Speed Reading — Cherry Blossoms - Level 1 — 100 wpm

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Cherry blossoms in Japan bloomed at their earliest in 600 years. Blossoms in Kyoto peaked on the 26th of March. This was a day earlier than the previous record set in 1409. Data on Kyoto's cherry blossoms go back 1,200 years to the year 812. Japan's imperial court wrote about the blooms in diaries. Japan had much warmer weather this year. Meteorologists say this is because of climate change. They say this is making plants blossom earlier than normal.

Cherry blossoms are important in Japanese culture. People look at cherry-blossom forecasts. The blossoms are called "sakura" in Japan. People go to famous cherry blossom spots to have picnics. The blossoms give Japan an important economic lift each spring. A Japanese newspaper explained their importance. It wrote: "Sakura has deeply influenced Japanese culture for centuries....Their fragility is seen as a symbol of life, death and rebirth."

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