Here in Japan, passion for cherry blossoms run deeps in the national psyche, and anticipating their arrival every spring is an inseparable part of life bordering on obsession.
Pictures above are from nightly news national TV broadcasts in early March. The reporters are presenting the latest forecast of the northward march of the cherry blossoms front (sakura zensen) in every detail.
Even the Japanese Meteorological Agency has an official website dedicated to the accurate forecasting of sakura zensen.
From Okinawa to Hokkaido
The first blossoms begin to bloom in Okinawa, the southwestern-most of Japan’s main four islands, in early February.
According to the latest forecasts, cherry blossoms will be in their full, glorious bloom here between March 22nd and 25th this year (2015).
Soon it will be time for the centuries-old practice of hanami (flower viewing), picnicking under a cherry tree with family and friends, surrounded by uncountable numbers of delicate blossoms. (This picture to the right was taken last year in Miyazaki city library park.)
The blossom front will reach the Kansai region (Kyoto and Osaka) by the end of April, and keep marching northward till it gets to Hokkaido in late April.
Beauty which Cannot be Possessed
They remind us of the fleeting nature of life. If we do not take the time to appreciate them here and now, they will be gone, forever.
The true beauty of cherry blossoms is not only that they can make us feel their presence, but also their imminent absence.
Perhaps the pretty cherry blossoms teach us how to fully appreciate life — not by wanting to possess, but by letting go.