"If I were asked to explain the Japanese spirit, I would say it is wild cherry blossoms glowing in the morning sun!"
— Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801), nativist thinker and poet

The cherry blossom is not just another pretty flower. Pause to consider, as you feast, drink and carol beneath the blushing petals this season, how ancient a rite of spring your frolics are perpetuating.

Not infinitely ancient — the Nara Period (710-784), being Chinese in orientation, imitated China in preferring the darker, more fragrant and more assertive plum blooming a few weeks earlier on similarly leafless branches.