Yesterday was the first official day of spring in Japan. It seems so strange to me that spring could start so early, only compounded by the fact that it's been sleeting and snowing all day long. But the longer I think about it, the more I think I understand. While the weather might still be what I associate with winter, the first week of February is when the ume (Japanese plum) flowers start blooming.
They're not as famous as the cherry blossoms, but I love that even in the month when we're most likely to have snow in Tokyo, trees all over the city are bursting out with pink, white, and purple flowers. In fact, I can't think of a better reason to designate it spring. So while all of you over there in the west face the rest of winter I'll be trying to ignore how cold I am and enjoying the early spring flowers instead.
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