10 Cherry Blossom
The Japanese word for cherry is sakura. The entire country is planted with
them. When the trees are in flower, the display is spectacular. Like Christmas in
the West, it is a time of year when people get together. Individuals and
businesses hold parties. People are obliged to socialise when their inclination
might be otherwise, which can be both a good and a bad thing.
Cherry blossom viewing is difficult to avoid if you live in Japan. If you like flowers,
it's a great time to visit the countryside. If you are a student of human behaviour, there
is a lot to see.
Offices arrange parties and staff feel bound to turn up . You can see them in the
parks, sitting beneath the trees. Some will be viewing the blooms with eyes attuned to
the beauty of nature. Others will be swigging beer and stuffing themselves with potato
crisps. It takes all sorts to make a world and no one can escape the sakura parties.
Sakura time starts in early spring in the south of the countr y and several weeks later
in the north. Be aware that weekends can be very busy. People are off work and have
time to take part in the festivities. We make a point of securing our weekend
accommodation well in advance.
We are invited to Sakura parties most years but rarely make the trip from Australia.
Last year was an exception. We saw an unbelievably low air fare on the internet and
grabbed it before it could vanish. We arrived on April 6 and got in two parties during
the next two weeks. One was near Mount Fuji and the other about 100 kilometres up
the coast from Tokyo. The second party was abandoned due to snow and we
My photograph was taken in the hills to the south of Tokyo. The display of blossom
is fine but by no means exceptional. A lot depends on the weather and time of day.
Timing is essential. The petals begin to fall soon after they come out.