Cherry blossoms bloom in spring.
Something new starts in spring.
I adore springtime.
April has been my favourite month since I was a child, as it is the month of my birthday.
Whenever I see cherry blossoms blooming, it reminds me of the smell of my shiny randoseru (school bag), still a bit hard as it was still brand new.
Yes, that day when I started going to school as a new student is the most vivid memory of spring.
The day that I entered Keio Yochisha elementary school. Some people think that Yochisha is a kindergarten, but it is actually an elementary school.
At the Yochisha, they have school uniforms and school caps.
I felt so happy when I first put on the round cap and wore my brand new uniform.
We were given the randoseru (school bag) which had the pen mark logo of Keio, made of leather, and the smell of the leather is still a vivid memory.
Inside the randoseru, there were brand new notebooks, pencils, and still unopened textbooks, rulers, shitajiki and they all smelt so new!
My name written all over those belongings also made me happy, hiragana, written by my mother’s beautiful handwriting.
The cherry blossoms outside, the breeze getting warmer day by day, the cherry petals dancing in the wind, smiles of my parents and grandparents.
A the Yochisha, a same teacher looked after us for the whole 6 years at elementary school.
I sat on my school chair, wondering what our teacher would be like. New friends all had timid smiles on their faces, and I was so excited to think of making lots of new friends still unknown. I love them all, I thought.
The teacher who entered the classroom looked great with a big smile and was a respectable and wonderful teacher. I really like him, I thought.
Our teacher who looked after us as our homeroom teacher for the 6 years, specialized in mathematics.
So, all our class liked maths and became good at it. We really enjoyed our maths lessons.
Our homeroom teacher with whom we spent our precious hours of our childhood, was Mr. Tadashi Nakayama, and we called him our “third parent”.
When I started going to Yochisha, I went to school every morning holding hands with my elder brothers who were already students there.
I was in the first grade, my brother Akira in the third, and Hiroshi in the sixth.
It took us one and a half hour to get to school from hour home in Yokohama.
The train was so crowded that I could hardly breath and it was an agony.
My brothers used to cry out “We are here!” in the crowd, raising their hands to protect me on the train.
The adults who noticed it made space for us.
Six springs had passed since then.
The seventh spring was the spring of my graduation from the Yochisha.
It was the first time that I experienced the sad feeling of parting with people. Nakayama-sensei cried out aloud and we classmates cried too.
It was the first time that I knew how lonely it was to graduate.
Nakayama-sensei was on the stage with a red face, looking down, sobbing.
Even the way the cherry blossoms falling in the wind made me feel the sadness of graduation.
After that, the cherry blossom season comes and goes again.
Every year, we welcome April with various thoughts and feelings.
Last year, I stayed home and refrained from doing anything with uncertainty of my future. This year, though the state of emergency has been lifted, the number of virus-infected people is still slightly increasing, and we cannot look at the cherry blossoms with truly cheerful feelings.
“Come on spring, come on fast…”. I was singing to myself, before I knew it.