Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Spring has sprung in Osaka, and it has been nice enough to parade around in a t-shirt recently. This may be my favorite time of the year. Of course, in Japan, as Spring continues to bloom on us, that means it's time for cherry blossom viewing, known as Hanami among the natives. The combination of trees blossoming and weather nicening creates the perfect reason to BBQ or just stroll through parks admiring the delicate change of the seasons. I say Hanami as though it were an English word, and it's true that us non-natives call it by the Japanese name, but it's just the best way to describe it. We have incorporated this and many other words from our host's language into our own blend of the most malleable language on the planet.

I remember my first Spring in Osaka, gullibly asking a then veteran employee at my office if he had gotten a chance to do any blossom viewing. He responded by saying that I hadn't been here long enough and that, after doing it once, it was all the same. I didn't share his opinion and have since gone blossom viewing many times. It's particularly appealing at night, when all of the crowds have dispersed and the trees are only the quiet spirits of the park, the pink and white canopy of blossoms a kind of ethereal, ghostly light with the moon.

Unfortunately, my current work schedule doesn't allow me to enjoy the Spring, the sun and blossoms as much as I would like to these days, working during the wee hours and sleeping at the others, but I still get in my licks when I have to. I managed to attend two late morning Hanami parties over the past week. It's a good excuse to drink beer at 8:30 AM.

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