I have just spent two weeks in Japan and though we saw wild monkeys, deer and a 3000-year-old cedar tree, there wasn’t a cherry blossom in sight. We had missed the traditional hanami season, where everyone gathers for a picnic beneath the cherry trees to celebrate the beauty of the ephemeral blossoms.
Then we returned to Zürich where it had been snowing on the day we left. And to my surprise, our street was lined with tree after tree of cherry blossoms, all at the peak of their bloom. The petals are slightly darker and the trees perhaps less elegant than the sakura you would find in Japan, but they are indeed beautiful.
My heart, heavy from leaving family and friends behind, lifted.
As I mentioned this to a neighbor, she mentioned a spot by the Mythenquai that is perfect for hanami. Apparently, there is one magnificent cherry tree in the middle of the Rentenwiese – around April. She goes to this spot every week to check on the blossoms because, as we all know, the weather can be incredibly unpredictable at this time.
As soon as they start to bloom, she rounds up her friends for a picnic - sake included.
Unfortunately, by the time I found out about this hanami spot, the rain had fallen (together with hail) and pretty much obliterated the blossoms along our street. Our car, which had not been used for a while, suffered the consequences. Next year, I will be heading down to Enge as often as I can and I will certainly be there for the blossoms.
Whether we will be singing karaoke is to be decided!