(See page 2 for the German version)
One day you wake up and everything is different. The sun rays seem warmer, your room looks brighter and friendlier and the air flowing through the balcony door into your apartment seems to be fresher than before. Suddenly your bad winter mood is gone, you’re full of energy and new ideas. The world has changed. Spring has come.
Spring in Tokyo always seems to start all of a sudden. While yesterday you still needed a winter coat, today you could as well go out wearing a t-shirt. And of course there is the one thing that unmistakable marks the beginning of spring in Japan: The sakura trees. Already weeks before, on television and on the advertising banners in the trains, really everywhere, it is anounced when and where the most beautiful cherry blossoms will bloom.
Since the sakura flowers bloom only a very short time, and it is expected to rain the following week, on a Saturday in late March we rush over to Shinjuku Gyoen (also beautiful in autumn to admire the pink blossoms there, – like about ten thousand other people, families and tourists with the same goal in mind. You can especially see many proud parents with their cute little babies, which makes me wonder, if this is also a side effect of spring…Since you are not allowed to bring any alcoholic beverages in the park (which is a big contrast to the traditional hanami picnic with colleagues and all kinds of liquor), all bags get checked at the entrance of the park, which results in a long queue. Yes, indeed you have to stand in line to get into a park! In Tokyo, everything is possible.
As the park is big, the crowds are not that bad inside, and we can even find a nice small picnic place on the lawn. Sunbathing, when it is still not too warm, must be one of my favorite pastimes. And the sakura blossoms? They are, as always, beautiful to look at – even if they are not yet in full bloom (mankai) during our visit. The good thing is that they become alive again every year, despite all their poetic fleeting transience, – just like spring. And what could be better…? 😉