No doubt about it, the blooming of the Sakura (or Cherry-blossoms) is the highlight that kicks off Japan’s spring, but this year it was anything but usual. For starters, the unusual amounts of warmth and sun we had early on in the year triggered the blooming of the Sakura in the Tokyo area 2 weeks sooner than normal. On top of that, usually when Sakura starts to bloom, it all turns very fast and goes full bloom — the pinnacle moment of the Sakura experience. This year it was a long, drawn out drama that intensified and played out before our eyes.
But on a personal note, what made this year so unusual was that we finally got to have Grandpa and Grandma with us again. It had been almost 4 years since they last visited — not because they didn’t want to, but because they couldn’t. They lined their trip up precisely to come when the kids were on Spring Break, and in amazing fashion the Sakura collaborated by blooming right as they came. It all worked together for a most memorable year of unusual happenings, one in which we could try to pack in 4 years worth of memories in one visit.