Hamburg – Osaka – Yokohama

The curious thing about the north of Germany is that March and April could very well count as months of winter instead of spring. Finally, now in May, we also get to enjoy warm temperatures and landscapes filled with blossoming flowers. This year in particular though, here in Hamburg, we apparently decided to dedicate Spring to our friends from Japan.

Since 1992 Hamburg has two twin cities from Japan – Osaka and Yokohama. Back in the sixties already, Olympus and Panasonic set up a foreign base here. In 2010 about 2300 Japanese people were living in Hamburg and today we even have a Japanese school.

Japan loves Hamburg so much that 5000 cherry trees were given to the city of Hamburg as a gift for its hospitality by the Japanese community. These beautiful trees were planted along the river Alster. In 1968 the presence of these trees gave birth to the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival (or hanami) which takes place for a whole weekend every year in May, celebrating the arrival of spring as well as the fading beauty of the cherry blossom (or sakura).  As only one of three cities outside Japan, Hamburg elects its own Cherry Blossom Queen. The fireworks on Friday evening announce the cultural events to follow in the botanical garden, where you can assist traditional tea ceremonies (or chado).

Just some days after the Cherry Blossom Festival, you may deepen your knowledge of the Japanese culture by attending another festival, this time it’s the 18th festival of the Japanese cinema.

Have you seen any beautiful stamps on the letters you received recently? Feel free to take a picture and send it to us to blog@quotas.de

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