Sitting at my dining room table quietly sipping yuzu cha – a traditional Korean tea made by mixing hot water with marmalade – it would seem like the world is calm. But, as we all know, this is the most chaotic period we have seen in a generation. As of today, there are over 1.4 million cases of coronavirus worldwide and 82,000 deaths. A third of the global population is in lockdown.
Here in Japan – just 24 hours ago – Prime Minister Abe officially declared a State of Emergency for Tokyo, as well as six other prefectures. Unfortunately, like every other country, we just have to wait and see how our numbers progress from here. But with shops and restaurants not being *forced* to close in Tokyo, it’s hard to imagine how the situation can substantially improve. I believe, further down the line, more stringent laws may be introduced if we can’t manage to flatten the curve. Saying that, our numbers are holding, and our official death count is relatively low at 81. So, truth be told, I really don’t know what to think about anything anymore.
Like I have said before, daily life continues in Tokyo. If I look outside my window now there are lots of people about and the sun is shining. This stands in stark contrast to the footage I watch every night from other countries around the world: cities filled with empty streets and scared faces. As a result, it’s both calming and unsettling to the see the same scenes I have become used to over the past eight years. But March in Tokyo is a beautiful month, and the blossoms continue to fall, despite the rising uncertainty. I hope these pics will give you a bit of a break from all that’s happening.
March saw the arrival of the cherry blossoms – Tokyo’s suburban streets filled with sakura trees.
Walking under a canopy of flowers…
I spotted this little guy. I had never seen a blossom quite like this before.
At this time of year, the streets are covered in petals. Generally speaking, if the petals fall outside your house, it is your responsibility to clean them up. That’s one of the main reasons Tokyo’s streets are so clean: residents take care of what is outside their house, not just inside.
A courier delivering mail in the Setagaya suburbs
We took a trip out to Kinuta Park which has hundreds of cherry blossom trees
Sun shining on the Nambu line train platform. On our way to…
Kami-shinjo, an old-school neighbourhood located in Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki. Never heard of it? Neither had I – that’s why going to random places is fun.
Old-school vibes in Kami-shinjo. I loved the weathered, yet colourful, signs of this area.
No garden? No problem.
A cheap sushi lunch, with miso soup and fried octopus (pretty much just calamari). This was about ¥1,700 (£12) altogether which was quite good.
Thai food! Unfortunately, Tokyo’s Thai restaurants are all pretty samey, though Mrs IKIMASHO’s pad thai was actually really good here. If you know of any really authentic places I’d love to hear your recommendations.
A temple looking pretty in the sun…
And the snow!
It snowed pretty heavily on 29 March which is very, very unusual for this time of year. In fact, it hardly ever snows in Tokyo at all.
It made everything look peaceful
Snowflakes and flowers
- The skies beginning to clear. Positive vibes to you all, wherever you are reading this from ❤
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Thank you for the beautiful blossom photographs. It is good to see nature delighting us as always while the world is in turmoil.
That two colored cherry blossom is the prettiest, so is the snow. I hope you will still be able to move around freely in Tokyo in the upcoming weeks. In Zurich almost everything is closed and almost everyone works from home, but we are allowed to go for walks, which helps a lot. Also, thanks for bringing tiny bits of Tokyo to my screen. I was just there in Mid-March, but had to go back earlier that planned due to all this COVID-19 mess and it did break my heart a little. So every piece of Tokyo/Japan content helps…
Hi Justin! Your old neighbour Ross from Greenmount here! Love your site and I hope you and your wife are staying safe. Congratulations on your marriage and all the best for the future. Would love to visit Japan one day, hopefully one day I will be able to when all this is over.
Lorraine: Thank you for following, I’m glad you liked the pics!
Ktinka: Hi there 🙂 Wow, you were here in March> Sounds like you got out just in time – hardly any flights are leaving now at all. A friend of mine was at Haneda today and virtually every flight was cancelled bar Seattle! It must have been tough to cut your trip short. Things are a bit weird here but hopefully they get a handle on the situation. Stay safe in Zurich. Actually, my dad’s side of the family is from near Basel!
Ross: Wow, Ross! Great to hear from you 🙂 How did you hear about my site? I clicked on your profile there and it says you do cyber security stuff now, that’s intense! It would be great to met you again in Tokyo when this all blows over. Please stay safe!
Hi Justin, I knew about your site from a while ago on facebook, but I’m now a loser and don’t have facebook or anything and hadn’t been on it in a while 🙂 Yeah I’ve been in IT for 10 years now and I just use that blog not very often to keep track of what I have been doing. I need to update it more. Do you have an email address I could email you on?
I appreciate this moment of calm. It’s good to see and hear about simple beauty in these times.
Thank you! I hope you are well 🙂