The Sakura is in Town

The long awaited cherry blossom (sakura) season has finally arrived to Japan. Thousands of cute little white and pink flowers now decorate every corner of Kyoto. And so do the flocks of tourists, both Japanese and foreign, highly determined to shoot their best sakura  picture.

Hanami is the Japanese name for flower viewing and it dates back hundreds of years. Nowadays the phenomenon is highly promoted and thoroughly documented: there are daily sakura status reports on the Internet with pictures and updates.  There is even an article on hanami for beginners. Also, the fluffy light-pink folly inspires brands to offer a more ‘veggie’ diet: it seems that McDonald’s has created a delicious ‘cherry blossom burger’, and Haagen-Dazs sells its sakura flavor ice cream (which by the way is delicious).

But first and foremost, sakura season is a holiday, and an opportunity for some family time. The parks and gardens are full of people drinking and eating with family and friends under the blossoming cherry trees.  They believe that the cherry petals which fall in sake symbolize good health.

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But for me, sakura season has been full of opportunities for people-watching. On numerous occasions, I stumbled upon pretty kimono-clad women who love to pose under the trees.

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On the same tone, romantic newly-weds poses are a perennial ornament of almost every cherry blossom tree.

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There are also those who try to sneak out of the mandatory annual family portrait :)

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And others who just chill, no matter the context.

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Still, my favorite use of a plump cherry blossom is reading under its weeping branches.

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