Monday, March 28, 2011

The Arrival of Cherry Blossom Season in a Devastated Tokyo

As Tokyo is struggling to recover from this year’s devastation, cherry blossom season once again arrives in Japan. The Japan Meteorological Agency said that the country's capital is officially in bloom. This announcement is one of the most anticipated events of the season. Japan monitors certain species of trees across the country and a region is considered to be in bloom when at least five flowers can be summed on 80% of its trees.

The annual rite of spring in Japan began hundreds of years ago and it involves sitting under sakura (or cherry blossom) trees to take in the pink flowers. The Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo is home to a celebrated grove, not to mention the benchmark tree. Each year, the Japanese people welcome the season with hanami (festivals organized to view the blossoming trees.) Originally, the purpose of these excursions was to ponder the transient nature of life in accordance with Buddhist thinking. This is represented by the short blooming season of the cherry blossom's flowers and their deep connection to innocence, spring, and simplicity.

This year, the enthusiasm has been overshadowed by the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that distressed the northeast coast. The cherry blossom flowers in regions hit the hardest by the tsunami are projected to make their appearance in early to mid April. The blooming of the cherry blossom trees in Japan is a reminder of the eternal rebirth in nature and reflection upon the Earth's beauty.

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