Monday, 24 March 2008

They’re Baaaaa-ck!

It is that time of year again in Japan – when the entire country goes batty over blossoms, cherry blossoms. The symbolism of the cherry blossom - the ephemeral or transient beauty of life - resonates deeply with the Japanese aesthetic. The cherry blossom season can be one of the best to visit Japan, as trees turn the cities delicate shades of white or pink. If I contort myself a bit I can look down on a flowering tree from my window, but I certainly don’t have to go out of my way to find them anywhere else. Newscasts run special reports with the prediction for which day will herald the opening of the buds; TV weather reports are replaced by blossom forecasts,

showing the progression of the opening of buds across the country; and advertisements of popular blossom viewing locations are plastered all over trains and train stations. There are websites (for example HERE and HERE and even in English) with interactive maps and other features that provide detailed flower reports and all the information you could possibly need about hundreds upon hundreds of flower-viewing spots across the country.

Hana-mi (literally "flower viewing") parties are held underneath the blossom laden branches, and are really an excuse to start drinking before noon. You have to get there early to get a good spot, after all! The hardcore picnickers will even have portable stoves to cook food or warm up sake. These parties are a great opportunity for the usually reserved Japanese populace to let loose and, as such, are also good fun for people viewing!

The museum is located in a park long known for its cherry blossoms. Here are some views through the years...

The hordes of people, the drunken craziness, and even the stone monument haven't changed a bit through the years! Although unfortunately Mount Fuji is no longer visible from the park.

No comments:

Post a Comment