I knew about Japan’s famous cherry blossoms even before I got here. Japanese friends studying in England had often told me about how beautiful they were, and encouraged me to visit Japan in early spring. I often wondered if they were exaggerating when they talked about the beauty of this annual natural spectacle, but now I’m here in Japan and witnessing it for myself I know that what they told me was absolutely true.
The blanket of pink and white that coat the many cherry trees throughout Japan brings with it a great feeling of happiness - the long winter is over, Spring is here. For many people it’s a great excuse to get together with friends for a hanami (cherry blossom viewing party); these are happy, relaxed events, involving lots of drinking, eating and laughter.
During this short-lived blaze of blossom I often find myself stopping and staring at the trees - they are just so beautiful, and there are so many of them! It makes me feel incredibly happy to be living here, fortunate to be able to see the see it for myself.
It’s only a matter of days though before the petals begin to fall, creating miniature snow storms when the breeze picks up. With the leaves settling on the ground, so the pink and white blanket is replaced by one of fresh green as the new leaves appear.
(reported by Joseph Tame)