The previous night I ironed my suit and layed it out carefully ready for my first day at school. After five days of intense training in Tokyo and a whirlwind few days of filling out forms and setting up my tiny apartment I was nervous, apprehensive yet excited for my first day of school.
I woke up bright and early, made myself a cup of tea (old habits die hard), and opened the window to let in the morning air. Something outside was different, not the normal view that greeted me each morning. It took me a few seconds to process what the blinding whiteness was. It was snow! Snow in April! Something I was completely unprepared for. Below I heard someone in my apartment shout ‘Oh my God!’, obviously shocked and bewildered at the snowy sight!
I had packed very few winter clothes, I initially planned to travel back to the UK in the summer so it made sense to just pack summer clothes so that I stayed witin my 30kg luggage limit. My whole life packed into one suitcase! I pulled on a pair of thick tights and slotted layers of warm clothes under my suit. I tied my hiking boots tightly and carefully walked through the white streets to my school.
Being cold felt so alien yet so familiar. I am used to chilly weather in the UK but snow in April? Never!
March and April are Sakura season in Japan. Sakura are a sign that winter is over and that spring is here. New life. It felt very peculiar walking through the shade of the Sakura blossoms with a gentle flurry of snow burning my face, not the spring sun that I was expecting.
I reached my school grounds and let out a sigh of relief. I made it! The beautiful sight of the healthy pink Sakura covered in cold oppressive snow stopped me in my tracks and I felt compelled to take a photo.
Winter and spring, old and new. The juxtaposition was fascinating. My life at this time was like a Sakura, brand new, beautiful and exciting yet nervousness and self doubt pervaded me, much like the snow covering the Sakura.
It was time to start my new life in Japan.