Yes, this week saw the publication of the official Cherry Forecast, a report that is compiled every year by Japan’s top meteorologists in conjunction with a highly trained pack of wild dogs whose noses can sense the oncoming of the annual bloom, up to 2 months in advance.
The Cherry Forecast has a huge impact upon the Japanese economy, as it tells the breweries (who make up Japan’s biggest industry) when they need to airlift extra supplies of alcohol into thousands of public parks all around the country. 80% of the revenue generated by these sales is taken by the government and put into the Bridge Fund, a huge pot of money that is used to construct the many bridges seen all over Japan that neither cross rivers nor have roads joined to them. (Their sole purpose is to provide employment opportunities for local construction companies, and to line the pockets of various politicians through approved methods of bribery.)
It is estimated that up to 78% of the population take part in ‘Ohanami’ (cherry blossom viewing parties) ever year, with prime spots in Ueno Park (Tokyo) being reserved by people sitting on blue tarpaulins up to 2 weeks in advance.