Whoever is shouting “Sakura! Sakura! Sakura!”, can you stop that please? Oh, never mind, looks like it might be the voice in my head :-) Our recent trip to Japan was timed so that we would catch sakura (Cherry Blossoms) at its peak. Sakura did not disappoint us. It was there, on time, wherever we went. Such magnificent blossoms – some fluffy like snowflakes and some delicate like teardrops. They bloom with such beauty and force that you can hear your heart beating fast. Sakura – a magic that lasts for a couple of weeks, plays with your heart and then slaps you in your face and disappears just like that! It is no wonder then that during this time, even the locals get out on the streets in Japan – clicking photos, resting under the cherry trees, throwing parties and celebrating.
I enjoy watching the cherry blossoms in my neighborhood in Washington DC area every year. But this year, I joined the sakura in Japan. I held it in my hands, I drank it with my eyes and I kissed it without touching it. As we posed for the camera, we smiled and did the all-Japanese V-sign. And like all good locals do, we carried a little snack-pack for a party under the cherry trees (Hanami). I think the cherry tree under which we sat, threw her hands up in the air after witnessing our all-American Hanami complete with coffee and pastries that we had bought from Starbucks (Hey, one can’t get too Japanese too soon!). Finally, we said goodbye to sakura and caught the flight back home. I knew that by the time we would reach home, cherry blossoms in Washington DC would be over too.
BUT, cherry blossoms got delayed exactly by two weeks here. And now that I am back home, they are in full bloom. What? Haven’t I seen enough? What else am I supposed to see now? But wait, there’s more – something utterly weird has happened this year. The blooms are prettier than usual! I mean, they are freakin’ unbelievably pretty! I have asked my friends what is going on. They have hinted that the problem may be with me – that I am way too happy, too drunk over sakura. No, no, no! I don’t want to be too happy. Too happy is not too good! Let’s just go back to being moderately happy, or just being jetlagged and trying to get back in the routine? And let’s not put so many exclamation marks in a single blog post!! Damn.
But as I am driving back from work, I can see that I am rolling down the window to click a picture of the roadside cherry blossoms. Then the next minute ‘Locked out of Heaven’ is playing on the radio. BTW, love the “oh yeah yeah” part of the song. I want to get that beat out of the radio and wear it on my feet :-) Then there are these magnolias, forsythias, daffodils and weeping willows – all lined up and showing off far too much than usual. What’s up with that? There is sakura – at every turn, in every lane, above my head, in my phone’s photo gallery and all around me. I am almost afraid to drive to work tomorrow. Oh wait, it’s a weekend tomorrow. Phew! Good, no more driving on that road. I will just go for a short stroll in my neighborhood. But maybe I will leave my eyes half-opened so I can take a small, one last peek at the sakura and run straight back home before the humming in my head starts again and goes: “Sakura! Sakura! Sakura!”.