There are cherry trees all over the world, and the blossoms are beautiful no matter where you go. Growing up I even had a cherry tree in my backyard and I loved seeing it all covered in blossoms. However, viewing cherry blossoms in Japan is different. I think it’s because it’s treated differently than in other parts of the world. You see, the annual blooming of the cherry trees is looked forward to so much that there are predictions as to when they’ll bloom well in advance, and throughout March there are daily updates leading into the full bloom of the trees as part of the weather forecast for each part of the country. I’ve even been told that it’s not spring without sakura (cherry blossoms).
During the two weeks or so that the trees are blooming there are countless street vendors and it feels like a festival. People also like to have parties with their friends, family, and co-workers in parks and other sakura viewing spots. These parties usually involve relaxing under a tree and enjoying each others company, as well as delicious food and drink, all while admiring the beauty of the season.
Something striking about the blossom viewing season is that it’s so short. Trees begin blooming one week, are in full bloom about a week later, and then the petals are all gone about a week after that. People look forward to this ephemeral, fleeting beauty every year with great anticipation. It makes me think about life. From the day we’re born until the day we die is a pretty short time in the grand scheme of things, but in many ways the short season of life adds to its charm. Unfortunately, a lot of our time is spent rushing about our daily lives and it’s easy to lose sight of the things that make life worth living. Take the time to appreciate the things that make life wonderful.
Enjoy the cherry blossoms. They’ll be gone before you know it.