April has always seemed to be one of the most standout months in Japan. Since my time coming here, I have thought of it as Japan’s “second New Year’s.” It is certainly a season of rebirth, as the Sakura come out for its annual celebration, the animals come from their hibernation to nab the picnic leftovers, Buddha’s birthday is celebrated at a variety of temples, and new faces of both students and teachers alike come to the schools. For some of you, this will be your first time experiencing this immense change. For others, this will be just another happening during your JET tenure. For a select few, this will be your last time dealing with such an adjustment. Regardless of your JET year standing, I would say embrace whatever change you encounter while you can. It will pass sooner than you realize, just like the Sakura does every year.
However, one of the most important things to do during this month is get outside! Your body will be craving some sunshine after the long stints inside during the winter. This is the perfect time to take a hike, visit that local shrine, temple, or mountaintop, and soak in the Vitamin D. It will do your mind and spirit good, I promise.
Hyogo AJET and Block 6 will be hosting a variety of events to help all of you get out and enjoy the outside as well. The first weekend of April will have both the Block 6 Hanami party at Osaka Castle and the Hyogo AJET Hanami event at Himeji Castle. Make sure to check out your local area’s Hanami events as well! The Block 6 Biwa Boat Ball will be held in May, and the annual Awaji Island Camping Trip will be held in June. I’m currently working out the details for the camping trip, but I promise it won’t be something to miss!
I mean it when I say I look forward to Spring in Japan every year. I like opening my door in the morning, feeling the warmth of the sun and seeing my apartment’s tree in full bloom right in front of me. Even taking the bus from Awaji to the mainland, I love looking over the patches of pink along of the mountaintops. Back home, I grew up among corn fields and the flattest lands around, so being able to be in a place that revels in the coming of spring (and actually has some altitude) is really special. As this is my last year, I don’t know where I’ll end up next. But I know that Japanese Spring will always have a special place in my heart, even if I have to accept the pollen that gets into the rest of my system as well.