The stage is set. The cherry blossom trees stand, near barren, on the banks of rivers, lining streets, and filling parks across Japan. Everyone is waiting, anticipating the first blooms. As the winds get warmer, people rush out to buy hibachis and beer packaged in cherry blossom cans. Posters of cherry blossoms line the streets and fill the subways and buses.
Amid all this anticipation–all this hype–the forgotten hero emerges. Like a trusted scout or royal food tester, the plum trees brave the frigid winds and sharp edged rain to poke their first pink blossoms into the oncoming spring. Soon the subtle pink flowers cover the plum tree’s bare winter branches. It’s beautiful. Bit in all the Cherry Blossom anticipation only a few passers by notice. Here might be one such conversation:
“Oh those pink flowers are plum trees?”
“I think so so, or apricots, or peaches or something. Anyway, lets go get a beer in a Cherry Blossom can.”
“You Buying? I have no cash.” (must be an English teacher.)
“Yeah, loser, guess I’m buying again.”
“All right let’s go then!”
The Plum tree is alone–in its lush pinkness–again. But those plum blossoms are not for nothing. All that bright pink–it’s a beacon for the Sakura. The all clear sign. If the plum trees survive, the temperature is right for Japan’s sacred bloom. Dutifully after a couple short weeks, as the plum blossoms start to wither and die, the Cherry Blossoms open up–filling the air in the wispy cotton candy white.
Let the drinking and barbeques begin. But as you sip your sake, lift a a glass for the tireless pink pioneers. The fruit that nobody actually eats. Because it sucks to be a plum blossom.