It's a drab and dreary day here on the Izu Peninsula. Its been raining non stop for the past 36 hours or so. That in mind, this week marks the beginning of the blooming period for a breed of cherry tree here in Japan that blooms earlier than any other kind of cherry blossom. The cherry blossom season, though varies around the country, normally falls in April but the Kawazu Cherry Blossom begins to bloom a vibrant pink in mid to late February when the weather is still frosty. The blooms have made a community right here on the Izu Peninsula--Kawazu, for which the blossom is named--famous for its Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival (stay tuned this Friday for more on this festival). A beautiful preview of what spring holds for us this year.