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Sakura in Tokyo: A Virtual Hanabi (Flower Viewing) with John Ota

downtown Tokyo

Promenade of sakura in downtown Tokyo. It is a national celebration. On our podcast Chako Setoyama tells us that the Japanese government planted thousands of cherry blossom trees in Canada as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.


Fran and Sakura
Franny, John Ota's spouse, with their tour guide, the great Jun Hayashi. Tokyo, April 3, 2015. Fran retired from working for the Ontario government for 30 years the day before, so she is particularly happy in the sakura. 


Many Japanese wear dark clothing so as not to stand out in a crowd. Franny missed the memo! It was all good - John could always find her all over Japan. 


building and sakura
Houses and temples in Japan are not painted, their wood left natural to show the grain - a perfect backdrop for the sakura. 
sakura on ground
The ground is a soft, beautiful carpet of sakura petals. In our podcast, Consul-General Sasayama tells us about Hanami parties. Hanami literally translates to "flower watching" and is an annual celebration of Sakura and springtime. People gather around cherry blossom trees with family and friends to enjoy delicious drinks and food under the beautiful pink trees, often with the petals gently snowing from the branches when in full bloom.
bridge and sakura
In our podcast, James Heron tells us the Japanese track the bloom of the sakura across Japan from south to north by the blossom forecast known as the “sakura-zensen.”

All photographs by John Ota.