And so, the great Sakura spectacle returns to Japan. Unimpeded.
Hanami, or Sakura viewing, came much earlier this year and probably, for the first time since Japan opened its doors to the world, it is noticeably tourist-less. This, as air travel remains down due to the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, with losses now estimated by the International Air Transport Association at US$252 billion.
The outlook still remains bleak, as the World Health Organization has recently announced that the SARS-CoV-2 spread, which has broken passed 300,000 worldwide, had been rapidly accelerating.
How spot on could these words be:
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”James 4:13-16, NIV
With a lower rate of infection, Japan has not imposed any lockdown. But as situation remains volatile, and with some countries already announcing their withdrawal of delegates, it has been decided that the Tokyo Olympics will have to be postponed. For now, Japan’s biggest sports event for 2020 – probably, the world – would be the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament that was successfully held in Osaka, wherein yokozuna Hakuho set a record-extending 44 top-level championships by beating fellow yokozuna Kakuryu in the finals. No oohs and aahs from the fans, however, for the all-time great Hakuho, as the event from Day 1 to Day 15 was held without spectators.
However, Japan’s biggest natural spectacle remains intact, and people are still blessed to enjoy hanami, though cautiously: among family and a few friends, and without the usual grand festivities.
In the midst of man’s global quandary, the Sakuras are unimpeded, even early. It bids us:
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.Proverbs 19:21, NIV