Sakura Watch 2011
February 20-27  Encino, CA
Sakura Watch is a fun tradition that we have in the Los Angeles area.  For the past few years, cosplayers and photographers
have come to Lake Balboa every winter to take photographs with the cherry blossoms.  Each year, it seems to get more popular
and more people come out to the lake.  Last year, there were even a few highly organized events by local conventions.  This
year was very odd.  Normally, the cherry blossoms don't come to full bloom until mid-March.  This year, it occurred in late
February.  This made this year's Sakura Watch difficult to plan.  The first good weekend to take photographs occurred when
many people were away at conventions on the east coast or Northern California.  There were a few days of rain, so we lost a
few days due to bad weather.  The weather during Sakura Watch also included days with record low temperatures, which were
hard on everybody.  The conventions and organized groups didn't come this year and Sakura Watch returned to being a very
informal event.  This was the probably the first year when less people came to the park than last year.  There were also far less
cherry blossoms this year.  The only good area for photographs seemed to be one area near the entrance, so that's where
everybody stayed.  It was just a strange year in general.  Still quite a few of us managed to make it out to the park for a few
days.  The cherry blossoms only live for a few weeks and then you will have to wait until next year, so you have to take
advantage of every day you get.  This year was a big challenge, but it was still fun.  Hopefully, next year, everything will be back
to normal for this event.

Nergene Arquelada
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