Last week has been that time of year when every eye in Tokyo is drawn to the pale pink of cherry blossoms all over town. They burst into bloom for just one week, and people can’t wait to party under the full-blown bows.

But this spring was a bit different, after that giant earthquake shook northeast Japan. People are more serious about what is essential and what is not, casting off a lot of frills from their pre-quake lives. So this year the flowers bloom just the same, but without the noisy crowds beneath them; which isn’t bad for appreciating the flowers and not the parties.

Now here’s a typical spring scene, a blossoming cherry tree on the well-kept grounds of a temple. The large roof seems untouched by the quake, including – what’s that on top of it? Solar panels?

Sure, why not! The huge roof facing south provides a perfect spot to collect solar energy, no worry of the next building casting a shadow on it.
This temple is ready and willing to live with an alternative energy source. People are taking a step toward change, it would also be helpful if technology could step closer to people’s unchanging habits and feelings – like enjoying the long awaited spring bloom.

by Keiko Ihara (Photograph by herself)