This is a season of beauty and hope. This is a season when our backyards and roadsides are awash with soft sweetness of white and light red. Spring is here.

Spring is a time when we celebrate vitality and the coming of new age. Our lives measure not much in terms of the cosmic weight, but how we build our society is a different story altogether. We are small but we see things boldly from our own keen perspective.

That’s served us good. But the times are changing and our priorities so. Look back a decade, and we are no more what we were as a society. That’s development. We have made good progress. We have shaped our society so the world beyond look upon us as the last Shangri-La.

Spring too is a time of celebration. We respect our friends and our neighbours. We commemorate our friendship with our friends and our neighbours. This is the time when we mark the journey we have covered thus far with our good friends.

We often confuse evolution with development and, much worse, we forget the last step we crossed in the rush that pushed us in the game in the name of necessity. Countries fall and falter. It’s been singularly unique that Bhutan has been able to preserve its soul intact.

For us, friends have mattered more than anything. We started small, with our true friends. We dare say we are big today, with our true friends. This is the season when we celebrate our friendship with our good neighbours and well-wishers.

Look at the brilliance of the cherry blossoms that adorn our gardens and footpaths today. Bhutan had just opened up to the world when Japan came with the goodwill of their people. That was the time when we, with our fast friend India, had just about launched our first Five-Year Plan.

Our friends are still with us, and we will keep them with us forever.

But this season has a special meaning to the people of Bhutan and Japan. We celebrate our common love for environment and we dedicate the joy to our long-standing friendship. The people of Miharu town in Japan planted young cherry trees in Bhutan to mark the friendship between the two countries.

This endearing act of love from Japan, however, did not receive the notice it deserved. But we felt it deeply.

We respect and value your friendship, and we keep. Thank you Japan!