People usually associate the Japanese term "hanami" with cherry blossoms, but strictly speaking hanami means flower viewing. A literal practice of stopping to smell the flowers in the form of festivals, outdoor parties, and picnics. In Japan most festivals revolve around the cherry blossoms, but I'm trying to have a little "hanami" of my own in Northern Ireland with whatever blooms I can find. I did have the good fortune of studying abroad in Japan when the cherry blossoms bloomed (to go my spring semester was not a coincidence) and I can still recall how magical it felt to walk to school as pink petals floated through the air and kids rode by on their bicycles in a happy babble I was only just beginning to understand. It was one of those changing springs when not only winter is cast off but you also shed an old skin and your life starts to become something different. I feel a similar shift this spring as if more than the weather will change in the next few months. I'm rambling, in most ways this is just another ubiquitous "yay spring" post.
*pictures by Thomas