April marks cherry blossom season in Japan. The trees burst with pink and white confetti-like blossoms and usually this is reason for the Japanese to celebrate the coming of Spring. This year, the celebrations are tinged with the sadness of recent disasters. Now, after the devastating trifecta of disasters, it has left many would-be-revelers wondering how this year's cherry blossom festival would be. Even importers of sake are worried. Some breweries entirely washed away, others are intensely damaged. Henry Sidel, founder of the sake importer Joto Sake LLC, spent two days trying to reach all the breweries he represents after the disaster. If you're worried about contamination, Sidel assuaged fears of radiation. Any imported sake was bottled months ago, and even future batches of this traditional rice wine, contamination is unlikely. The best sake rice grows far from the radiation leak, and the water for sake comes from deep wells.
Sake brewers hit by the disasters are actually urging the Japanese to break open a bottle of sake and enjoy! Taking part in the celebration could stimulate the economy.
For many business-owners, from Sake to fish-exporters, fear of declining consumption is rampant. So this weekend, buy a bottle of sake to support the Japanese economy. The cherry blossoms in New York and Washington, D.C. are starting to bloom, which is a perfect excuse to hold your own "hanami" or flower viewing party.