Spring is here, and slowly, the world reemerges from darkness. Forgotten sensations are reawakened and one begins to remember what certain experiences felt like throughout their entire lifespan. Little smells of what things smelled like when you were 3, sounds you remember from when you were  7; spring seems to loosen everything and it doesn’t matter how old you are. You just want to go outside and start talking to people for no reason. People you might have passed every day without saying a word to during the winter, perhaps for the very reason of your not saying a single world to them during the winter. With everything drowned in life, each breath seems to be pregnant with the great antidote to all weakness and impassivity: “why not.”

The locals are spending more time outside, most of them dawning white masks across their faces to protect themselves against airborne pollon. It seems that the Japanese continue to wear these masks during every season for some reason or another, and it difficult to ascertain whether or not the Japanese immune systems are as weak as the people themselves believe them to be. Frankly I believe (or rather, am aware that) the majority of  the symptoms of our maladies are psychosomatic in nature, and that all this mask-wearing could actually be contributing to a weakness against the elements. The people here don’t seem to mind wearing them though, and they have become so commonplace that some probably don’t even realize that they are wearing them. There are a few people that I know that have literally worn masks every day since the beginning of winter and I don’t believe I would be able to recognize them without them. The pollon actually is quite bad here, though, and luckily it appears that I am unaffected.

It is true that the Japanese have a keen appreciation for their distinct seasons. I live in the hills of Yosshino, which is understood to be the best place  in all of Japan to view the famous Sakura blossoms. I arrived here in August of last year, but it was not until now that I realized the magnitude of how abundant the Sakura trees are in this area. Some of the hills here are literally blanketed with them. Through April, people will be flocking around from all over the world to amble around and snap photos of the scenery. The buds are just starting to open up and wil probably be in full-boom within 2 weeks or so. Soft explosions of life.

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