend I’ve been mostly exploring Omotesando and Roppongi with my friend Fumi or just chilling out with my Tokyo-family in various places…

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Oh my dear reader, one of the reasons I am in Japan now is actually solely because of the cherry blossom. I figured that if I were to go to Japan for 3 months, I might as well see the sakura phenomenon the country is so famous about. I say phenomenon as yes, it’s not just a bunch of trees. Sakura, or the viewing of it (hanami), is a big deal here. The fleeting moment that sakura covers Japan is usually around the start of April. The start of April also is when the new schoolyear/workyear/whatever-you-call-it-start-of-the-year begins. Nearly every school has cherry-blossom/sakura on its grounds. It seems that the Japanese have many, many memories with sakura.

The ‘mere’ life of the cherry blossom symbolises new beginnings, the fleeting moments of life, but also hope.

I figured this out through a couple of my Japanese friends, I loved to discover that somehow the sakura is in the collective memory of all these individuals. That it will always signify something sentimental to them, and most probably not the same to anyone, but similar feelings or sentiments will arise within all those people when the sakura-season starts.

And then there’s the big hanami phenomenon where people storm the parks and go for a picnic and have a little party beneath the trees. That I think it’s truly wonderful and something I aspire to make a tradition of myself.

I absolutely love this cultural phenomenon. For me, the sakura will also signify a new start. Hopeful as I may be, I would like to think this trip to be the start of something wonderful.

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