As usual, the Japanese are going nuts over the sakuras.
Each year, the whole country seems to be gripped in high suspense as to when the first flower will bloom.
Predictions of the first bloom are generously made in the mass media and when the first petal opens, pundits will deliberate the ‘sakura front’, detailing the wave of blooms from prefectures in the south to the north.
As if on cue, the Japanese would dash to the parks, jostling to secure the best spot to place their ground mats to party deep into the evening.
It normally takes about a week to reach full bloom after the opening of the first petals.
This year however, due to the somewhat unusual rise in temperature, it took just about three or four days to full bloom.
My favorite lunch spot in town is a Japanese restaurant that specializes in seafood from the Japan Inland Sea.
The shop refers to lady customers as ‘sakuras’, to differentiate them from greedy men like me who are normally served larger portions of rice.
Initially, I was curious.
Sakuras are pretty flowers.
So, I expected to see some sweet looking, petite office ladies, sitting demurely at the tables, waiting to be served quaint little dishes on mickey mouse trays.
But more often than not, I was disappointed.
Many of those ‘sakuras’ actually look more like ‘dry flowers’, or some, even, ‘wilted flowers’.
The weatherman says the rains are coming late today.
Come tomorrow, sakuras will be no more.
What’s left at the park will be a carpet of pinkish-white petals of wilted flowers…