Sakura

29 Mar

桜 (Sakura) or “Cherry blossoms” are in blossom now in the Tokyo area.

桜

Sakura are very important to the Japanese. They are a beautiful but fragile flower that is only in bloom for a short period every year (the warmer the climate, the earlier they bloom. Sakura in Okinawa blossom in January…but not til about June in Hokkaido (northern Japan)). For this reason, Sakura represents the fragility and beauty of life, that must be appreciated before it’s over.

When the Sakura are in blossom in Japan, people go to 花見 (Hanami) or “Cherry Blossom viewing”. At a Hanami, people put a sheet down under the trees and have a picnic together and appreciate the view.

Years ago, Japan gave Sakura trees to a number of American cities as a sign of friendship. And in places like Washington DC and Philadelphia now they have “Hanami” parties like in Japan.

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Anyways…

the school year is now over in Japan. Here, the school year (and the fiscal business year) is from April to March.

So, in April, my kids will all start a new school-year.

3 Responses to “Sakura”

  1. Mike April 1, 2008 at 7:44 pm #

    Our kids are doing year-round…they just started yesterday the final 9-week segment. We’re loving it; the year is divided into four 9-week pieces, with a three-week break in between each. It’s nice not to be bound to the cycle of agriculture unnecessarily.

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  2. tokyo5 March 29, 2008 at 2:01 pm #

    Linda…
    Thanks for commenting again!

    >Is there a one-month break between graduating from one class and starting the next?

    Japanese schools have a Summer, Winter, and Spring break.

    Summer break is from late July until the end of August. After which, the kids don’t start a new grade…in September they go back to the same class.
    Winter break is about two weeks. Late December until early January.
    Then the school years ends at Spring break, which is also about two weeks. Late March til early April.

    After Spring break, a new school year begins in April.

    Until about eight years ago, Japanese kids went to school six days a week. Only Sunday was off. But now, Saturday’s usually a day off too (sometimes there’s a reason that the students have to come in on a Saturday (such as “Parents Day” or “Sports Day”), at which times the following Monday is a day off.)

    >Obviously, not like the almost-three-month summer break we used to have as kids.

    A school year in Japan is longer than in America.

    >yesterday we saw the first gigantic “pitaya” flower bloom in our garden

    I just checked it out online. It seems that fruit grows in Okinawa, Japan too!

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  3. Aunt Linda March 29, 2008 at 1:59 am #

    Is there a one-month break between graduating from one class and starting the next? Obviously, not like the almost-three-month summer break we used to have as kids. I remember you said something about having August off, and the kids, too. I presume this is because you teach and have the same holidays. Here in Panajachel, yesterday we saw the first gigantic “pitaya” flower bloom in our garden–I’ll try and remember to photograph the next one and send it to you–they bloom at night and only last that one day–by the next night they’re closed and falling off what will eventually become the big fruit called pitaya–a delicious thing with fuchsia-colored flesh inside, and tiny black seeds–you eat it by cutting it in half (the fruit looks sort of like a dark pink artichoke, but softer) and eating it with a spoon. Beyond delicious, and when you have them in your own garden, you get to let them ripen in the sun, so you eat them slightly warm. Yikes–makes me hungry.

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