Over the weekend I went to Tokyo to meet with some friends for beers and Osaka-style kushi-katsu (pork cutlet and other foods fried then dipped in a delightful sauce before eating). As usual, it was fun to go to Tokyo and feel the energy all around me. While I was there I read a news post saying that the cherry blossoms had officially opened in Tokyo, so I headed for Ueno Park to see them for myself. The start of sakura season is an important time in Japan, marking not just the symbolic end of winter but the beginning of many new things, since the school year and entrance ceremonies at Japanese companies begin at this time of year. For the next ten days people will gather under the cherry trees and contemplate their fleeting beauty while imbibing beer and sake, then the cherry blossoms will be gone. This year’s sakura season start tied with 2002 as the earliest-ever since the government started keeping detailed records on cherry blossom blooming patterns in the 1950s.
The Season of the Sakura has come to Japan.