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White Day and Cherry Blossom 2018

White Day and Cherry Blossom 2018

Old Mar 13, 18, 3:22 pm
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White Day and Cherry Blossom 2018

Today, March 14, is White Day in Japan. What is White Day?!?!?!?!?

First, in Japan Valentine's Day on Feb, 14 is only from women to men and giving chocolate is very popular thing. Never from men to women on Valentine's Day in Japan, please do not make this mistake! And giving chocolate on Valentine's Day has became too much of commercial event (like any other stuff in Japan) in Japan.

Then they came up with White Day on March 14 and this is the day where men are supposed to give return gifts to women. Sure TV media make big deal about of White Day but not sure how commonly practiced by men in Japan.

Another timely information. At this moment starting of Cherry Blossom at Tokyo is forecasted for March 19. Usually peak is reached a week after starting of the blossom, which makes March 26 is forecasted as a peak of Cherry Blossom at Tokyo.

Starting of Cherry Blossom at Osaka and Kyoto is forecasted for March 23 at this moment, which makes March 30 as forecasted peak of Cherry Blossom at Osaka.Kyoto area.
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Old Mar 13, 18, 6:40 pm
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Weathermap JP sakura forecast in English https://sakura.weathermap.jp/en.php

Looks like I'll be missing Tokyo's bloom by a week or so and may need to head to Tohoku, Nagano, or Niigata if I want to see them in the second week of April or look for late blooming varietals.

White Day gifts seem to have a higher starting price than Valentine's Day chocolates. If giri choco budget averages ~ $50 for each woman https://www.forbes.com/sites/adelste.../#12369dc82022 , I would think the male would need to buy something a little more expensive in return given the return gifting rules https://soranews24.com/2015/02/24/wh...-a-guy-spends/ Also, while I would think a woman could give men at the same level the exact same obligation chocolate to avoid showing favoritism, do men have such an option? Or would they be expected to find many different gifts in the same price category so each is unique? I imagine the classroom/water cooler talk about who received what and who was cheap would be a hot topic.
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Old Mar 14, 18, 12:25 am
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Originally Posted by freecia View Post
White Day gifts seem to have a higher starting price than Valentine's Day chocolates. If giri choco budget averages ~ $50 for each woman https://www.forbes.com/sites/adelste.../#12369dc82022 , I would think the male would need to buy something a little more expensive in return given the return gifting rules
$50 is a lot to spend on chocolates. I've never spent that much on chocolates as gifts. And Japanese have so many other occasions throughout the year where they have to buy something nice for others... coworkers, friends, more coworkers. I work in US, and I essentially give and get zero gifts at work. I get nice gifts all the time from some Japanese acquaintances even though we're too frugal to fully reciprocate. When we go on trips, we spend very little on gifts for others. But it seems like Japanese people have obligation to buy a bunch of people nice gifts every time they take a trip. This not only costs money but also time. I've been involved in a couple of weddings in Jpn, and I couldn't believe the amount of gift money some of the guests were bringing. They make so much less money compared to US, yet their gift-giving budget is huge. It must be a huge strain financially for some. Sorry if I'm going off-topic, but this is something I've thought about from time to time.
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Old Mar 14, 18, 12:32 am
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
... But it seems like Japanese people have obligation to buy a bunch of people nice gifts every time they take a trip. This not only costs money but also time. ...
AKA - omiyage. One of those cultural things that make us so different.
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Old Mar 14, 18, 1:20 am
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
When we go on trips, we spend very little on gifts for others. But it seems like Japanese people have obligation to buy a bunch of people nice gifts every time they take a trip. This not only costs money but also time. I've been involved in a couple of weddings in Jpn, and I couldn't believe the amount of gift money some of the guests were bringing. They make so much less money compared to US, yet their gift-giving budget is huge. It must be a huge strain financially for some. Sorry if I'm going off-topic, but this is something I've thought about from time to time.
Here goes:
In order to visit Japan in Spring, I buy the tickets in autumn. Next step is the omiyage, both for our family, a few friends and for MrLapLap's ex co-workers. We're frugal too, so I hit the January Sales and look carefully at the products' expiry dates for June dates or later, but with a typical 75/80% off we can get decent gifts. Ends up filling a small suitcase. Thankfully, Air China have a very generous baggage allowance.
When it comes to omiyage, you can throw time and money at it. Or just money (there are specialist service staff in famous stores in London and many other major cities that will take care of it for you), or - like us - just time.

Last edited by LapLap; Dec 28, 19 at 4:52 am
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Old Mar 14, 18, 1:23 am
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(Can't edit the above, but meant to say I buy the tickets for Easter in October)
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Old Mar 14, 18, 1:32 am
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
I've been involved in a couple of weddings in Jpn, and I couldn't believe the amount of gift money some of the guests were bringing. They make so much less money compared to US, yet their gift-giving budget is huge. It must be a huge strain financially for some.
Around here (Kansai), it seems that the standard is about 30,000 yen for a single, 50,000 yen for a couple in the envelope. I think that the general thought is that half of your money gift goes to pay for wedding/meal expenses. The meal is always deluxe, sometimes more than deluxe, and the women and men dress up fully. Still, I know some singles who have really struggled after going to several friends' weddings within a few months period of time.
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Old Mar 14, 18, 1:33 pm
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
AKA - omiyage. One of those cultural things that make us so different.
I routinely buy omiyage-souvenir hybrid for my co-workers and many also do the same. We bring food/snacks communally shared which is offered in the spirit of "Thanks for taking care of my remaining workload while I was out" (omiyage) and "I'd love to share something tasty or interesting to share my experience" (souvenir) for longer international trips, not a random long weekend or a trip to a Disney park. People don't get upset if there isn't any omiyage though I have also mentioned especially great hometown snacks or sweets prior to an overseas trip home, as I think it is prudent to let people know what was appreciated if they're going to lug something back. I've also brought back some sugar free chocolate from Columbia which lingered for several weeks as it was not-to-our-taste (the learning was buy a small amount of a couple different things, taste them, then gift-able amounts of the best option if possible). Wrapping/presentation for the communal table doesn't really matter much though it is noted when it is impressive (Japan sets a high gift wrapping bar). I work near SJC for an American tech company and several of my co-workers are from various parts of Asia or American born variants.

A friend was a JET over 10 years ago and still exchanges Christmas gifts with his host family. He is not someone you want to get in a gift exchange war with as he will go to battle applying Japanese gifting rules. In fact, I have received gifts from him only after being told that "we're going by American gift rules" so I should not reciprocate under obligation and he does not want a return gift, or to be pressured into accepting a return gift. He just thought I'd like it and wanted it to be a finite gift transaction.
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Last edited by freecia; Mar 14, 18 at 1:50 pm
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Old Mar 14, 18, 7:03 pm
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I experienced White Day too when I worked in South Korea. From my observation it was about the same as described in Japan, minus the higher starting price. There wasn't an obligation to give chocolates that were 2x or 3x more expensive than those received in Valentine's Day. In Korea, there's also another "marketing holiday" a month later on Apr. 14 called "Black Day." Black Day is like a singles' appreciation day. If you didn't get anything on the previous two day, you and other single people would go eat Jjangmyeon, a Korean-Chinese noodle dish. Supposedly, its part of a theme of dressing in dark colors and feeling sad about one's single status on that day. Does Japan have anything similar?
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Old Mar 14, 18, 7:41 pm
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Originally Posted by AlwaysAisle View Post
First, in Japan Valentine's Day on Feb, 14 is only from women to men and giving chocolate is very popular thing. Never from men to women on Valentine's Day in Japan, please do not make this mistake! And giving chocolate on Valentine's Day has became too much of commercial event (like any other stuff in Japan) in Japan.
I was on vacation in Japan from 9th-17th Feb this year and was happy this year to (1) tell my wife to buy me chocolates, and (2) plan absolutely nothing for a change (When in Rome, do as the Romans do).

She ended up buying a chocolate box from a Valentine's Day Chocolates fair in one of the buildings at marunouchi oazo.
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Old Mar 14, 18, 7:44 pm
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Is there an official website for the 2018 sakura period?

I'm trying to plan and I'm getting too much conflicting info.

This website indicates (as of today) first bloom around 03/20 and full bloom around 03/27 for Tokyo - https://www.jnto.go.jp/sakura/eng/city.php?CI=10

This website, which another forum member linked to, has much more detailed info: ‚‰ŒƒXƒ|ƒbƒg‚ŠJ‰ԁE–žŠJ—\‘zbƒiƒr 2018 | ‚“V‹CƒiƒrƒQ[ƒ^

Why would Meguro river be at full bloom by March 22, Ueno Park by March 23, Chidorigafuchi and Sumida Park by March 24, etc. when the most recent update to the first website indicates full bloom generally anticipated around March 27th for Tokyo?

I know that nothing is concrete and it could all change on any given day but there are certain places I would like to visit at certain times of day and it would be helpful to coordinate if I had a better sense of which is more accurate or at least if I knew of an official source. For example, I would like to walk along the Meguro River from Ikejiri-ōhashi Station to Fudomae Station just after sunset (between 6-7pm) when the cherry blossoms are illuminated by lanterns and reflecting off the water. We have a dinner in Nakameguro on the 25th at 8pm but we'll be spending the day with friends in Kamakura and rushing back early to walk around seems like a very long and exhausting day. We have another dinner in Nakameguro on April 1st but it might be too late for cherry blossoms by then... other evenings we have non-flexible dinner plans between 7:00 and 7:30 in other parts of town, making it more difficult to fit this in... we'd have to visit during the afternoon. I'd just like to know of the most official and accurate source to better plan, as best I'm able. Daytime/afternoons are completely flexible but evenings require more coordination. If full bloom along Meguro River is anticipated for the 22nd I would somehow plan to visit between 03/22 - 03/25. I'm not sure if the link with projections for specific locations is reliable though.


EDIT: Just discovered the best app ever -- Sakura Navi
It appears to be official and is very detailed... you can select sakura spots from a satellite map all over Japan and then add them to your favorites for real time updates on blooms with probability bars that display accuracy of info as percentage. It costs $2.99 to download. You can also add a notification when passing within __km of sakura at full bloom, so you get an alert on your phone. It's incredibly helpful!


The only question I have now is ... how long do the cherry blossoms generally last once they've reached full bloom?

I know that is dependent on a number of different factors, but reliably, how long could they be expected to remain at full bloom -- what is a safe period of time for hanami at spots which have reached full bloom? 2 days? 3 days? 4 days?

Thanks!!

Last edited by OliverB; Mar 14, 18 at 8:12 pm
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Old Mar 14, 18, 11:19 pm
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Oh! The sakura app is in English now! I used the JP version last year https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...id.SakuraKaika and I think it is free?
JP iPhone version https://s.n-kishou.co.jp/w/app/sakur...ml?&fla=iphone
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Old Mar 15, 18, 12:18 am
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Can someone explain what it means at what stage?

I mean, at first bloom, it's a few blossoms, but mostly bare limbs? What happens after full bloom? Do they just drop off fast or do you get some time? How long?

Excuse the newb questions. I grew up with just palm trees and concrete, and now I have allergies so I avoid plants normally. But it looks like I'll hit the peak for Kyoto and miss Tokyo.
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Old Mar 15, 18, 1:06 am
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Yes. At first blossom it's mostly "bare" branches, but each branch is dusted with swollen pink buds and there are a few blossoms on each. Cherry trees that come into bloom at a time when there are green leaves on the branches is unusual during the main Sakura season.
Each the day the dusting of pink becomes more pronounced and the tree canopies look "fuller" and less straggly.
Originally Posted by codex57 View Post
What happens after full bloom? Do they just drop off fast or do you get some time? How long?
There is no definitive answer for this question. Some strong wind and rain and the blossoms disappear within a day or two. In clement conditions they should last up to a week. If a cold front descends, the blossoms go into suspended animation and can last another two weeks.

For me, the most beautiful moment is the Sakura Fubuki ("snow storm"), when strong breezes gather the petals into a whirling vortex. I can never count on seeing this and rarely do. When it happens,I treasure the moment.
it also brings another highlight of the season - the Sakura Carpet. At the start of full bloom the canopy above is lush and the carpet below is sparse. Each day the proportion changes until the branches are bare and all the pink is under you. Kids particularly enjoy catching the last of the falling flowers.
However, a place like the Meguro river is, I think, at its best when you are looking at full bloom above and a river completely coated in pink petals below. A couple of days after the advertised full bloom is usually the prime time for this.
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Old Mar 15, 18, 1:22 am
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Am making tentative plans now to go to Kiyosumi Gardens. Never been before, looks lovely, predicted full bloom date there is 6th April and there are different varieties of trees. No tarpaulin allowed in the gardens either - another plus.

Last edited by LapLap; Mar 17, 18 at 2:08 pm Reason: predicted full bloom date has changed
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