Sayonara Sakura: Notes on Leaving Japan

The cherry (sakura) blossoms have been rained and blown away, after blossoming just in time for my arrival April 5 1992. They were incredibly beautiful, a suitable icon for Japan's celebration of spring .

At 7am Sunday, the parks along the Tamagawan river south of Tokyo were already crowded. Several baseball games were in process, the golf driving range was almost full, and joggers were stretching more than running. One baseball team was leaving; they must have started at daybreak, around 5:20.

In contrast to my business week, when there was almost no personal contact even within crowds, many people shouted Ohio Gozimasu (good morning) to me as I jogged past. They were very friendly, and seemed happy walking dogs, jogging, and shopping. I also passed a large smelly parked truck filled with fish parts, apparently discards from last night's restaurant businesses.

Later, I went through Ueno park on my way to the airport. It was crowded, as were the nearby shops and markets, with people enjoying spring, and celebrating the last cherry blossoms. They appeared kind, smiling, and gentle despite the crowds.

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