Cherry blossoms are out in Japan, S. Korea
It’s a whites of spring thing.
If you want to know if spring has arrived in Japan or South Korea, just look to the cherry blossoms.
And at the crowds of people looking at the cherry blossoms. Taking photos of the cherry blossoms. Or having parties under the cherry blossoms.
In Japan, this is a seasonal rite, akin to first robins and tossing out the first pitch. Those who like to search out symbolism say the fragile, pink-tinged white blossoms reflect traditional Japanese values of purity and simplicity. Less poetic types say they just look pretty. Still others say they’re a great excuse for one of the year’s first outdoor parties.
Whatever they’ve become, they’re considered an icon of Japanese culture.
From Seoul, South Korea, to Sasebo and Tokyo, Japan, cherry trees seemed in full bloom Sunday. Cherry blossom parties bloomed in parks throughout the Kanto Plain.
Sasebo Naval Base servicemembers and their families flocked to Sasebo City Park and Nimitz Park to picnic, walk their dogs or just stroll, holding hands.
“It’s just beautiful out here today,” Seaman Joshua Lebombard said. “With the cherry blossoms … it really is. I’m glad to be here.”
But to the south in Okinawa, cherry blossoms are a case of “been there, done that.” Other parts of Japan may be celebrating spring, but Okinawa was looking downright summer-ish.
Naminoue Beach in Naha was the first public beach on Okinawa to officially open Sunday. About 80 children, residents and tourists enjoyed their first saltwater bath of the year, albeit a cold one.