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they fall and scatter . . .
This Japanese haiku will become reality unless one puts together a bag for a picnic and travels through the industrial area of Roihuvuori in Helsinki, an area of grey and concrete with Vegas-like car dealership signs dotting the street corners, and where teenagers’ street names with spray painted letters decorate the buildings whose facades are falling into decay.
Old, grey, water towers rise in the horizon and the noise of trucks is very loud.
After passing all that, one finally reaches the Cherry Park, which by now—if it already didn’t—resembles a paradise.
Over 150 cherry trees are in full bloom. Tourists are taking snapshots. A construction site is put on hold when a dozen of men arrive in neon-bright vests and overalls.
Cherry trees have been decorating the park since 2007 when the first trees were planted after an architect suggested that the Japanese companies in the area could donate cherry trees to Helsinki in order to celebrate Hanami. They did.
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The Japanese term “Hanami” means the practice or custom of viewing cherry blossoms when they are in full bloom. The cherry blossom season lasts usually about one week.
On Saturday, May 19, is one of the last moments to observe their blossom, when people gather together for the Hanami Celebration.
It showcases Japanese culture in many ways, offering performances of various dances, budo, ikebana flower works, origami paper art, tea art, koto music and Japanese delicacies.
The celebration is scheduled from 12:00 to 18:00 in the evening.