Sunday, April 05, 2009

Cherry Blossoms...

...or "Livvy Petals" as J called them which I think is very cute.

49th Annual Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival

I was to meet up with the World Culture group in front of the Natural History museum before 10am, and having had a long week, Jeff would join us at noon.  I set my alarm for 7.15am, but didn't notice it was my Monday-Friday alarm, so woke up sometime after 8 and wasn't downtown until at least 10.30.  I caught most of the parade, but I didn't have a great vantage point, most of them already being taken.  I really don't need to go to another for a very long time, but I enjoyed the marching bands.

J arrived at noon and we tried to fight the crowds at the food stalls, but there were too many people and in my opinion not enough food stalls, so we ditched the festival and took the metro down to the Daily Grill where we ate in civilized fashion.  So - no martial arts shows, no taiko drums, no dancing geisha.  Sorry!

We cabbed it back to the Tidal Basin area and spent the next few hours wandering through cherry blossoms and dodging pointed cameras.  

It was an extremely windy day and everyone had wild hair.  The wind was chilly but in the pauses the sun was hot.  We were disappointed that the wind prevented the paddle boats from going on the water, but another time perhaps...

When we got to the Jefferson Memorial we sat on the steps and watched Indian dancers on the stage opposite.  When they were done, a band from Gibraltar spent about a half hour setting up while Led Zeppelin played over the speakers to keep us distracted.  The Gibraltans played very foot-tapping Spanish-style numbers but we couldn't stay much longer as the sun was getting low and it was time to keep moving.

On the way out of the area, we walked through the endless  FDR memorial, which is made of granite and is full of waterfalls, fountains, engraved bronze surfaces, and rough-hewn blocks of juxtaposed pink granite.  We also discovered across a random lawn a small memorial to those District of Columbians who gave their lives in the Great War.

And then on the way to the metro we took a small detour so I could see the more famous side of the White House (since in January I only got the back, and lots of ice) with the bonus addition of cherry blossoms.

Nearby is the Department of the Treasury, with a statue of Alexander Hamilton:

We went up to Bethesda for some good sushi, sake, gyoza, and green tea.  Halfway through dinner, I got a text from Diva saying they were nearly ready for our webcam session, so J stepped up the pace saying, "We have to go, because you have a show".  It had been Nags' surprise 40th birthday party, so Amy and Pandy were there too.  The connection was worse than last time, so we gave up after a valiant effort, but it was lovely to see everyone and say hi and have them "meet" Jeff.


Selba said...

I really like the pic of you two under the sakura flowers... so lovely!

Life for Beginners said...

Beautiful. I can't wait to head to Japan next year for a chance to see these cherry blossoms first hand myself! :)

The Moody Minstrel said...

Having never been to D.C. myself, the more I see your pics the more I'm awed by the scale of everything. It all seems bigger than I'd imagined it.

I especially love the scenes of the cherry blossoms along the Potomac, but after having lived in Japan for two decades it seems bizarre to have sakura and American icons in the same picture.

As for us here, we were worried that the sakura at Ye Olde Academy wouldn't be blooming in time for the start of the new school year because of the weird weather, but they didn't let us down. We brought in the new students today under a lovely canopy of pale pink and white.

Sounds like you had a lovely day (in more ways than one). Better luck with the webcam next time!

Flighty said...

Blossom, blue sky and big smiles! What more could you want! xx

michelle G said...

loved the pictures

Olivia said...

Selby - I don't know how I've lived without sakura blossoms!


Life for Beginners - welcome. I saw your question about the white flowers in my last post. I don't really know, but my landlady says they too are cherry blossoms.


Minstrel - it is bigger than you think. The National Mall is a vast tract of land, as is the Ellipse and then the surrounding parks along with the water. I think it is second only to NYC in its use of city land for park space.

It must have been a pleasant experience for the new students to be welcomed by the blossoms. Atmosphere is everything when it comes to a decent welcome.


Flighty - not much, really xx


Mich - glad you appreciate them :)

steve on the slow train said...

"We also discovered across a random lawn a small memorial to those District of Columbians who gave their lives in the Great War."

It's a very handsome memorial. I appreciate your use of the term "Great War" instead of "World War I."

It may have been windy and chilly out there, but at least you didn't get the April snowstorm we got in northern Indiana. Both of you look great out by the Potomac, even if you were a tad chilly.

Anonymous said...

Well, you are all blossomy and happy looking, Liv. Fantastic shots of the monuments with spring all around.

Olivia said...

Steve - I thought someone would like that sentence. I like to call it the Great War, but then I'm quaint.


Nikki - I am a spring baby born for spring things I guess!

beginninghere said...

DC seems to be a good fit for you. At least, you always have something interesting to photograph! Love the cherry blossoms. Brings back memories. Love to see you and J looking well :)

Olivia said...

BH - I took good photos in NYC also, but as you say, DC living is a better fit for me. It's so much more personal and pleasing here.


Watch out, the boy is plucking up courage to leave a comment on here sometime...

Olivia said...

P.S. Do you and Nikki use the same computer at home? So often you comment after each other!

Pandabonium said...

Beautiful pics. Those trees are so full of blossoms. Nice picture of you two and of yourself under the boughs. Looks like ideal weather too.

We enjoyed sakura on Saturday at Katori Jingu shrine.

MattJ said...

As always, everyone esle has missed the salient points of your post.

How was the Sushi? :D

and on a related note - best sushi places you went to whilst you lived in the civilised world?

Actually, that doesn't work. London is more of a scrum than a civilisation. Still, any good sushi in and around London? :p

I do actually know a little about the cherry blossom and its use as a metaphor, but thats entirely too depressing for such a cheery post.

back to the sushi! gimme! :p

The Moody Minstrel said...

MattJ, why don't you just visit Japan sometime? Lots of cherry blossoms and even more sushi!

(Scrum...I'll have to remember that one.)

Olivia said...

Pandabonium - thank you. I like the Potomac. Are you going to post pics of your sakura sightings?


Matt - because you and I always like to disagree, I was going to say that DC is more civilised than London, but then you changed your mind so I'm kind of stuck now. :)

Anyway, best sushi in London - my fave haunts:

For creative designer sushi go to Yauatcha on Berwick St Soho. I corrupted every London visitor at that establishment - their teahouse and dessert counter are like a piece of heaven.

If you want perfect and pleasing but rather costly sushi, Pan-Asian fare and awesome cocktails while you try to spot one of the young Royals, go to Cocoon on Air St off Piccadilly. I had my 30th birthday there and highly recommend the softshell crab.

For really good decent sushi at reasonable prices, go to Ikkyu on Gerrard St in Chinatown. I've been there a couple of times with friends.

There was a little basement restaurant however, out of all of these, that made me the happiest: Ichi-Riki on Strutton Ground, SW1 - a little hole in the wall on a cobbled street that is a marketplace in the daytime. I always left there with the happiest tummy. Their takoyaki is to die for. And being so out of the way, they are extremely affordable. I used to eat there as often as I could when I was working at the Arts Council, the staff are adorable and one day when I'd left my wallet at home they trusted me enough to let me pay them later on in the day.

Olivia said...

P.S. And Yo! Sushi is rubbish, to put it mildly.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! The blossoms are amazing. I certainly hope they look that way, when they have the cherry blossom festival here. :)

Jeff look like the type of man, who knows about the effects of tulips on women. He seems very nice. Bravo Olivia!

I almost can't believe you are in Washington now. Everything has happened so fast. Do you sometimes miss being in New York?

Olivia said...

Miss Fluff - they're not out yet at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens?
This week is the end of the peak here.

Omigosh. Everything Jeff does is like tulips all over again, so I am wondering if I made him up or if he is actually real...?


This move to Washington did happen quickly. Every now and then I stop and think, "Wow, I used to live in NYC." But it's like a faraway memory already and I don't miss it. This town was made for me, and look at what's happened since I arrived.

Serendipity is awesome.

nikkipolani said...

No, we're not on the same 'puter, Liv. But it's amazing how we wind up visiting the same friends about the same time....

Christopher said...

Awww how fun! The pics of you and the boy are adorable!!

Anonymous said...

Cherry blossoms are my favorite thing about spring. Lovely photos! Cute couple!

Olivia said...

Kissy - thanks :) Did you see Miss Fluff on her comments said I should post more pics of us? Hehe!


Jess - I know, i keep wondering how I ever managed without them!!!
And, thank you :)

Anonymous said...

hey there, artie, last time i said hello you were in London ... what's new??? I get the impression that a lot has happened to you which is great. Take care, Kirsten

Olivia said...

Crazykites/Kirsten - I just visited your blog and it turns out you were sonrisa on 20six. I barely remember those days, but thank you for coming by and still linking to me.

Yes, a lot has happened. I left London in May 2008, spent a few months in NYC just as a stepping stone to my ultimate goal of Washington, and since I arrived here everything has been wonderful and I thank God every day for it.

michelle G said...

libs, hope you have a great easter, looking forward to more adventures

Nabeel said...

lovely photos Olivia, I love your scarf!

Ophelia Mourne said...

great photos!
ahhh I love the Sakura

Glo said...

Happy Birthday, Liv :)

CafeMark said...

Beautiful pictures as always! Starting to envy your blue skies now - the rainy season appears to have started in England. Ah well, we'll probably have sunshine again in December. Regards, Mark

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