Friday 11th May 2018, 8.30am (day 2,451)
They’re very pink, but very ephemeral, the cherry blossoms. Maybe that’s why the Japanese like them so much, it matches their general aesthetic.
Back to cold, rainy weather. But if I keep posting pictures of spring perhaps when I look back I will remember this as a warm April morning. The blossom is out in ‘my’ courtyard at work, at least, but back in 2014 (for example) it looked like this in February. A sign of the lateness of the weather patterns this year.
Last full day in Japan. A couple of free hours this morning were spent in Shinjuku-gyoen park, along with several thousand other people, most of whom seemed to be cooing over the blossoming cherry trees (sakura), with dozens of Japanese engaging in what I could only perceive as a form of fundamental nature worship beneath each one. A total stranger asked me in the hotel elevator this evening whether I had seen the blossoms. They even have national news announcements, blossom forecasts if you like, stating where the best displays are to be found. I don’t dispute these plants’ beauty, but I can’t help thinking — you know, we have cherry blossoms in England too. They’re just there. But clearly I’m missing something.
I’d rather the bright red cooler wasn’t there but otherwise I think this is a reasonable summation of this event, which Clare & I stopped off in for breakfast after our night out in London (* not depicted on this blog). The queue for the tea stand was interminable. I like the blossoms too, which up north have faded rather, but in London remain in full flower.
Now I said back in December that I thought I had seen very, very early blossom on the University of Manchester campus, but it turned out to be a winter flowering cherry. However, this, definitively, is traditional, spring cherry blossom in flower on 19th February; they are in the courtyard within my office building on the campus. Well, I said it’d been a very mild winter — unlike in North America where the Great Lakes are almost fully frozen, and very unlike last year here.
The weather was not wet, nor that cold, today, but it was so dull. So to cheer me up and make things feel more springlike, here are some pretty blossoms for May Day.
It’s also day 250 of the blog, so I have made some new additions to the ‘Best of the Rest’ page.