There don’t seem to be many new stories or particularly fascinating developments on existing ones–which is good because I’ve been busy as hell. The cherry blossoms are blooming early, though–third earliest in Tokyo proper since record-keeping began, apparently.
The neighborhood in which my office is is called 桜ヶ丘 (sakura ga oka: lit., “cherry hill,” though putting it that way has somewhat Joisey-ish connotations for me), and that is, of course, because the main through street is lined with cherry trees. By yesterday, the blossoms seemed to be about 80% open, and last night was the first night this year that they floodlit them. I spent yesterday doing a fair bit of end-of-year document-shredding and straightening up, so by 8 p.m. or so I was feeling a little dusty and decided a walk down to the bottom of the hill for a Coke or something was in order. When I got to the end of the alley from our building and looked up, there they were: clouds of cherry blossoms, like an apparition from some other, purer world, somehow feeling pink without actually looking pink. I may have gasped. It was one of those mono no aware moments that remind you why the Japanese have always regarded the natural surroundings in their native islands as spookily, mysteriously beautiful.
Then I was snapped back to Earth for another Japan moment, this one of somewhat more recent origin: I had to thread through all the people trying to take each other’s pictures (“Yumi-chan, dame yo…you have to get closer in!”) with the blossoms in the background, in addition to the usual steady procession of taxis, delivery guys on motorbikes, and sauntering students with their gigantic backpacks, in order to get down the street to the Family Mart. But hey, I’m always the one saying I like the crush, so no complaints. I still reserve the right to bitch about the kiln-like summer heat, though.
Work should clear up in a few days, leaving me not so much more time as more mind space to devote to other things.