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Thursday, 18th February 2010
In General Japan News,

Japanese taking bets on cherry blossom bloom

A Japanese bank is encouraging its customers to place bets on when the country's famous cherry blossom trees will flower this year, it has been reported.

Those who bank with Ikeda are being encouraged to put money on when they think Osaka's world-renowned trees will flower, the Times has reported - current predictions are placing bloom time at between March 23rd and 28th.

Bank customers who guess the flowering date correctly will be able to claim a return of 0.87 per cent on their year-long fixed-term deposits.

However, those who guess the wrong day could still win, as the bank is also offering a return of 0.39 per cent as a consolidation prize.

The Times noted that the choosing of the rates is a deliberate pun as 39 can be read as the Japanese word for bloom and the number 87 can be seen as the Japanese word for flower.

Japanese scientists at the RIKEN research institute recently created a cherry blossom tree that apparently, can bloom all year round.

Written by Kimberley Homer.