At Cedar Lodge, the cherry blossom tree that we planted last year is in full bloom. As the first plant to flower in our garden this spring, we thought we’d take inspiration from Japan and host a cherry blossom celebration. Known as Hanami in Japan, the festival takes place throughout the end of March and the beginning of April. During this time, people stroll amongst the country’s many cherry blossoms, known as Sakura, to admire the flowers and picnic beneath them. While it was still too cold in the UK to hold a picnic, we did celebrate all things Japanese to mark the occasion. 

Before our residents woke, the night carers at Cedar Lodge decorated the lounge with murals from famous Japanese art, hung up traditional sushi lanterns and placed cherry blossom fans on each lounge table. 

After breakfast, activity stations were then set up in the dining room. On the first station, residents could practice their origami skills, using the small coloured paper to make majestic cranes under the guidance of the Care Home Manager, Rupert. 

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On station 2, residents could try their hand at calligraphy – using authentic rice paper, brushes and ink to paint their name using the Japanese writing script called Katakana. 

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Finally, on station 3 residents could join Cedar Lodge’s Handyman Mark and his wife Laura in sampling sushi. Having prepared the sushi rice in advance, Mark and Laura used a special mould to roll sushi to perfection. Residents had a choice of different fillings like salmon or tuna, whilst others added lashings of Kikkoman soy sauce according to their preference.

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For some residents, this was the first time they had tried sushi – and eating the seaweed nori sheets that enveloped the rice was a particularly novel experience! However, the sushi rolls were a huge hit, and we wanted to offer a big thank you to Laura and Mark for their time in coming into the care home and helping out. It was great fun to learn about new cultures and jazz up our day by trying new experiences – we’ll be sure to celebrate the cherry blossom season again in 2024. 

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