Photos by Thuy Nguyen, (Soka University of America) Student Correspondent CET Japan, Spring 2018 Sakura, or cherry blossom, is probably what Japan is known for during the spring season. And I was so fortunate to witness the ephemeral beauty of this flower, as it only blooms for a short amount of time (maybe like two weeks or so). However, I was really confused about the color of sakura at first. I used to think that sakura was pink, but apparently it is white! What a sweet surprise! Spring season also brings out the beauty of plum flowers, which have a delicate pinkish look. Because of all the beautiful flowers during the spring time, the most famous activity that not only Japanese people but foreigners also enjoy is hanami, or flower watching. My friends and I went to Banpaku park, one of the well-known hanami spots, to witness the atmosphere. In the picture is the Tower of the Sun, what the Banpaku park is famous for! It was such a beautiful day with good company, food, and flower! I took this selfie with my roommate to celebrate the beauty of spring! I also went to the Osaka Castle at night by myself to witness the grandeur of the castle as it was surrounded by all the cherry blossoms. You can get a better view of the Osaka Castle from a far by visiting the Nishinomaru Park in the castle’s western citadel. The park lights up in the evening during the cherry blossom season only, and when I got there the view was just gorgeous! This is just a picture of me being so happy as I was surrounded by all of the pretty cherry blossoms! Doing hanami and picnicking with friends was just so fun that now I understand why Japanese people are so immersed into this activity, because I am now also addicted to hanami and picnicking! CET also took us to a hiking trip to Minoh Waterfall. I love how Osaka is such a perfect balance between nature and modernity. The waterfall, indeed, was gorgeous and with great company, the trip was even more fun! To get to the waterfall it would probably take about 2 hours, but for this view, it’s totally worth it! One of my best experiences with CET was the 3-day homestay. I stayed with a Japanese family to learn about what a Japanese family looks like, and it was such an incredible experience. The children were so cute as they always asked me to get the biggest piece of cake or just held my hands and took me around. The host family and I went to a farm and we had so much fun. The kids were really cute and I was so sad leaving them the last day to go back to school. During the trip, the family really took care of me as they cooked all the food I liked and showed me the true Japanese experience. Besides the farm, we also went to an onsen and then later on did pottery together. I truly felt like I had a family as they were so welcoming and lovely! The final photo of this post is about Noh – a traditional Japanese art. Many people know about Kabuki, but only a few know that Noh is a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century. It is indeed the oldest major theater art that came from China. The Noh performers taught us how to sing Noh song, how to move in a Noh performance, how to wear the mask and so on. Later, one of us was so lucky to wear the full Noh costume. Turned out it was me! The costume was so heavy that I could not really move that much, so after wearing that I truly know how hard performing Noh is!