Monday, April 19, 2010
Sakura is perhaps the most prominent symbol of Japan. Simplistic in its natural elegance, and prized for its fleeting beauty, sakura really represent the Japanese aesthetic and spirit.
I'd heard so much about the Cherry Blossoms before coming to Japan, but I've never been here in the spring before so I never got to really experience them. People here take their sakura seriously. There's even a Cherry Blossom Forecast or 桜前線 you can check to see when the blossoms will be blooming in various parts of Japan and where they will be most beautiful. People participate in 花見 or literally Flower Viewing all across the country for the short two weeks of sakura season. Although I looked at a lot of blossoms, I was informed that I did not actually do any "花見" as more than just viewing, people will go have picnics under the blossoms, drink, and talk for hours.
The most surprising thing to me was that I had actually been looking at these trees all year. It's just that the tree itself is not that beautiful; being all so gnarled, grey, and weathered looking makes them easy to overlook when they are naked as skeletons in the winter. It was only in the spring, when they are in full bloom and completely breathtaking, that I noticed them. It was as if they had been hidden in plain sight the whole time.
Just another layer . . .