Every spring in the Nation’s Capital a beautiful sight slowly unfolds when the pink and white buds of the cherry blossom trees begin to bloom. The special occasion happens just in time for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. This year marks the 100-year anniversary of Japan’s gift of friendship to the United States, and the Centennial Celebration takes place March 20-April 27, 2012 throughout Washington, D.C. The five weeks of festivities feature a mix of arts, culture, environmental initiatives and greater community involvement. Highlights include the star-studded Opening Ceremony on Sunday, March 25 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Family Days on March 24 and 25, the Blossom Kite Festival on March 31, the Southwest Waterwork Fireworks Festival April 7, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and the Sakura Matsui Japanese Street Festival on April 14. Several cultural organizations are also joining in the fun with the National Gallery of Art presenting the exhibit Colorful Realm of Living Beings, a 30-scroll set of paintings never before seen outside of Japan, and the National Geographic Museum showcasing the Samurai’s influence on Japanese history and culture as part of the annual festival.