The cherry blossoms are beginning to fade from the trees and in their place fresh green leaves are budding. This is one reason why Japanese love cherry blossoms so much. They are so delicate and their beauty is short lived. Fragile life to be appreciated in the moment and all the more lovely because it is so fleeting.
If the days are warm then all of us (the whole Japanese population!) go out cherry blossom viewing and search out parks and riversides and temples where the cherry blossoms are at their finest. Booths are set up along the road for selling fried noodles or squid or skewered bits of chicken. Sheets are spread out under the trees with arguments and confrontations about who has claimed the best spot, who has taken more than their share. Crates of beer will be lugged to the staked out areas and lunchboxes will be shared along with the delicacies sold at the booths. CD players will be brought along and impromptu singing contests will begin. Here and there people will pass out from drunkenness and garbage will overflow from the extra trash cans set out. Police will patrol the festivities watching for pickpockets, helping hung over visitors to their taxis, reuniting lost children with their families. All great fun but sometimes the cherry blossoms get forgotten in all the excitement.
My neighbor's dog, Taro, has his own cherry blossom tree and I often find him sleeping peacefully under it.
"Taro, you have the best cherry blossom tree in the whole neighborhood and you are the only one who really knows how to enjoy it!"