As I heard on the Tokyo news tonight (they do simultaneous translation to English which I listen to using my TV's bilingual function):
"And now the weather. The dandelions are now in bloom. The weather has been warming up, so they are now visible for us to enjoy. When it rains or is cloudy, they close up. So, it depends on the weather. And when it is windy, their seeds scatter. So we can enjoy the flower again next year."
That's certainly a different perspective.
And then they proceeded to talk about the cherry blossom front.
They have maps to show when the flowers are blooming across the country.
The cherry blossoms are a huge deal here. They are a signal of spring and a time to celebrate their fleeting beauty. People come out in droves for cherry blossom viewing parties, or hanami. Basically, people gather at parks, sit on tarps, and eat and drink under the blossoms. It has been wonderful fun. The weather has been much more pleasant lately and the blossoms provide an excellent excuse to be outside. Public drinking is legal here, so it has been interesting to see families with babies picnicking next to loud, drunk college-aged party-goers. Anyway, here are some of my best cherry blossom photos from the last couple weeks: