Already the Ides of March... not a very propitious date it you happen to be Caesar, I suppose, but not at all bad if you are a struggling translator hoping to escape the chills of winter and be able to work with the windows open. And while I can't see them from here, the morning walk with the dogs revealed a whole stand of cherry trees in full bloom! Strange, because all the other trees nearby still show green buds, but if it stays as warm and sunny as it is today it won't be long before the park is full of pink trees and revelers.
The plum trees have been blooming for a while now, but I just saw the first cherry blossoms of the season. They sure feel a bit early to me, and the news seems to agree: it's been talking about how the cherry are blooming a week or two ahead of schedule.
In Japan at this time of year, along with the daily weather report, they also report on the sakura zensen (桜前線; the cherry blossom front, like a cold front or a high-pressure front). As the weather gets warmer, the TV shows a map of Japan with the sakura zensen drawn in, showing where the cherry are in full bloom, with "blooming soon" regions in the colder areas and "leafy" in the warmer areas. And an awful lot of people in Japan pay attention to these reports, scheduling their cherry blossom viewing parties (花見; hanami, which actually just means "flower viewing") accordingly. Murphy's Law applies in Japan as well, making it possible for all of these people to come to the same park that I go to, at precisely the same time.