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Japan in full bloom

Spring has come to Japan with the first cherry blossoms of the year. People anxiously wait for the blossom forecast announced by the Meteorological Agency, while marking their calendar for the best day for blossom viewing (hanami). As the cherry blossoms front (sakurazensen) moved northwards, the cherry trees started blooming in Shizuoka, Kumamoto and Tokyo on March 22, a few days earlier than average. Many Japanese bloggers have taken the opportunity to snap pictures of the blossoms.

Rieko Koizumi of One Drop Room with Flowers, a photo blog that features pictures of flowers she encounters in her daily life, took a picture of a cherry flower before the cherry blossom season was “officially announced”.

sakura3
Photo by Rieko Koizumi of One Drop Room with Flowers CC-BY-NC-ND

夕方近く、遠くから、濃い目のピンクが目に付いて近寄ってみると
ひっそり咲いていました。

Late in the afternoon, I spotted something pink red from a distance, so I went closer and I found [this flower] blooming quietly.

Here are some pieces from another photo blog skyseeker
Sakura 1

yokohama sakura
Photo by skyseeker CC-BY

桜木町駅と新港地区とを結ぶプロムナード「汽車道」の桜並木。
その美しさと言ったら、なんとも形容し難く、いい言葉が見つからないですね。

The row of cherry trees of “Kishamichi”, the promenade connecting Sakuragicho Station and the new port area.
It is so hard to describe the beauty, and I cannot even think of any word.


sakura 2

Photo by Danny Choo CC-BY-NC-SA

Blogger A Blue Swan reflects on why cherry blossoms are so special to Japanese culture:

桜ももう満開。桜なんて虫もつくし、花が咲いていないときは大して美しくもないし、建材にも使えないし、実も食べられないし、折角咲いた花もあっという間に散るし、まぁ役に立つ木ではありませんね。でも、日本人はこの花を愛してきた。それは、古来日本人が持っていた「無常観」がこの花の存在と重なるからかもしれません。あっという間に散ってしまう花びらに、あっという間に死んでしまう人間の姿を投影したのですね。そして、それを良しとした。

The cherry trees are in full bloom. Cherry trees attract bugs, they are not so beautiful when they are not blooming, they cannot be used to build anything, their fruit is not edible, the flowers fall so fast, well they are not very useful trees. However, Japanese people have always loved the flowers. That's because the sense of “impermanence” that Japanese people have had since ancient times overlaps with the existence of the flowers. [These Japanese people] projected [the image of] human beings who died in the blink of an eye onto petals that fall in the blink of an eye. And then they found value in that.


sakurarapeflower

Photo by sputnik CC-BY-NC-SA

sputnik blog posted pictures of cherry blossoms in a field of rapeseed flowers from their hanami trip, including the one above, and wrote:

今年も行ってきました。去年と同じ場所に花見。やっぱりきれい、来て良かった。去年は昼過ぎに行って大混雑だったので、今年は朝駆けっていうか、早朝7時前には着いてました。それなのに結構人が来ていたのにはびっくりしたけれど・・・。しかし、おかげでのんびりと眺めることができました。淡いピンクの桜の花とのんびりした黄色い菜の花、この優しい色合いの景色はまるで天国ってこんな感じなんじゃないかと思わせるものがある

I went out this year again. Hanami in the same place as last year. It really is beautiful, I am glad that I went. Last year I got there just after noon and it was very crowded, so this year it was sort of like a morning raid, I arrived before 7 in the morning. And yet, I was surprised that quite a few people were already there… But, because of this I was able to relax and see [the flowers]. The pale pink colour of the cherry blossoms and the relaxing yellow of the rapeseed flowers, the view of the tender colours makes me think heaven must be like this.

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