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Cherry Blossoms in Japan – In Photos

Sakura, as they’re known in Japan, bloom once a year all over the country and the Japanese go mad for it! There are festivals, decorations everywhere, sakura-themed food and everyone flocks to their nearest park to sit under the trees to admire the blossoms (or Hanami, as viewing blossoms are known in Japan), often with a picnic full of little plates to share and lots of sake!

For more info on where to see some of the best displays of cherry blossoms in Japan, check out this post Best Places to see Cherry Blossoms in Japan

But for now, take in the beauty of this little pastel flower that has the whole world watching!

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A cherry blossom lined canal near Nanzen-ji Temple in Kyoto

 

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Cherry blossom lined canals in Pontocho, Kyoto

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Mt Fuji’s Hidden Kimono Museum

It took awhile to find, which was more a reflection of my inability to read a map than its hidden location, but the rise of stone stairs to a carved wooden door would indicate that I’d finally found the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum.

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Entrance to the garden

Situated in the foothills near the north shore of Lake Kawaguchi overlooking Mt Fuji, is a place worth a visit even if just to see the garden alone. From outside its walls, amber hues drape over the carved entrance created from multiple doors said to have come from Indian castles. Stepping over the threshold feels invasive like you’re intruding into some Japanese feudal lord’s private garden, but intrude I will!

While pretty all year-round, autumn is when the garden stands out with a profusion of foliage ranging from deep reds through to golden yellow. It’s spectacular!

Gravel paths meander through a small forest filled with purposely-placed rocks, ponds and waterfalls, all meticulously designed by the museum’s namesake, Itchiku Kubota.

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Inside the garden

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Give Me All the Meat Fruit – Dinner and Theatre with Heston

“Hi, do you know where we can find Dinner?”
“You might have to be more specific, what kind of meal were you after?”
“No, it’s called Dinner. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, that’s the name of the restaurant.”

It’s an awkward but simplistically accurate name, although being a Heston restaurant you would assume a name like ‘The Curious & Bewildering Dinner Experience’, would be more apt.

Its dimly lit interior, hidden away in the echelons of Melbourne’s Crown Casino, deceives the eyes but the space has been well designed to ensure the tables themselves are well lit. It’s dark but warm, minimalist yet sleek and stylish.

The first thing to pique my interest is the rows of stripped pineapples strung up like kebab slabs in front of a wall grill. Ah Tipsy Cake – I’ve pre-read the menu online.

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The Great Australian Game

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If you follow any Australian’s on social media, you’ll probably see mentions of ‘footy’, ‘Aussie Rules’, ‘speccies’ and a host of other foreign words. They’re talking about football, Australian Rules football and… well a speccie’s a speccie but we’ll talk more about that shortly!

One day you might find yourself visiting Australia during footy season and may wish to partake in this traditional local custom, whether it be watching the game at a pub (relaxed bar) with a mob (group) of sport enthusiasts over pints of beer, or if you’re really lucky, you can head to a game to experience the electric atmosphere of this great sport of aerial ping-pong.
Here’s a quick rundown of the sport which is a lot different to any other contact sport with a ball!

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A perfect weekend involves beer + pub + footy, if you can’t get to a game

The game was first codified in Victoria in 1859, so it is actually one of the oldest sports of the modern era. It is commonly thought that Australian Rules is an offshoot of Gaelic Football, but while there are similarities, Gaelic football was codified 30 years after the Australian game. More likely is that the sport was influenced by the indigenous game of Marn Grook which involved large teams over an even larger playing area, kicking a stuffed, possum skin ball and punt kicking it to other players. There weren’t many rules in the game but individual players who exhibited outstanding skills such as leaping high over others, were celebrated and this is probably the skill which eventually turned into the ‘mark’ in Australian Rules. This is where a player catches the ball from a kick where the ball otherwise hasn’t been interfered with by other players. Sometimes the player will launch themselves from another player’s back to gain extra height and if they complete the mark, without dropping the ball, this is known as a speccie (from spectacular).

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Example of a speccy (high-skill, high-altitude mark)

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