Tanks and cherry blossoms: hanami at the Tsuchiura Camp of the JGSDF

Last year, Kei and I rode our bicycles to the Tsuchiura Camp of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force hoping to see their tanks and sakura trees but it was closed because of the Covid pandemic.

Luckily, this year they have restarted their cherry blossoms festival after a few years of suspension. Unluckily, however, this Saturday and Sunday are too rainy and cold to enjoy the sakura in full blossom.

On the other hand, one good thing about rain is it darkens the bark of the trees making the contrast between the pink blossoms and the almost black trunks all the more dramatic.

Of course, another–bigger–incongruity is the juxtaposition of these weapons of war and spring’s most iconic symbol of fleeting, fragile beauty.

I’ve been to this place several times before and have take lots of pictures, but yesterday’s photos are probably the best I’ve taken yet: the gloomy overcast skies, sakura in full bloom, the blackened tree trunks and these war machines glistening under a steady shower of rain make for very dramatic photos indeed.