This year, I fell totally under the sway of Korean Cherry Blossom Watch 2013. Really, it was all anyone could talk about, Koreans and Foreigners alike. We regularly reported to each other—on elevators, in restaurants, in hair salons, at the park—about the current status of emerging buds around the peninsula. (The trees in Chinhae, for example were purportedly raining blossoms, while the buds in Seoul stingily remained closed). As the trees around town began sprouting more buds, I grew increasingly anxious to get to Somewhere Where Cherry Blossoms Abound. Indeed, I nearly cried with disappointment when the trees began blooming around Songtan one weekend, but my husband was called into work. The next weekend, after Jessica assured me that the blossoms in Seoul were still alive and well, we made our way up to the National Assembly, behind which exists a park where a purported 1,400 cherry blossom trees line the river path. On the train ride there, I envisioned strolling along a promenade, with cherry blossoms whimsically catching in the wind and falling in my hair.
Of course, this was also the vision of every other person in Seoul on this beautiful, cloudless Saturday. The street, while lined with 1,400 fully blooming trees, was also lined with what seemed like hundreds of thousands of people armed with camera phones. No one (other than me), however, seemed to notice the crowd as they crammed their way to perch themselves on railings for bountiful blossom photo ops.