April 01, 2009
In Japan, the school year, fiscal year, corporate orientation for new employees, and the television season begin on April 1 or during the first week of April.
Exercising more common sense, Japan doesn't do Daylight Savings Time.
The cherry blossoms start blooming in Tokyo around the last week of March, so falling cherry blossoms have become a symbol of transition, of endings and beginnings, guaranteed to show up in any high school melodrama.
The Japan Meteorological Agency--primarily responsible for important stuff like long-range weather forcasts and earthquake/volcano/tsunami alerts--also officially announces the beginning of the cherry blossom season and provides detailed weekly updates.
Sort of like tracking the changing of the leaves every autumn in New England, only with that ritual Japanese formality.
Because the cherry blossom season is tied to the growing season of each area, it moves in stages, from south to north and from the coasts inland. It's called the sakura zensen (桜前線) or "cherry blossom front."