Not to get too political on a food blog, but all the conspiracy theorists who think three feet of snow in DC proves that climate change is a hoax just need to come visit Tokyo. Last time I checked, cherry blossom season was in April, or late March at the earliest. Well, these photos were taken yesterday and today, February 28. Yes, they're lovely... but it's feared that if the winters get any warmer Japan will no longer have cherry blossoms at all. They need a certain period of cold weather in order to bloom. I'd feel better about enjoying them if they'd make me wait until April.
These are just the first few trees to bloom, of course - though there are buds everywhere. These last two photos (unless, of course, they're actually plum trees - it's hard to tell sometimes) are from Aoyama Cemetery, where a whole grove of sakura has burst out in pink, an incongruous wash of bright color among the graves. The whole cemetery is lined with gnarled, ancient cherry trees, none blooming quite yet. It will really be gorgeous when they do.