I took this photo last week, as I do every year. I’m not a nature photographer, and I though I love living here I wouldn’t call myself a Japanophile, but there is something about an early blossoming sakura tree….

The hanami celebrations have been muted this year, and many people in Northern Japan will be making fresh starts in ways they had never imagined. If you want to help them, please start here – I recommend HOPE international as a Nagoya based group who have been doing sterling work collecting truckloads of stuff every day at the Hilton Hotel in Fushimi and taking it up to people who need it.

I was planning to write a post about first lessons, and the activities you do, and breaking the ice, and all that…. but it seems a bit frivolous. So, as the students return to classes, or start their university lives, what will we do in those first classes? Business as usual, or a fresh start?