It's that time of year again - the cherry blossoms are out!
Every Portlander knows that the appearance of the waterfront's cherry blossoms signifies the imminent warmer weather and the transition from winter to spring in the city. The blossoms have been the subject and background of millions of photos, but do you know how they got there?
Donated to the city in 1990 by the Japanese Grain Importers Association, 100 Akebono cherry blossom trees line the north end of the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Peak bloom occurs between the end of March, and lasts until about early or mid-April.
The word "hanami," in Japanese, literally means "watching blossoms." In Japanese culture, cherry blossoms represent the fleeting quality of life, and serve as a reminder to slow down, appreciate the small things in life, and smell the cherry blossoms.
Traditionally, in Japan, cherry blossom trees are also symbolic of friendship and growth. Portland's cherry blossoms are found right in front of the Japanese-American historical plaza, a memorial to the 120,000 men, women, and children who were held in internment during World War II Visit the memorial today to read poetry and other tokens of friendship between Portland and Japan.
The smell of the blossoms coupled with the light buzz of the bumblebees and the warm sun are feelings all too familiar to locals, and something a visitor will remember for a lifetime. See them on the west side of the waterfront as you approach the Steel bridge.