Here comes the rain again!

Burrard skytrain station cherry blossom April 4 2013

Yep, it’s back to rainy weather, Vancouver.  But it doesn’t mean that you should stay at home. You can still take beautiful pictures of cherry blossoms under the rain. This was taken at Burrard station on April 4th during Cherry Jam.

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As a new cherry scout, there are three tools I find indispensable: my camera, the guide Ornamental cherries in Vancouver by Douglas Justice (to identify cherry trees) and my Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2013 designer umbrella!

If you’re coming to Sakura Days Japan Fair this week-end, you can buy the umbrella at VanDusen Garden Shop (or pick it up at Urban Tea Merchant in Downtown Vancouver).

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Did you know?  You can purchase the umbrella by itself to support the festival. (You don’t have to join the dance if you don’t want to).

World Umbrella Dance tag

It’s not too late to join the World Umbrella Dance. There are still two rehearsals dates:  Monday April 8 at the Roundhouse and Friday April 12 at Kitsilano.   The dance will take place at the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza on Saturday April 13 2013.

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Cherry Jam Downtown Concert

Haiku Tracking at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival kick off  concert Cherry Jam on April 4 2013

At the Burrard skytrain station, lots of people came to the Cherry Jam concert today. Some of the performers included:  World Umbrella Dancers, taiko drummers, Japanese dancers, and a ukulele ensemble playing Sakura Sakura.

The Haiku Tracking balloons (an innovative project by Bing Thom Architects) added a nice touch of color and interactivity.

Haiku Tracking at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival kick off  concert Cherry Jam on April 4 2013

People of all ages were having a good time carrying the balloons around.  When a young girl’s balloon got caught in a lower branch, she was showered with petals and everybody laughed.

Burrard skytrain station cherry blossom April 4 2013

The cherry petals were falling quickly due to the persistent rain.  How quicky? Take a look at this video:

Sakurab Bento box at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Cherry Jam Concert April 4 2013

This yummy Sakurab bento box received some complimentary petals!

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2012 Haiku Invitational bus sign

A closer look at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational 2012 Winners. The poster should be in the Translink Skytrains and buses soon.

Haiku Tracking at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival kick off  concert Cherry Jam on April 4 2013

If you took a balloon home, you will find a little haiku inside the paper. You can write your own haiku and publish it on the haikutracking.com website.

Haiku Tracking at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival kick off  concert Cherry Jam on April 4 2013

Take a look at the haikutracking.com website to see where the balloons went and read some haiku.

Burrard skytrain station cherry blossom April 4 2013

Cherry blossom viewing tip: you should never shy away from the rain.  This picture was taken today at the Burrard station. You could never take that on a sunny day, that’s for sure!  Buy the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival umbrella to keep you dry and get out there!  Visit the Burrard station location within 2-3 days to be showered with petals.  Hurry up!  (Umbrellas are for sale at Urban Tea Merchant, just one block away from Burrard station).

Burrard station is ready for Cherry Jam!

Akebono Burrard skytrain station in bloom March 31 2013

Akebono cherry trees at Burrard skytrain station are now in full bloom!It’s going to be gorgeous for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Cherry Jam this Thursday April 4th (11.00am-1.30pm)!

Akebono Burrard skytrain station in bloom March 31 2013

This afternoon, before heading to Burrard station,  I stopped at T&T (near BC Stadium) to pickup some sushi and dumplings.

T&T is offering a special sakura sushi tray in partnership with the VCBF and they also have a sweet bun festival right now with buns in different shapes like a snowman, hedgehog, frog, Snoopy, etc. These are too cute to resist!

After picking up some goodies, I hopped on the skytrain and headed to Burrard to have a picnic under the blossoms.

Akebono Burrard skytrain station in bloom March 31 2013

At the Burrard station, there were lots of people taking pictures, especially of that single tree that always seems to be in the sunlight.

Akebono Burrard skytrain station in bloom March 31 2013

Around 4.30 pm, the reflection of the setting sun (coming from the surrounding buildings) was coloring the blossoms pink at this location that is almost always in the shade.

Akebono Burrard skytrain station in bloom March 31 2013

Photography tip: don’t be afraid to do some closeups.  I just love taking pictures of the sun through the blossoms!

Cherry viewing tip: It’s time to visit! The cherry trees are peaking.  If you work Downtown, bring your lunch and enjoy a picnic under the canopy every day this week before the blossoms fall. Remember this important rule of cherry blossom viewing: Never say “tomorrow!”

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival banner

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2013 banner at Burrard skytrain station

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival banner is up at the Burrard skytrain station.

We have so many activities planned for the festival from April 4-30 2013!  Mark these dates to your calendar:

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2013 banner at Burrard skytrain station

Come celebrate spring with us!

Burrard Station Update

Akebono cherry blossoms at Burrard skytrain station.

The Akebono cherry trees at the Burrard skytrain station were a beautiful shade of pink when I visited this afternoon around 4.30pm.

Akebono cherry blossom buds at Burrard skytrain station.

The branches were filled with pink buds that are just about to open!

Akebono cherry blossom buds at Burrard skytrain station.

Just wait a couple of days and it will be cherry blossom galore!

Akebono cherry blossom buds at Burrard skytrain station.

It looks like we’ll have plenty of cherry blossoms for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Cherry Jam on April 4th.

Akebono cherry blossom at Burrard skytrain station.

Cherry viewing tip: You will find only a few cherry blossoms at the Burrard skytrain station right now: they are close to tree trunk, too high, or close to the glass panels. Not ideal.

When to visit: just wait  5-7 days to visit this location and you’ll be greeted by thousand of blossoms and will be able to walk under the pink canopy! Subscribe to the blog or follow us on Facebook to receive updates.

All photos taken at Burrard skytrain station March 22, 2013 between 4.30-5.00pm

PS Compare with the pictures I took March 8. The trees went from green to pink in less than 2 weeks. Amazing!

A Ukulele Celebration – beginners workshop

Ukulele Celebration of cherry blossoms

The event “A Ukulele Celebration of Cherry Blossoms” is a partnership between the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival and Ruby’s Ukes.

On Saturday March 9, I rescued my ukulele from the back of my closet and headed out for a beginners workshop at Ruby’s Ukes. My objective: learn to play Sakura Sakura on the ukulele in just two hours!

At the Seymour Building, I was greeted by Ruby with a big smile.  She asked if I ever played the ukulele and I was too shy to admit I had bought it as a decoration piece many years ago.  Ruby tuned my ukulele and I was surprised (and relieved) to hear it sounded just like a real music instrument.

The beginners’ workshop was two hours. In the first hour, we learned how to play the ukulele. Our teacher Guido Heistek cracked a lot of jokes and made learning ukulele really fun and easy. We learned how to tune the ukulele by ear (a simple melody that goes “My dog has fleas”), how to hold the instrument, how to read the music sheet, play some chords and finally play some songs. In just an hour, we went from complete beginners to budding musicians!

Ukulele Celebration of cherry blossoms

After a snack (tea, cookies, fruits and almonds), we tackled the second part of the workshop: learningSakura Sakura (a traditional japanese song celebrating cherry blossoms). That went really smoothly now that we all knew how to play.

The melody Sakura Sakura sounds really good played on the ukulele. The sound is very similar to the koto, the string instrument traditionally used to play Sakura Sakura.

Cherry Ukuleles by Rubys Uke

Now, all we have to do is practice and rehearse for the Ukulele Celebration of Cherry Blossoms concerts which will take place at Cherry Jam (April 4th) and Sakura Days Japan Fair (April 6-7).  Don’t miss it, it’s going to be amazing!  The beginners will play the melody while intermediate and advanced students will play the chords. We’ll also have a singer!

If you know how to play the ukulele, sign up for the rehearsal on Saturday March 23. For only 5$, you will learn the song Sakura Sakura, get a copy of the music sheet, have lots of fun and get a chance to play on stage during Cherry Jam and Sakura Days Japan Fair.

A Ukulele Celebration of Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Ukuleles by Rubys Uke

Learn to play “Sakura Sakura” on the ukulele in this fantastic workshop brought to you by Ruby’s Ukes Ukulele School and the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival:

  • March 9th 2013, 3-5pm: beginners workshop
  • March 23rd 2013, 3-5pm: rehearsal

Ukulele performances:

  • Cherry Jam (Burrard skytrain station), April 4th 12-1.30pm
  • Sakura Days Japan Fair, April 6th 3pm

Register online to be part of this Ukulele Celebration of Cherry Blossoms.