Yes, the cherry blossoms are really amazing. At first, I didn't think so. Pink and white blossoms on trees? Big deal. Redbuds and dogwoods drifting mists and clouds of pink and white and fucshia in the spring green of the North Carolina foothills--now that's beautiful! But as the cherry trees filled out, I really began to appreciate their beauty. The pale pink against the stark, dark bark of the delicate trees is very striking, and watching the tiny snowfall of pink petals drifting down onto picnickers dotting the green grass of the park, with the bright blue skies above...well, I began to understand the Japanese obsession with them!
I took a walk through the park, watching two women picnicking with their small children, while nearby, a group of about eight elderly men and women laughed and chatted and shared tea and sake beneath the beautiful trees. From what I understand, in larger cities, there are many cherry blossom celebrations, most of which consist of going to the parks and sitting under the cherry trees with everyone else, in big crowds, singing loudly, and drinking huge quantities of sake until you are sick. Doesn't sound like much fun to me. Luckily, Sasebo seemed to celebrate by quietly picnicking and enjoying the drifting petals!