S is for Sakura for this installment of the A to Z Challenge. Sakura 桜 is the Japanese word for cherry blossom, the light pink flower that blooms for only a few weeks a year in the spring before falling to the ground in a flurry of blossoms. Cherry blossoms have fallen for the most part in mainland Japan, although Hokkaido is still due to be in full bloom next week. So I thought I would post about these beautiful flowers.
Japan has a whole flower-viewing culture 花見 based around cherry blossoms. When spring hits, sakura themed food, drink, and cute characters bloom like the flowers they represent. School ends during cherry blossom season, and many graduation songs reference cherry blossoms. School rejection letters have even been known to contain a metaphor that goes something like “the cherry blossoms are falling.”
Living in Japan, you can’t help but become caught up in the hanami or flower-viewing culture, and it is a wonderful time to meet with friends outside, enjoy the warm weather, and to eat and drink. Flower-viewing can often last long into the night, as hanami becomes yozakura 夜桜 or night flower viewing. Thus, I am incorporating the theme of a photo taken around Dinnertime for this week’s Photo Friday Challenge.
Cherry blossoms can also be found outside of Japan, which is great if you don’t live there, or if you can’t afford the high airfare during the busy spring travel season. In the US, the Washington D.C. cherry blossom trees that were a gift from Japan are famous, but they can be found in other places.
Are there cherry blossoms where you live? What are your favorite spring flowers? Let me know in the comments!