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The Beginning of Spring

Ewa Nowogorski

Spring begins almost too early in Japan, and if it wasn’t for the plum trees begging to show their vibrant pink blossoms, one would think that it’s still the dead of winter. Being one of the coldest months in Japan, in February most of the trees are still bare and seemingly lifeless. It really is only the budding plum trees that inform us of the changing weather. Technically, spring doesn’t officially begin until early March, but in the old Japanese calendar, it begins in early February.

February, despite being bitterly cold, already starts to show the trademarks of spring. There is color in the plum trees, there is more sun, and the people of Japan seem to be more cheerful. Even more colorful than Christmas, you can often see illumination shows in popular cities.

There are also many snow festivals not in December or January, but in February, when the weather conditions are just right for that fluffy, stick-to-the-ground kind of snow. The Sapporo Snow Festival, the Zao Snow Monster Festival, and the Tokamachi Snow Festival are just some events that celebrate with snow, ironically during a time when everyone is getting ready for spring.

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