Blossoming trees are a common sight in suburban streets at this time of year, one of Japan’s most beautiful exports. One year ago today news of the Tohoku earthquake reached us and by the evening the true extent of the disaster began to sink in. The London Borough of Ealing has a substantial Japanese community and there was a great deal of local sympathy for those affected. I cannot see a tree like this without thinking of the “sakura zensen” (the “cherry blossom front”) which is tracked by Japan’s metereological service as trees begin to come into flower, sweeping across the country from the south.
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