Cherry Blossom Reminisces

The first week of April in Japan is a big deal. Millions of people flock outside to the warming weather for a stroll or to enjoy a picnic lunch while under the pinkish-glow of the sakura, or cherry blossoms. Hanami, or flower watching, is a national pastime in Japan and provides a boost to the economy each year at this time. The national news tracks the blossoming of the cherry blossom trees as the blooming begins in southern Japan and works its way northward like a wave. The sweet scent of cherry blossoms lingers in the air and the streets are lined with the blossoms that have displayed their beauty and have since broken from their branch and have withered away. Sakura have become a national symbol largely because they demonstrate more than anything that beauty and life is only temporary, a prevalent theme in Japanese culture.

Two years ago, my wife and I went to Washington D.C. during the first week of April and spent almost a full day around the Tidal Basin and the blooming cherry blossom trees that dominate the area. Given to the United States in 1912, the cherry blossom trees around D.C. have now become as much a symbol of spring to Washington as they are to Japan. While the sakura’s beauty is fleeting and short lived each year, the reminder that nothing is permanent is welcome.

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One Response

  1. Hi,
    What a coincidence. This year me and my husband went to DC the same time. Its beautiful.
    We even went to Brooklyn Botanical garden NY in early April to check out something on Hanami(as was mentioned in bbg.org website). But unfortunately, they did not have anything on.
    Anyways it was very nice seeing those cherry flooded trees all along the path!

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