S is for Sakura

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S is for Sakura for this installment of the A to Z ChallengeSakura 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.

Sakura at Shiroyama

Sakura (cherry blossoms) in Yamanashi Prefecture – photo by kei

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.” Continue reading

Flower Viewing/花見

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Writing a thesis for a Master’s degree is a very stressful pursuit. I’ve learned that it’s not for the faint of heart! Since it was Spring Break, I decided that I needed a change of scenery. So, I packed up my thesis and headed for cherry blossoms, or sakura! No, I didn’t go back to Japan (although that would have been nice). I decided to stay in the country instead. There are several places in the US where you can see cherry blossoms. The most popular city is Washington D.C., which is famous for its National Cherry Blossom Festival. There are also festivals on the east coast: Brooklyn, NY & Philadelphia, PA; in the south: Macon, GA & Nashville, TN; in the Rockies: Denver, CO; and on the west coast: San Francisco, CA & San Diego, CA.

Sakura along a garden path

Cherry blossoms – Sankeien Japanese Friendship Garden
photo by kei

Cherry blossom viewing, which is called 花見 or hanami (lit. flower-watching), is the thing to do in Japan during cherry blossom season. Cherry blossoms are white to pink flowers that bloom for a very short time (on the order of days to a little over a week) in the spring. When the cherry blossoms bloom, it means the coming of spring after winter. The trees burst into fluffy blooms of whites and pinks, and it’s very beautiful.

Sakura at a park in Japan

Cherry blossoms at Shiroyama in Yamanashi prefecture – children enjoying hanami
photo by kei

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