A long weekend just ended today with shunbun-no-hi, the vernal equinox. It was a nice day, so I went out and many other people did, too. The streets in Okazaki were bustling, and the atmosphere was quite energetic. Since many universities and high schools have their graduation ceremonies, there are lots of young people around wearing their finest kimono. It’s a lovely time to be out and about.

It is too early for a proper hanami yet, but some cherry trees here and there are in bloom already. I’m curious to see this neighborhood during hanami, the approach to Saginomori Jinja is lined with sakura trees, but overall, I’d say the area is better known for the koyo in autumn. This year, I have special plans for hanami – yozakura (evening lightup) to be precise. I’ll keep you posted.

And finally, from tomorrow, there will be no further Covid-19-induced state of emergency in Japan. We still have more than half a million active cases, but the numbers are declining rapidly. I received my invitation to the third shot already, I just have to make an appointment. I am really looking forward to ditching the masks, but that won’t happen anytime soon.

Spring is coming, and things will get better. For good, this time. Hopefully.