The cherry blossom, or sakura, is Japan’s unofficial national flower. The cherry blossom season is relatively short and most varieties of cherry trees only blossom for a few weeks at most in the spring. From late March to early April, cherry blossoms go into full bloom all over Japan! The flower is a symbol of spring in Japan, and the season marks the beginning of a fresh new fiscal and academic year in Japanese society. Although this year’s cherry blossom viewing celebrations have been subdued across the country with respect to the thousands who have lost their lives and many still suffering – the sight of the flower still brings hope and optimism for better days still to come. Today, April 11th marks 1 month since the deadly earthquake and tsunami struck off the northern coast of Japan.