Friday, April 11, 2014


Cherry Blossom Time
Cherry blossoms.

The long, chilly winter is finally over. The weather has been typical for April, with warm and sunny days alternating with cold and rain, The cherry blossom season was unusually short. Last weekend was our only chance for hanami, but the weather was mostly miserable. We gave up on a proper cherry blossom picknick this year, and just took a quick walk through Utsubo park before we escaped the weather at a nearby cafe.

Shinsaibashi in February this year. This is what much of April has felt like.

April is a time of change for people as well. April is when you start school, graduate, start a new job, a new project and move house, and it's usually the start of the fiscal year. Budgets and research grants go from April to March, so if you need something for work you either buy it in March to use up the last of your old budget, or buy it in April when you get access to the new one.

I ran into a welcoming ceremony for new high-school students in a park on Port Island in Kobe this morning. The horn section of the school band are warming up before their performance.

As I walked to work this morning, the sun was shining. It was already warm enough that I could walk in my shirt sleeves, and the trees were all glowing green with new leaves. I heard a brass band tuning up in the nearby park; a local high school were welcoming this years new students to the school. There's a hint of summer heat in the air today, not the threat of another cold wave. Today it finally felt as if the balance has shifted, and summer is coming. Change is in the air, and for now that feels good.

Spring Dress
A statue on Port Island is sporting a new spring hat, probably thanks to someone living in the apartment building next door.

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