The peak of the sakura is upon us, as is the beginning of a new school year, with new teachers, students, and seating arrangements. April is here!

 

My first ever hanami was preluded by a night of making yakisoba and peanut butter cookies (sorry Sarah!). My friend and I were not the greatest of cooks at the time (and I remain thus), so the slightly congealed noodles we ate the following morning necessitated copious amounts of adult beverages to wash them down. After the revelry, around 14 of us descended upon El Zocalo near Amemura and completely overwhelmed the staff, as well as taking up practically all of the restaurant. This was then followed by stomping through the rain to an hour of カラオケ. All in all, a good time was had.

 

In our biggest issue of the year thus far, we have a plethora of articles to entertain you as you take breaks from frantic lesson planning (should you happen to be a procrastinator and/or have received your class schedule ridiculously late). To button up the end of the year before moving on, Rory shares not one, but two opinion pieces on the institution of junior high school graduation, and Scott reflects on the staff shuffle. Should you want to get out of your town on the weekends and explore, Larisa and Emma both return after hiatus with articles on the Hanshin Tigers, and alternative transportation methods to KIX respectively. In addition, there are articles on Gokayama and the nerdiest stretch of shops in Sannomiya. Mandy shares a novel recipe and a poem for our newest section. In The Refuge is the seventh part of Sometime Last Week and a tale of a man who catches both an unexpected disease and visitor. Our alumni this month is Ryan Hertel.

 

Should you want to get in on the hanami action happening this weekend, there are a great number throughout the prefecture, some of which can be found in our calendar. AJET also has two events for your blossom-viewing pleasure. The Block 6 & 7 party will be happening at Osaka Castle tomorrow, April 2, and the following day, Himeji Castle will host HAJET. On this road trip that is JET, what will it amount to if you don’t take the time to enjoy the company and consumables? It can only be made better by looking at the flowers.

 

Brittany Teodorski