is for haru, or the Japanese word for Spring. Sometimes, the winters in Japan feel unbearably long. In February, all of the traditional holidays surrounding the coming of spring happen, but the season doesn’t actually start feeling present until about April. Then, all of sudden, as quickly as the cherry blossoms burst (spring’s most famous feature), people are out on their blue picnic blankets, outdoor dining is resumed, and night entertainment on the Kamo returns.
There is a special sort of smell in the air around this time, and there is really no Spring Fever like Japan Spring Fever. People drink too much, flirt too much, eat too much, but no one cares –– after a grueling winter, everyone is eager to get outdoors and be active again. Spring is also the first typhoon season of the year, with the storm (or storms) hitting sometime in May. We always hope they’ll be late, because after that, the humidity starts, and then, the long, hot summer that makes us wish for the chill of winter all over again.
Spring is a tough time to live in Kyoto. While I really love the flowers, the sheer amount of people that suddenly bust out of the woodwork can be a bit overwhelming, and with tour buses and tour groups clogging streets they shouldn’t be on, sometimes I wonder how it is I make it home in one piece.
Still, it is a beautiful season… I love watching the blossoms float down the Kamo River on their way down from the mountains. It’s so peaceful.
Images hosted on Flickr.