Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
The season is back and so is the nation’s obsession. The map of Japan has turned pink on TV, with anchors and weather forecasters speculating when the day will be.
The stores are filling up their shelves with pink products, ranging from stickers to salt. And soon, people will start lining up for hours to get the best spots, so that they can appreciate its ephemeral beauty while gorging on bento (box meals) and booze.
The cherry blossoms are about to bloom.
While there are some 300 varieties of cherry blossoms, called “sakura”in Japanese, the main three in Japan are the somei yoshino (often seen in parks and riverbanks), yamazakura (which means “mountain sakuras” and are planted in mountainous areas, and shidarezakura (often seen in temples).
The delicate, pink flowers have been around for centuries in Japan, and the ancient national obsession can be seen in poems and literature from more than one thousand years ago.