Blossoming trees everywhere mark the arrival of Spring. In Japan the appearance of the delicate sakura blossoms in March signals a time of hanami – 花見 – or flower viewing. Hanami is a nation’s appreciation of the glories of nature. The flowers are loaded with symbolism, their ephemerality a metaphor for the transience of life, but their coming is a time of celebration rather than mourning: outdoor picnics and parties complete with alcohol and laughter, cheerful conversation and snapshots in the parks and gardens, rather than morbid introspection.