April 23 2017
Predictions for peak season start weeks before the first bloom. This may be an understatement but sakura season in Japan is kind of a big deal. The bloom is celebrated with festivals and picnics in the park. Local shops sell cherry blossom themed umbrellas and rain coats and anything else you can think of. Starbucks sells cherry blossom drinks, coffee beans, mugs, and water bottles. (Those go fast and make excellent, if not pricey, gifts for friends and family abroad.) Line, a popular messaging app in Japan, even joins in with a shower of blossoms that fall over your chat window.
It is impossible not to get caught up in the anticipation. I found myself scanning the tree line as I drove around town for even the smallest hint of pink, totally ignoring the tree next to my front door mocking me with it’s nudity. I even asked people who lived in different neighborhoods if the trees were blooming there, as if a few miles would make a difference.
Eventually, I got tired of waiting. I had already purchased my over-priced Starbucks mugs and water bottles weeks earlier and decided I was no longer going to bother. And then they bloomed! Practically overnight the naked bundle of twigs next to my front door turned into a fluffy, pink cloud that rained pink petals in the breeze. Magical!