Do you have a birthday tradition? What about a birthday travel tradition? My friend Jared and I are two peas in a pod, we are goofy, love to sing (he is actually really good, me on the other hand….), and love to travel. We share the same birthday, and not just the same date but we are also the same age. Each year we like to celebrate our birthday in a different way; last year we went to Las Vegas, the year before that we celebrated in Denver, and before that Colorado Springs. I’ve known Jared for seven years and each year we have done something special for our big day. And as each year passes we try to one up our last birthday celebration. Last year’s festivities brought us to Japan.
Little did I know at the time the significance of sharing my birthday with the blossoming cherry trees.
We also had a song for Japan
I mentioned we liked to sing, right? We will sing just about anything. Jared usually picks a pop song and I usually make up my own jam. I had the perfect song for our Japanese trip and couldn’t wait to share it with Jared.
In middle school I was in band and attempted to play the flute. The one song I remember by heart from my flute playing days was a song called “Sakura”. Sakura in Japanese means a flowering cherry tree. What I liked best about this song was that we would play a bit on our instruments and then we would sing. I always wanted to be in the choir however the powers that be (my parents) decided on band. Maybe that is why I remember the song so vividly, it was my one shot at singing.
Cherry blossoms fill the air
Smell their fragrance everywhere
Winter time has finally gone
Now spring is here at last
*I Googled this song and NOTHING came up, I know I didn’t make it up. Tell me I am not crazy if you know this song!
What would be better than singing about Sakura while viewing the blossoms in Japan? Doing it with one of your best friends on your birthday. In early April, we were off to Japan with the “Sakura” song stuck in our heads.
Spring has sprung
During the months of March and April the cherry blossoms are blooming and hanami is in full swing.
What’s hanami? It means flower viewing. Thousands flock to Japan during the spring months to view the short-lived cherry blossoms.
Cherry blossom hysteria
The Japanese and tourists alike are crazy about them; there are festivals, outdoor parties that last until the wee hours, and just an overall madness to see the petite pink flowers.
But why? The blooming of the cherry blossom represents a new beginning. It’s the start of the new school year for kids in Japan as well as the start of a new fiscal year for Japanese businesses.
And while all things end…
The short blossom signifies that all things come to an end, but there is something new waiting around the corner.
For Jared and I our last year in our 20’s was upon us. It was the ending of another year, and on to a new one. One with new experiences waiting around the corner. One with new friends to be made and new adventures to be had. One with new learning opportunities and new chances to grow. One with a new number behind my age. One with a new outlook.
New beginnings are right around the corner
I’m thankful I get to share my birthday with the cherry blossoms. Sakura puts life, age, and time into perspective reminding me that we don’t have forever, we have right now and all things come to an end but with each ending there is always a beginning. Jared and I spent our last few days of 28 singing the Sakura song while watching the cherry blossoms enchant all those around with their beauty, frailty, and promise for new beginnings.