First and foremost, I would like to say to Rika Asakura, who wrote the March 20 letter to the editor “School closures are a cruel blow to children” —“Congratulations on your graduation from high school!”

The March 21 article, “In bloom? Celebrating Japan’s iconic cherry trees in a time of pandemic,” evoked one of my biggest worries and interests.

For Japanese, the sakura (blossoming cherry tree) is a unique pleasure. Their fleeting and fantastic beauty is usually comparable to our lives — short but meaningful. In addition, their petals have a light modest hue, indicative of one of our virtues.

History-wise, it is natural that the samurai ranks praised sakura, following aristocrats in the late ninth century. Now that this tradition is preserved, we commoners can enjoy viewing sakura every year.

The efforts of Yuji Kimura, sakura guardian, and others’ endless efforts described in the article to take care of the trees are truly indispensable. We much appreciate their feats.

The article states there are 908 songs with the word “sakura” in the title. However, some of them are negative, gloomy ones that beautify war and death in war. We need to keep that in mind.

Things have changed rapidly this year, because of the spread of the new coronavirus. The service industry, including travel agencies, accommodation facilities and retail outlets, has been dealt a great economic blow because Japan’s popularity as a tourist destination among overseas tourists has nose-dived.

For many Japanese, not being able to wine and dine under the cherry trees in groups is a great loss physically and mentally. How about beginning a new style? Just spend more time working out and watching sakura nearby your home. When you are hungry, eat some seasonable food satisfactorily at home. That will be inexpensive and provide relaxation.

With new ideas, hanami (blossom viewing) will not wither. This year could be memorable in a positive light, when we look back on 2020.

Mieko Okabe

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.