Last week there were apocalyptic winds. But fortunately they blew through just at the beginning of the cherry blossom season. If it had come this week, it would have been the shortest cherry blossom season ever.
It’s been the crappiest spring, weather-wise, that I’ve experienced in Japan. Normally, by this time, the air is sweet and warm, and picnickers are everywhere drinking and merrymaking on blue tarps. Instead, it’s been drizzling and cloudy, and people are still miserably wearing their coats, passively-aggressively poking each other with their umbrellas. Winter is like a gassy unwanted guest who has overstayed his visit. Everyone is grumpy.
Except yesterday. Yesterday was sunny and warm. On cue it was the peak of the blossoming. I spent the afternoon along the Meguro River. For most of the year it’s a concrete lined gash that lurks through southwest Tokyo. But around this time, it’s my favorite place to check out the clouds of pink.
Along with all the traditional street fare, there were hastily set up booths selling champagne and bread with cherry blossoms baked into them. One thing that struck me during my walk was that I only saw 2 people on their phones. Normally, a good third of Tokyoites anywhere at anytime are mindlessly engrossed in texting, gaming or talking. I was happy to see people disconnect from their devices and plug into nature.
The best moments were when a breeze shook the petals off the trees and rained them down. Everyone lucky enough to be caught under this shower immediately smiled. And I could feel the weight of winter slough off my shoulders.
Further downriver where there were few people I came across a breathtaking sight. The petals had pooled into one big mass and entire stretches of the river were completely covered in petals.
Click here for a slideshow of more pictures.