Don’t go to Japan in the summer. Save a trip like that for when even the Japanese people like to be on vacation. Go when Japan is in the pink of things. Tour Japan when all the trees are in pink from the cherry blossoms in spring. There the trees are trimmed to grow with long rails sideways to promote the most blossoms possible so that in the spring you are underneath a canopy of pink. It is so beautiful that even the people who live and work there stop routine life to enjoy a civilized picnic and take many photos. The Japanese people have a fascination with the tree.
For all tourists there are cherry blossom bath salts and cosmetics, tie clips and cuff links, Cherry twigs are used as ornamental decorations everywhere. The merchants see green in the spring. Green money. There are countless food products made from the pedals. You can drink Sake made from the pedals. The tree limbs are printed on all kinds of fabrics. The Japanese have changed a tree into a marketing marvel. At high end café’s you can find pastry chefs making works of art out of dough to look like a tree limb of blossoms. Artistry is everywhere and in everything you can think of.
The Japanese take pride in even tasting the season. The Japanese gave thousands of trees as a gift to America in 1912 helping the first Lady then Helen Taft plant a public park in Washington D.C. We enjoy seeing the trees blossom here each year to but we certainly do not give their beauty as much respect as the Japanese do. In Japan it is said that the blossoms embody the Samurai spirit evoking the image of warriors who believed their time on earth was brief and should be glorious. So, each spring when they blossom, they become a top source of income from tourists. Why doesn’t America make such a fuss over our trees?
Record amounts of tourists turned out in Japan this year thankful for the weakened Yen that made travel there more affordable. Hotels were booked solid and you have to make your reservations early because the blossoms vanish in a matter of days. It is estimated 350,000 Chinese will travel to neighboring Japan during the peak blossom period and spend about a Billion dollars. So why shouldn’t Americans join in the party too at least to observe the people’s excitement. The Japanese are low keyed in their celebrations. They will buy tarps and sushi and have long respectful picnics in the parks. The beer and Saki fueled festival can get rowdy but by rowdy with just too much laughter and arm wrestling.
This is Japan and manners are important. Shoes are off near the banquet table and pushed off to the side. Since the flowers bloom only for a week so the feeling is to party quickly. At night the viewing does not end. For about $15 dollars there is a nighttime sightseeing tour that will take you down the streets where the shop owners will shine lights on the blossoms and the pink stays alive but now reflecting on the buildings to make them look even larger. Yes I am thinking about the spring in the summer. So shoot me.