Monday, February 1, 2010
Spring Setsubun marks the last day of winter according to the Japanese traditional calendar; it literally means "the turning" of the season. In my neighborhood in San Francisco, I can count on the local plum trees to indicate very accurately when spring is on the way; they are among the first plants to bloom at the end of January. Their period of blossoming is brief, and with frequent windy days at this time of year, it is pleasant to watch the plum blossoms flutter to the ground like pink snowflakes. Later this year I will gather and enjoy the intensely flavored small fruit.