The streets of Japan are lined with Cherry trees. There are likely a million of them across the island. For 11 months of the year, you hardly notice, and no one pays attention. But come April, these things are worshiped. And i mean idolized, bowed to, revered, and adored. At first, we thought it comical. I mean a month ahead of time, they start discussing the Sakura (literally Cherry Blossom).
As the Northern Hemisphere gets closer to the Sun, the mood in Japan, much like everywhere else, freshens. A new beginning, a fresh start. Whatever it is, it offers hope, and these beautiful trees are the flag of Spring.
The city turns white. When the wind blows, you could swear it's snowing. 70 degrees and snow. It doesn't get any better.
Our street is a major draw, because the apartment association lights them. Traffic picks up 3-4x during the blossom. At night time, you can hear the revelers snapping pictures and popping cans of beer and bottles of sake.
The Japanese are always looking for a party. The seasonal party is called Hanami. We were lucky enough to participate in a few Hanamis. These entail getting together with
friends underneath the cherry blossoms and drinking heavily. The biggest problem when it comes to Hanami is finding a spot under your favorite tree. They literally camp out the night before to ensure their spot. The parks become swamps of people. This brings out the street venders which brings out some of the tastiest food you can imagine. Hanami attendance is up 18% this year. How this is measured i have no idea, but they love stats. I will say that it is a cheap form of entertainment, and it is a good way to enjoy the company of friends over beers...so why not.
As with everything, the best days are the first to flee. And the blossom is gone as quickly as it arrived.
The 10 days of beauty are over, but the Sakura converted two more. Tree worshipers, we have become.
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