I admire plum blossoms more than sakura on principle. Plum blossoms bloom in the last throes of winter, often surviving Ishikawa’s final snow storm. They smell sweeter and are more tenacious. There’s nothing sakura can do in form or shape that a plum can’t: they can be subtly tinged with pink or violently fuchsia; they can hang from delicate weeping boughs or bloom among thick, gnarled branches. But perhaps because of their staying power, taking several weeks to blossom fully, then remaining for another week or so before fading, they don’t induce the same joie de vivre that their more famous cousin, the cherry blossom, does.