For more than a thousand years, the cherry blossom, or sakura, has been synonymous with Japan. But how did this infatuation begin — and why has it endured?

By Hanya Yanagihara
Food Matters

The scene is a park in the late afternoon. It is springtime: The trees are a profound, almost bluish emerald; the first reeds are beginning to sprout in the river. The sky is a soft, worn, denimy blue, although above a smudge of cloud is a stripe of...

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