Tokyo’s still a week or two away from cherry blossom season? Not if you’ve got a body suit, some fake flowers, and a whole lot of craziness.
Here at RocketNews24, we’re of the mindset that it’s always a good time to visit Japan. That said, mid-March can present a special frustration for travelers in the Tokyo area, even though the weather is mild and many hotels are offering their off-season rates ahead of the peak spring vacation season.
See, the cherry blossoms start blooming in Tokyo around the tail end of March, but if you’re lucky, some of the earlier buds will open a little earlier. So if you’re in Tokyo for just a few days right now, you might spend every day keeping your fingers crossed that you get to see some of Japan’s storied sakura before you have to get on the plane home.
▼ Sakura, pictured at the peak of their blooming in April
Unfortunately, March has been chilly enough so far that we’re still at least a couple of days before the flowers bloom. This had our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun feeling a deep sympathy for everyone who’d come all the way to Tokyo, but wasn’t going to be able to cap their experience in Japan by seeing the pink petals of the sakura. “If only the cherry blossoms would hurry up!” he shouted. Mother Nature doesn’t take requests, though, so there was only one thing left to do.
P.K. himself would become the sakura.
▼ Just another day at RocketNews24 HQ
While we’ll readily admit to having some unusual individuals on the staff, P.K. is similar to normal human beings in that his body is covered with skin, not tree bark. To start the illusion, he slipped into a brown bodysuit, which, given his lanky build, transformed him into a pretty good approximation of a tree trunk. Next we adorned his head and arms with imitation sakura flowers and leaves from the 100-yen store .
▼ Only the finest fashions for our guy.
Still, we had one concern about sending P.K. out in public like this (it would have been two concerns, but if he can pull off walking around downtown Tokyo in a giant bear costume without getting picked up by the cops, we figured he wouldn’t get hauled in this time either). See, one of the most popular things to do during cherry blossom season is to have cherry blossom parties, and we worried that P.K.’s costume was so convincing that crowds of strangers would be tempted to spread out blankets around his feet and crack open a few cold ones.
▼ All of these salarymen are totally thinking of making a run to the convenience store to pick up some Ebisu beer.
▼ As are these college students.
So to keep P.K. mobile, and also so that he could spread the sakura love to as many people as possible, he lent him a bicycle.
And with that, P.K. was on his way!
▼ A mid-shift meal…
▼ …then right back to work!
Along the way, P.K. ran into more than a few overseas visitors, to whom he introduced himself with “I am Cherry Blossom!”
They all smiled, and several took pictures of our reporter in his vernal finery. We hope some of them felt like they got to enjoy a little of what Japan is like in sakura season, even if the flowers themselves weren’t cooperating. After all, we’re always happy to make miracles happen through the power of weirdness.
[ Read in Japanese ]