Cherry Blossoms Japan
Cherry Blossoms in Japan
Leora B. Lobdell  
No matter how extravagantly the books describe or the pictures portray the cherry blossoms, just believe every shade and tone of it, for it is all beautifully true. This warm April morning has proved how wonderful Japan can be in a rain storm when the cherry blossoms are at their best.
At seven this morning I walked up and down the porch to drink deep the fragrance of it all. There was the spacious garden, bordered by the bamboo hedge, just beyond the narrow street, and on the other side the high fence of our Japanese neighbor. Not a base ball fence, by any means, but a ten-foot fence of neatly woven bamboo topped by a luxuriance of glistening foliage.
An old woman, in a limp kimona, towelled head and bare feet, paddled through the mud bearing a big basket on her back. She was wrinkled and dirty, bent and burdened, but the dainty white cauliflower, with its fresh green leaves peeping above the basket's rim, proved that age and humble condition had not separated the old woman from nature's works of true art.
Just then a young woman came clicking along on her wooden shoes, which lifted her kimona free from the muddy street. Her clean, pretty gray kimona with its bright red sah, her big yellow and black umbrella and her erect figure, showed the brighter side of life in Japan. And how the blossoms greeted them both!
For high over the street, in the warm, bright rain, the cherry blossoms were nodding. They were baby blossoms, pink and frail, cuddling and nodding on the swaying boughs, gracefully greeting their neighboring buds as the rain and the breeze tossed them hither and thither. They seemed to know that the dull gray trees had been lonely a long, long time, so they blush and nod and smile away in the glistening drops of rain, as if to assure all nature that they have a joyous message, that they come to brighten and to bless.
And they are all about us—everywhere. Just behind our house, at the foot of the mountain, is a park full of tiny t?a houses, miniature lakes, splendid old temples and stately pines. Against the magnificent background made by the pine trees are masses of pink cherry blossoms. "Exquisite" is the only word that describes them, and even that is meanly poor, because they have a gracefulness, a color and a daintiness peculiarly their own. All Shidzuoka, and indeed all Japan, is rosy pink just now-masses of bloom greet us on every hand. We do not exclaim; we take them as Heaven's gift to Japan. And such they really are.