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Cherry blossoms begin opening in north areas

Date Posted: 2005-01-13

The birds are singing and the cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom in northern Okinawa.

About 20% of the bright blossoms are already open, with officials predicting all trees to be blooming by the end of the month. Last year’s bizarre weather patterns and typhoons are the reason for the early appearance of the colorful buds.

Tangerines are in season now as well, with the Yanbaru Agriculture Union reporting shipments have begun to its customers. The yields are expected to be less this year, though, because of the bad weather last season. The typhoons were a problem amplified by birds attacking the plants from above, and by wild boars and pigs causing damage on the ground.

Union officials say the harvest season is expected to be short, and that growers will probably not offer the public a chance to pick tangerines independently. Prices are reportedly up 20~30% over last year.

Cherry blossom festival season gets under way this weekend in the Nago area, and runs to the end of February. The primary cherry blossom festival in Nago is coming the end of January.

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