April is here (or half way done already by the time I’m writing this) and with that Japan has burst out into cherry blossom mania. The blooming of cherry blossoms in Japan is taken pretty seriously with weather reports even having a special forecast focusing on when each part of Japan can expect to see their local cherry trees in bloom. Stores are filled with sakura flavored snacks and drinks, and most towns will hang paper lanterns along the streets and at parks to herald the end of winter and the start of spring.
When the cherry blossoms do bloom then people flock to the nearest park to take part in hanami which are picnics / drinking parties with friends, family or coworkers. It’s always great to see everyone having a good time and hear laughter and talking from all around you, especially when everyone is usually so reserved and quiet in all other aspects of their day to day lives.
The only really sad part of this time of the year is that once the cherry blossoms start it’s almost over in a heartbeat. Usually after a week or so the cherry blossoms will have almost all fallen to the ground and the parks will be silent yet again except for the weekend soccer matches and joggers going for their daily runs.
It does seem as though the short length of the cherry blossom season is one of the reasons that people are so enthusiastic about the event and why it’s held in such high regard in Japan. It seems to represent the transient nature of life.
Then again it might be popular because it’s the one time of the year when you can knock off work early and hang out under the cherry blossoms with friends, good food and drink!