This year the cherry blossoms were an on-again, off-again, on-again event. We had unseasonably warm weather in February and the trees started to bloom early. The smallest of our three cherry trees was in full bloom in early March. We celebrated the little tree’s valiant effort with a pre-hanami or cherry blossom gazing. The warm weather continued and a few days later, it was clear the largest trees started blooming to about 20%. Then, (and you knew this was coming) there was a cold snap complete with a late season snow storm and these flowers were zapped. We were concerned that even the buds might have been destroyed and hanami would be a non-event this year. Not only the trees in our backyard were at risk but there was some concern that for the first time in 40 years even the trees at the Tidal Basin would not bloom. The cold weather held for a while and the cherry blossoms were put into a type of suspended animation until the cold spell broke the last week of March. We were out of town that week but when we arrived home we were pleasantly surprised to fine our backyard awash in cherry blossoms. Unfortunately, since we were out of town we missed the peak and the largest and second largest trees were slightly past full bloom. Since we arrived home in the late afternoon and the sun was still warm, we sat outside on our deck admiring the display and the fact that despite the vagaries of the weather there were cherry blossoms this year.
Although some browned remnants of zapped flowers were visible, it was still spectacular.
the ski was blue and there was no wind.
Since we did not have a chance to go grocery shopping, I tapped into our frozen cache of tuna. I made marinated tuna sashimi or “Zuke” of tuna マグロのずけ. This time, I managed to marinate the tuna long enough to attain a dark red color and the “nettori” ねっとりor “soft” texture. Since I did not have any fresh greens, I served this as is. Initially, I thought this would go well with red wine like beef tartar but it did not so we switched to cold sake.
I also found leftover oden おでん in the fridge, which I had made before we went out of town. I reheated it and served it. The shiitake mushrooms were dried ones that I re-hydrated for a few days in the refrigerator before putting them in the oden. They were packed with umami.
Finally we had leftover tonkatsu of pork filet ヒレカツ. I just warmed it up in the toaster oven; Not as good as if it had been reheated in hot oil but certainly we could enjoy it.
The weather after this mini-hanami was really rainy and we had to wait until the following weekend for Hanami. By then, the cherry blossom was way past their peak but it was still beautiful.