A New Year Has Begun!
April 21, 2015
Spring has sprung
In earlier posts, I mentioned that the new year (fiscal, school, etc.) begins in April. I guess it’s a habit from the Lunar calendar. April is also the time for one of the most exciting (to Japanese people) events of the year.
Ummm, they’re just flowers
When I say exciting, I probably should say popular or anticipated, but it never ceases to amaze me how much of a big event the blossoming of the cherry blossoms is. It’s on the news and it’s even part of the weather report. People even travel around Japan to go to their favorite cherry blossom place. Even minute difference in varieties of cherry blossoms spark interest.
“Have you ever seen the mountain cherry blossoms?”
“Ummm, no… Are they different?”
“Yes, they grow in the mountains.”
I seriously didn’t know how to respond to that. I suppose though, that it’s a good thing that people have such an appreciation for nature.
It’s beginning to look a lot like graduation?
As you may have guessed, the coming of the cherry blossoms signals the advent of change. Kind of like the first snowfall back home. (Of course where I’m from, when it snows,we all freak out.) The cherry blossoms signal graduation and moving on to a new school. Many companies transfer their employees, sometimes very far. The best and worst time to look for an apartment in Japan is in March. Everyone is moving!
One giant step for man, one giant step for Japanese kind
Back home,I would have never really paid much attention to the small changes. Sure, I would wait for the weather to finally warm up, but other than that, only Christmas and the last day of school meant anything.
In Japan, every minute point is marked and often talked about. There are even dates that have an alternate pronunciation and can be made to have a different meaning, like cat day! Yeah, I’ll have to explain that in a later post. There are ceremonies and meetings for every little thing!
To me, one of the most surprising things is that nobody is prepared for these changes. Every year seems like utter chaos. Perhaps it is because they are trying to make two systems work together, the old and new calendars. I work in public schools, so it’s more evident to me. There is basically a 2 week period between the end of the old and new school years. Back home, we have 3 months! Basically, they use spring vacation to try to get everything done. And theyre never prepared. The first month of my job in the new school year is mostly pointless. There’s no schedule!
Here we go again
So a new year has begun. Here I am again, but at a new school. It’s like doing everything for the first time again. But, at least there’s lots of ceremonies and events to go along with it.