April looms in the horizon as we are left chasing the shadows entailing March. Normally, we would be welcoming a pink sky of cherry blossoms now but this year, we were all caught by surprise by one of the earliest blossoms of the sakura. The meteorological stations blamed it on the glaring difference in temperature between the unusually harsh winter and the abnormally warm spring, but maybe there was a conspiracy behind it.

The inconspicuous line dividing the third and fourth month of the calendar is normally brought to life by the blooming of the cherry blossoms in Japan. Coincidentally, it also marks an end to graduates and a new beginning to freshmen. Such is the significance of the sakura to Japanese, that it is commonly mistaken as the national flower. In other aspects, the sakura is symbolically representative of the Japanese spirit. From the first blossom to its full bloom, then to its withering, it lasts for a mere 2 weeks. We should not mourn for its short-livedness, but cheer for its short liveliness. Within the short 2 weeks, millions of Japanese gather for flower viewing parties or hanami, to appreciate the beauty of the pink skies, or celebrate the end of beginning it brings along, or perhaps as an excuse to get intoxicated in the day.

Magically, when the sakura falls off the branch onto the ground or into the river, it does not signify an end, because when time passes by, the sakura will be back for sure, celebrated by millions of people all over again.

The short sakura story is analogous to the essence of the Japanese spirit. It is not about the quantity (period of time) but about its quality. Appreciate its beauty while you can, because before you know it, it is all over. Life is short, so live it like a hanami- make friends, appreciate them, enjoy it and get high.

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Perhaps the short life of a sakura represents the short period of transition between an end and a beginning. There is little time to adjust to your next phase in life, so do it quickly. Last year when the sakura blossomed, I graduated, yet still at a loss in the maze of life. I stumbled a few times before encountering a life savior that gave me a job. But as things are not always smooth-sailing in life, it went a little out of what I had expected. A few months went past, as I was left wondering what I was doing in life. Just a few months back, someone recommended me to a job that was close to what I had always wanted to do.

It jostled me back to reality, and it dawned upon me that I was being controlled by my life, not vice versa. I was given the opportunity to turn things around, and so I tried. It went smoothly and now I got a new job. Coincidentally or not, it is the season of sakura again. Perhaps the sakura bloomed earlier this time because of the weather irregularities, or perhaps it came to celebrate the twist of fate in my life.

I am now back on track again, ready for the new journey ahead. Uncertainties and apprehension cloud the path ahead like the pink clouds of sakura, but I am sure that before long, it would all wither and fade away, as the clear vision of my goal would guide me toward the greater dream.

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