Arriving at the statue, the area was unexpectedly empty until a wave of people appeared from the station. The sakura 桜 was a clear focal point, glowing in the rising light.
My morning's plan was to visit the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel 首都圏外郭放水路, a colossal subterranean flood-prevention system in Saitama Prefecture 埼玉県. Tours can be difficult to organise because the facility is inaccessible whenever it's operational and the tour is delivered in Japanese, so safety dictates that visitors must be accompanied by someone who can understand the language. As such, two weeks prior I took the gamble of hiring an interpreter willing to travel there, while praying there'd be no severe weather events in the meantime. Luckily it all worked out.
Yoshida-san 吉田さん was as punctual as expected, dressed in suit and tie, and before long we were on our way.