We’ve been waiting for months. Through the heat of summer. Through the icy winds of winter. We’ve been admonished again and again and again: Wait. Be patient. Something beautiful is coming.
And now? Beautiful is here:
They take their cherry blossoms very seriously in Japan. Very, very seriously. The entire nation has been in anticipation mode, standing on their collective toes, peering up at the trees with hopeful gleams in their eyes. Heck, even back when we arrived here in July, people couldn’t stop themselves from saying: “Just wait until spring when the cherry blossoms bloom!” There’s even a forecast for when the revered trees will go into bloom. Almost every Japanese newspaper, magazine and website is packed with articles about where to go to see the best blooms. The lists of cherry blossom festivals are long and detailed. We can’t even walk into a store without bumping into numerous pink ‘Sakura’ products on display.
Liam is on a break from school and Wil was able to tear himself away from work for a few days, so we booked a hotel in Roppongi, in central Tokyo, for two nights earlier this week. I knew from the Sakura forecast that we were a little early but I did my homework and read that Shinjuku-Gyoen park is known for having a few early bloomers so I planned an outing there on Wednesday.
Many of the park’s trees were still in winter mode, dark and craggy, but maybe 15 per cent of them were dressed in their spring kimonos. The trees in bloom were the celebrities, basking not only in spring sunlight but the flashes of cameras wielded by admiring onlookers.
This is only an early taste, a sweet sprinkle of pink before the real show starts. I’m plotting trips over the next few weeks to parks known for their plethora of blooms. In due time, I’ll share more pictures of these lovely sylvan ladies. I thought I’d share, though, while the glow is still new. Our winter was mild here, but even so, I’ve longed for proper sunshine and flowers. I imagine most of you have, too.