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sakura shambles

spring + Japan = cherry blossom celebrations

In Japan, the appearance of the pretty pink petals means that public parks up and down the archipelago will be packed with party people partying till they go positively potty. Except in Osaka.

This year, it's all gone a bit wrong.

When the authorities planted the seeds for the blossoms a few months back, little did they know that a mix-up of astronomical proportions had been made.

It was only when the buds bloomed last week that they realised they'd planted the wrong seeds. So this year there are no pink blossoms in Osaka. Only yellow ones.

For the first time since hanami (blossom viewing) was invented 22 years ago, the people of Osaka are faced with having to postpone their parties.

Last Tuesday, on the official day of blooming, people awoke expecting to see their city awash in a beautiful sea of pink. Instead they were faced with this....

Sadly, they're nowhere near being anything like pink.

Pretty, but the wrong colour.

Farmers across the city are hurriedly planting new seeds in the hope that little pink cherry blossoms will bloom later this month, but inside their heads they know it's too late.

A farmer on a miniature tractor works in vain for the people of Osaka.

Some cherry blossom plants are just beginning to show, but they won't be ready until at least December....

At the same time last year, this park was filled with people drinking lots of beer and sake while enjoying the cherry blossoms and lots of beer and sake....

....but now it stands empty because everything has turned yellow.

Some people have taken to partying under pink potted plants, but it's just not the same....

A potted plant is clearly no substitute for the real thing.

Is THIS the man responsible for the shambles?

Probably not.

A friendly person.
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On Friday, 04 April, 2008, Anonymous JimBlogs said:

Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve listed you on Japan in Motion’s new “Blogs on Japan” site. This is a new project we’re trying out in the hopes of directing attention to Japan-oriented blogs that we especially like, written from a foreign perspective. They’ll include both well-known blogs and some that are flying under radar. If there are any Japan-based blogs you’ve enjoyed, or read regularly, maybe you could leave a comment and let us know. Thanks, and keep up the good work!  

On Friday, 04 April, 2008, Anonymous Neil Duckett said:

JimBlogs ... you can add me too please!  

On Friday, 04 April, 2008, Blogger Mike said:

Hey add me too!  

On Saturday, 05 April, 2008, Anonymous Scotty.VOR said:

Oh, add me too! Wait...I don't have a blog.

Why not add the guy on the poster; a face as friendly as that must be blog material. I mean, look at that tie.  

On Monday, 07 April, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said:

I was in OSaka recently and I saw pink trees.  

On Tuesday, 08 April, 2008, Blogger Rick said:

Can you explain something for me?

I thought Cherry Blossoms are on Cherry Trees, many of which are years old.

During my two years at Camp Zama I only noticed Cherry Trees during the blossom season. We had some really beautiful ones Zama.

Last year I saw the blossoms at the Imperial Castle in Tokyo but those were trees as well.

I asked my wife, who was born in Tokyo about this and she had no idea what you are talking about. To her you only go to see Cherry trees during the blossom season.

So exactly what plant did they intend to seed in Osaka? Do they do things a little differently in Osaka?  

On Wednesday, 09 April, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said:

Was this some sort of joke to see if we're paying attention? I agree with Rick (and his wife) - having spent a fair amount of time in Japan (and in Washington DC, home of a beautiful Cherry Blossom Festival)- cherry trees have lovely pink blossoms and take years to grow. No one involved in a real festival is planting annuals.  

On Wednesday, 09 April, 2008, Anonymous scotty.vor said:

Rick, Anon, you heard of salt? Take a pinch of it, especially when reading Englishman's entries. :P  

On Wednesday, 09 April, 2008, Anonymous Michael John Grist said:

I went to Osaka especially to see the pink blossoms, so you can imagine my shock and surprise when all I saw was a sea of yellow blooms.

Most disappointing. I must have been the only person in the park sat on a blue ground-sheet drinking chu-hi and trying to admire yellow flowers.

It just isn't the same, you know?

Am glad the Englishman is warning people. Osaka is a place prone to this kind of mistake.  

On Friday, 11 April, 2008, Blogger Ana Cristina said:

Hi, it´s a nice and quite interesting blog! I'd love to visit Japan!
Cristina, from

On Monday, 14 April, 2008, Anonymous Michael said:

April Fool's jokes are only funny when you think of them in time for April 1st... Would've been better to save it for next year, in my opinion.  

On Monday, 14 April, 2008, Blogger GAPS said:

Ho ho ho.
I think April 1st is more likely to be the only day the Englishman would post a a completely straightforward story - just to catch us slightly more switched-on types off guard.  

On Sunday, 20 April, 2008, Anonymous Jamaipanese said:

yellow eh? ooh well it could be worse!  

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