Cherry Blossoms and beautiful Mejiro birds at the Shinjuku Gyoen

Kawazu zakura (河津桜) is the early variety of the cherry blossoms characterized by the deep pink colored flowers. They bloom at roughly the same time of the Plum blossoms two to three weeks earlier than the regular Cherry blossom season. Last year in the second week of March, I went to Shinjuku Gyoen to see the blossoms and I had some interesting experience.
PINK BLOSSOMSThe park on a weekday was pretty silent with not many visitors, it gets crazy on a weekend when the blossoms are out. The NTT Docomo Tower and the pond before it in the garden was a pleasing sight to watch. The day was March 11 and was the day when four years back in 2011 we had the devastating Tohoku earthquake which was a watershed moment for so many of the foreigner community in Tokyo.IMG_0808There was a minute of silence held and all in the park stood still for that minute and it brought many tearful memories as the horror of the tsunami which swept the cities around Fukushima and Miyagi. It is back to the peaceful times, but the experience lingers. People went back to relaxing in the garden and in the distance I saw two trees in bloom. IMG_0810Quite a few people has gathered around the tree and I assumed that it was for taking snaps of the flowers, oblivious to the birds on the tree who were to surprise me on that day.Shinjuku Gyoen and Mejiro birds during Cherry BlossomsI got closer to the tree and the chirping of the birds, now clearly audible, gave me the hint that people were around the tree trying to take snaps of the birds and the flowers together. I have never taken shots of the Mejiro with the Cherry blossoms and this was my first chance. The Japanese white-eye sparrow like birds were flying all around (albeit now apparent in the pic below), I was a bit nervous with telephoto lens camera men all around me and myself sporting a amateur point and shoot camera which made me feel “low and stupid”.Shinjuku Gyoen and Mejiro birds during Cherry BlossomsUndaunted by the lack of the gear I decided to make the most of my camera and caught one Japanese white-eye hiding between the branches and perched on a branch with flowers all around. The white line around the eye which gives the bird the peculiar name was right there in the middle. Not bad I suppose….Shinjuku Gyoen and Mejiro birds during Cherry BlossomsThe birds are busy with their activities trying to get the nectar out of the flowers and I saw so many of these Mejiro birds busy with their activity as the shutterbugs went along recording them. Taking naps of these birds proved to be tough than I thought initially. Extremely fickle and quick movements meant I had to put the camera on the manual mode and ensure a shutter speed equivalent to the activity so as to avoid a blur.Shinjuku Gyoen and Mejiro birds during Cherry BlossomsOf the many tries, I got some snaps like the below where I could see the bird with its beak in the flowers trying to suck the honey. CUTE. Man taking snaps of the Mejiro birds was a delight. Sad to reflect what I have been missing all these 16 years of being in Tokyo. Should have done this earlier.Shinjuku Gyoen and Mejiro birds during Cherry BlossomsThe best shot possible from my camera was the below one, as clearer as my small camera (200 dollar entry level stuff) could get…. There are professional shots over the internet, mine is just a small addition to the large trove. I remember Steve Seagal ‘s interview when he was asked of his good Japanese speaking capabilities…. He replied that it was equivalent to a sparrow’s tears (スズメの涙), meaning highly insignificant. That is the name of my Flickr handle too for all the fifteen years. My photography is insignificant, but the experience of catching these sparrows on the trees in the midst of the beautiful blossom, priceless….DSC03614Walking back home with my heart content on a casual leave well spent away from office with nature.Shinjuku Gyoen and Mejiro birds during Cherry BlossomsLocation of the Shinjuku Gyoen Garden in Tokyo. See Google Map below

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