Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Lilac Festival... In Hiding.

17th May, 2008 - After the previous day's adventures, we had decided to take L-kun into the city for a bit of a sight-seeing trip... first things first - we went to Tankukikoji (which I've blogged about before). This is a great little under-cover shopping street (or what we'd call a covered mall... as compared to an Mall in the USA which is more like our shopping centres).

It's most probably a place to go if you live in Sapporo, as compared to a place you'd go expecting to find a tourist bargain. The one exception is the excellent Don Quijote (or Donki for short... which I've also blogged about in Osaka) that's a great place to buy all sorts of knick-knacks - from the cheap and nasty, to the downright weird.
Google StreetView: Don Quijote (or Donki) in Tanukikoji... first store on left. coming up from stairs from the subway.
The main reason, however, to come into the city was to visit the Lilac Festival. In fact this was the 50th Anniversary of the Lilac Festival (in 2008), and you might imagine that this was going to a big thing. As I've already mentioned, Lilac is the semi-official symbol of Sapporo (outside snow flakes that is), so you'd kind of expect the Lilac festival to be impressive.

The focal point is the central park strip known as Odori Kouen (or Odori Koen if you're lazy as most of us are). There are supposedly 400 Lilac trees in the park... but where are they? We looked, and looked, and looked... 
Looking up Odori Koen towards Sapporo Tower...

Hold on... could that be?... I  believe Elvis has entered the building (again), and apparently during the Lilac Festival he hands out free Lilac seeds. No seriously. They hand out free seeds. Clearly they see this festival through a longer-view lens. Or perhaps they think that this would be getting the crowds to roll in?

It's a little odd - most other flower based festivals are based on the actual blooming time (and hence are different each year). The Lilac Festival is set by the calendar however. Whether the Lilac are blooming or not.

I don't want to rain on Sapporo's parade (or it's flower festival), but I can say that at the very least - be aware that the Lilac Festival is temperamental... but more honestly, don't go there expecting to be over-awed with the visual splendour of it all. Unless of course Lilacs are the one thing that get you up in the morning...

On returning from our day out, we had a nice relaxing evening. As you can see, the Prune Extract that I mentioned in the last post appears to have done the trick. No bruises, no long lasting issues. We also discovered that L-kun had (un-correlated, we believe, to the prune extract) taken up being obsessed with cleaning up rubbish (or gomi in Japanese). This looked soooo promising... imagine it... a child that could clean the entire house without having to lift a finger... 

Fools. What were we thinking!

The reality is... every brief moment of pure joy can suddenly be un-done by a momentary lapse, a mis-spoke word, or in this case, wanting your son to go to bed.

There are some baby cries that will tear your heart out as a parent... and there are those that border on the ridiculous. Now what were you crying about L-kun? The reality is that toddlers know all to well the art of escalation. "Oh... you think you can take me on, Mr Big Man... well, trying these lungs out for size.... and then let's talk about when an appropriate bed-time is..."

And if all else fails, just increase volume and ideally frequency (with corresponding eye-water and quivering lip) until either parents give in, or permanent damage to hearing occurs. Teething tends, of course, to lend some additional vigour to the exercise.

Apparently - whilst Prune Extract might be good for bruises, it isn't that effective for tantrums... although next time we should have tried ingesting it (we should eat some that is, not L-kun).

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