Spring in Japan blooms on trees, with ume (plum) in February and sakura (cherry) in late March being the most eagerly anticipated.
Having grown up in Canada, I’m used to spring sprouting from the ground and up through the last of the snow in late March to early April, not bursting forth from trees in what should be the depths of winter. But I love it. Having a bit of colour practically year-round is a treat.
This year, the ume are a bit late. It seemed to take forever for the little buds to bloom into delicate white, red and pink flowers. The most common variety of ume are now reaching the end of the season, but this bright pink variety is just getting started. I think it’s my favourite, because in addition to the nice, strong colour, the blossoms smell divine.