Monday, May 03, 2010

Hello Japan! mini-challenge: April link round-up

Hello Japan!

Thanks to everyone who took part in the Hello Japan! mini-challenge last month. April's Hello Japan! task was to celebrate spring, in particular the much-beloved sakura, and I think we had a nice variety of posts, from books to art to sweets. If you haven't yet please visit the links below, they'll surely put you in a spring-like mood!

Harvee of Book Dilettante reviewed The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata in which cherry blossom viewing plays a role in the story.

Tony of Tony's Reading List reviewed Hokkaido Highway Blues by Will Ferguson (also known as Hitching Rides with Buddha). A travel memoir of one ex-pat Canadian hitchhiking his way across Japan to follow the cherry blossom front as it moved north.

Teresa's son recently moved to Japan and she shared some photos of the sakura in his neighborhood. (Scroll down to read her full comment).

gnoegnoe of Graasland had a hanami party in the Amsterdam Woods. Such pretty blossoms and yummy looking food! Gnoe also posted photos of her sakura collection from chopsticks to ice cube molds and many others lovely things.

Novroz of Novroz' Favorite Things highlighted some beautiful sakura art from the site, Deviantart.

Velvet of vvB32 Reads, in her ode to all things sakura, showcased some sakura art found on etsy, and in other places, along with some sakura haiku.

Sakura of chasing bawa tells the story of her name, and shares a special spring treat, sakura mochi. Sakura also showcased the blog, she who eats, which has some wonderful photos of sakura sweets to tempt you.

Linda P shared with us a poem from the book Geisha by Liza Dalby. In the chapter she explains the meaning of sakura and describes Sukurako a young Shimbashi geisha who entered the profession in the spring of 1975.

Sakura, sakura,
When is it that people
Gad about under the cherry?
From the end of March
To the middle of April,
it's nothing but
Bloomin' blooms of

(Scroll down to read the rest of her comment).

Claire of Paperback Reader stopped by Selfridges department store for their special celebration of all things Japanese last month and came away with some Japanese-inspired confectionary. Cherry blossom cupcake, anyone?

As for me, I had a sakura-flavoured bagel during the read-a-thon, and posted a couple of photos of a weeping cherry tree.  And I have a couple of other photos to share with you soon that I didn't get around to posting last month.  The sakura blossoms may be gone in real life but it's never too late, right?

sakura tea

April's Prize was this set of sakura tea, which includes two tea bags each of sakura green tea, sakura black tea, and sakura hojicha (a type of roasted green tea). Everyone who submitted a post or comment, and was mentioned above (except for me), was eligible for the prize.  The names were input into, and the winner of the tea is ... gnoegnoe! Congrats! I hope you enjoy the tea.

Stay tuned, the May mini-challenge will be up soon. So sorry for the delay.

The small print:  Links in this post to Amazon contain my Associates ID.  Purchases made via these links earn me a very small commission.  For more information visit my About Page.


  1. Yay, so cool! I'm a real tea grrl but have never had any sakura before! :) But I might not even get to drinking it because it looks so beautiful as it is...

  2. Congratulations gnoe gnoe!

    I have been snapping pictures of sakura everywhere in the UK (my office in South England, in Belfast) since Tanabata post the challenge. But I didn't get around to share it. :(

    oh well!
    Spring is here,
    May has come,
    so far this year what have I done?

    (short poems) :p


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