The blue sky looked calm and untroubled. But a bone-chilling wind was blowing down from Siberia. Even wearing 5 layers the park was an open fridge.
This 15 day usui period, when the snowflakes should be melting into raindrops, is seeing little of either. Most of Japan`s snow is falling on the side of the Korean side of the mountains and in Tohoku. Parts of Aomori are buried under 5 metres of snow.
In sharp contrast, Tokyo`s air is dry, dusty and smells faintly burnt. It feels like another country.
The park was on fine form; it`s the happiest place I know in what can be a miserable, lonely city. The walkways are always lined with happy families and shy, giggling couples. Three schoolgirls linked arms and sang to each other as they walked around the lake. They looked happy and relaxed, and far prettier than any of the girls in Akihabara.
Eventually I found my place at the back of the lake, joining two old men also trying to photograph a plum blossom. They looked as if they were on a mission, perhaps they woke-up to the same list as me.