In Japan, as elsewhere, spring is a season of new beginnings. At most educational institutions from elementary schools to universities, new students enter in April and graduate in March. As cherry blossoms open, 6-year-old children participate in elementary school entrance ceremonies. Their faces are full of hope (and some nervousness) and their shiny new bags are packed with newly purchased classroom supplies. These transitions are among the signs that spring has come to Japan. With many students graduating in March, most major corporations welcome new recruits in April. A number of business conduct entrance ceremonies on April 1st. Those of well-known companies, attended by many new employees, often appear on TV and in newspapers.
Each society has certain times of year noted for departures and beginnings. In Japan, spring is precisely such a season, with all of its school and corporate entrance ceremonies. Cherry blossoms, another indication of spring, are the national flower of Japan, coming into full bloom at this time of year. Cherished by most Japanese people, these special flowers remind many new beginnings.