April is the season of beginnings in Japan, as heralded by the coming of the cherry blossoms to every corner of the country. Japan’s fiscal year starts in April, and it’s normal for new laws to take effect this month, too. April is also the beginning of the school year, and this is the season when many teary-eyed parents will watch their child walking through the school gate on their first day of school while sakura petals fall all around them. Yesterday was my son’s high school entrance ceremony, held at a university in Tokyo (as his high school is attached to the university), and my wife and I proudly watched as he officially became a high school student. After the terrible devastation Japan has been through in the past few weeks, there’s a realization that this April is also a new “beginning” for Japan as a nation, and everyone is getting ready for the important work of rebuilding.
The sakura are a symbol of renewal in Japan.