The midday sun has just reached the cherry tree and the view from our living room window is startlingly pink.   The window is on a level with the upper branches of the tree, ideal for appreciating the sheer quantity of blossom tightly packed around each branch.  The tree is rooted only six foot from a building and leans out strongly towards the light, but every branch is laden with flowers, whether in sun or perpetual shade.

The Japanese tradition of hanami or flower viewing, famously involves large parties picnicking among avenues of flowering cherries, but it can simply mean taking time to appreciate the beauty of a single cherry tree.  A Beginner’s Guide to Flower Viewing, found on japan-guide.com, advises:

Cherry blossom viewing is easy: simply enjoy the intensity of the many blossoms by looking at a single tree or a group of trees. From a distance, the trees appear as beautiful clouds, while the beauty of single blossoms can be enjoyed from a close distance.

The guide goes on to recommend that cherry blossom is particularly beautiful when viewed in combination with a castle, temple or shrine.  Making do without those refinements, I’m planning to enjoy some hanami with my lunch.