Friday, March 17, 2006


Cherry Watch

This is the time of year when I begin to watch the trees for signs of leaves. Spring has already sprung in my hometown, but in New York, things take much longer.

I read a story this morning about how the Japanese Meteorological Agency is working overtime to acurately predict this year's blossoms. Apparently they screwed up last year and this badly hurt their reputation.

Last year, the first forecast had cherry blossoms blooming in Tokyo on March 30. The third and final forecast moved up the blooming date to March 27.

However, cherry blossoms actually began blooming around March 31, four days later than forecast.

With blooming in other areas also coming later than predicted, the agency was flooded with calls from residents complaining that cherry blossoms in their neighborhood had yet to bloom.

This is how seriously the Japanese take their cherry blossoms.

As for me, I am watching the cherry blossom status map at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. So far, not a bud in sight.

Last year I tried to have a hanami party. I wanted to have it in Brooklyn, but you aren't allowed to bring food into the Botanical Gardens, so I dutifully read through Japion and found some nice spots in Central Park and invited friends. On the designated day, it rained and I had to cancel.

This year I am thinking of moving the party indoors with some fake blossoms; I'll make some sushi for a hanami in the Park and just invite a few people who can move at a moment's notice (ie when it is not raining and the trees are blooming). For the indoor party, I thought I would get some fake branches (and a few real). This is the best artificial cherry flower I've found so far. This company had another model which I liked but is sold out; I may have to stick with this.

Once I get all these things sorted, I'll have to start in on making some sushi and finding some halfway decent sake!

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