Thursday 20 April 2017

Goodbye Cherry Blossoms, Hello Cherries

Pink cherry blossoms in full bloom and green leaves marking the end of the blossoms
Leaves sprouting on the sakura trees
Now in Japan, the sakura blossoms are falling fast, covering the streets with a blanket of pink (video below), and the green leaves are sprouting on the cherry trees, a phenomenon known in Japanese as ha-zakura (葉桜) - literally leaf-sakura. There is a real sense of disappointment since the best is over and those who didn't manage to organise their hanami party under the blooms will have to wait for another year. On the other hand, the cherry fruit season is just around the corner. Cherries are known as sakurambo in Japanese, which is typically written phonetically (さくらんぼ) rather than in kanji. They start appearing in supermarkets from late June and are very much a summer seasonal keyword (kigo =季語) in letters, poetry, and elsewhere in contrast to the spring rooted sakura. The red/pink sakurambo are rather expensive next to the imported dark American cherries which have become common in recent years - but the taste and texture are very different. One way to eat your fill is to join a cherry picking event such as the one here which is located in Yamagata Prefecture, the most famous area for cherries in Japan.