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Regifting Japan’s Cherry Blossoms

I have been unable to look at the images that have been coming out of Japan since the  magnitude 8.9 earthquake and 23-foot tsunami devastated the north eastern portion of that country. They’re too surreal.

That the people I know, former co-workers, who have returned to work at headquarters in Tokyo and their loved ones are okay, have brought little consolation. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like being in Japan at the moment or being a Japanese outside of Japan. My friend, Maiko, misses her family and wishes she could go home. My co-workers are torn.

It’ll be several years before things will be “normal” again. The emotional impact will take even longer to heal.

But I know Japan will recover and rebuild – just like she did after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Instead of looking at the images of destruction, I find myself being drawn instead to photos of the cherry blossoms my cousin took last year when we met in Washington, D.C. Cherry Blossoms were given to D.C. in 1921 by the then mayor of Tokyo. Every year, they turn the area around the Tidal Basin pink, perfume the air with a sweet, clean scent and invite thousands of visitors to stroll, stop and smell the beautiful flowers. It is a sure indicator of spring’s impending arrival.

This year, the festival will be held from March 26th – April 10th. If you’ve never seen it, you owe it to yourself to do so. In an interesting twist, the National Park Service announced a few weeks ago that it would be sending cuttings from the original cherry trees back to Tokyo for propagation.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear threat, this is a wonderful regifting.

You can do your part to help Japan by sending a donation to the Red Cross, the Japan Society or other relief agencies that are assisting the Japanese people in their time of need.

Tidal Basin Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms

Up close

Monument Blossoms

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