Here in Japan the flower viewing season is already in full swing despite the fact that there is still snow on the ground in some areas and the average daily high hovers near 50F. This little plant is the first of the season so far and is called "zazen-so" for it's resemblance to a monk sitting in meditation. The little "hut" is a beautiful red plum colour and the little golden monk sits inside shedding pollen like a mad man. The viewing of various flowers is a long standing tradition in Japan with the most famous and the most attended being the arrival of the cherry blossoms ... second only to the turning of the maple leaves in the fall. In a few weeks the cherry blossoms will arrive and the transformation is nothing short of astounding. I will head out to Hirosaki Castle for a Cherry Blossom Viewing Party with my friends ... pictures to follow. It is such a huge deal here that the head of the Japanese Meteorological Society made a public appearance this year to very publicly bow and apologize for his inaccuracy in predicting the cherry blossoms arrival this spring. Sounds silly I know but every corporation/company/office/social group/family will have a party and prime areas are booked in advance for optimum viewing. This is big business here so his mistake was not looked upon lightly.
Next on the viewing agenda is the skunk cabbages. They reach their peak on the first day of cherry blossom viewing. We will head up into the Hakkoda mountains and spend the day among them. Then down into the valley for a small cherry blossom party that evening to start things off for the 3 days of prime viewing.
On the needles I am just about to finish up a shawl that I am knitting for myself out of Berroco Ultra Alpaca in a beautiful mossy green. My only complaint with this very soft yarn is that it seems a bit hairy. I have hope that it will wash up nicely and I will put a picture of it up next week. I am also still knitting red wool socks for the Daughter for her rowing adventure. An endless task that is really starting to put me off of socks ... and so I am starting a pretty pair of socks for a friend of mine for her birthday ... no pictures till the birthday girl gets them as she is one of the few who reads this post. But I am hoping this will re-inspire me to do more socks. Maybe if I could just get away from reds .... hmmm.
And as winter has yet to leave us completely:
Making tea for you
The plum tree in the garden
Holds blossoms of snow.