The Cherry Blossoms in Japan

June 18, 2013

We must not expect happiness, Sayuri. It is not something we deserve. When life goes well, it is a sudden gift; it cannot last forever! - Memoirs of Geisha



If there's a perfect example of a life well-lived, it's the life of cherry blossoms.

It's not the flower that blooms the earliest in spring but when it unveils its beauty, it marks the end of winter and early spring's biting cold. For someone who grew up in a tropical country, a cherry blossom is a natural sign of relief. Days get warmer so people clear away heaters and bulky jackets, leaving rooms and closets wider space.


But it's not only the weather that changes when the blossoms are in full bloom (usually) in late March or early April. In the country where this flower is internationally famous for, it's also the beginning of the new fiscal and school year. Whoever synchronized this was a soulful man for he knew the cherry blossoms may greatly inspire people to start anew.


The cherry blossoms also convey the message of uniqueness and simplicity. As you know, it follows a unique cycle. In most plants, leaves grow first before flowers appear. But in its case, it's the other way around. After seeing leafless cherry trees in winter, twigs bud and produce pink flowers. Its petals has a simple structure (I can even draw it. Haha!) but since the whole tree is covered with pink, you'd end up staring at them with a feeling of awe.


With their very short existence, everyone tries to enjoy them as much as they can. Procrastination is unacceptable because anytime, petals might fall and you have to wait for another year to see them bloom again. When they are at their peak, Japanese have 'hanami' (hana means flower and mi means look) at parks, temples, shrines, gardens, festivals or places where mass of cherry trees stand side by side. Families, lovers, friends and employees get together to eat, drink, talk, and laugh under their shade. On top of that, Japanese don't have to travel far for cherry trees are seen all over Japan.


What I appreciate most about this flower is the way it dies. Cherry blossoms don't last long. They merely stay abloom for about two weeks. When they are blown off by the wind, petals retaining their pink color fall like warm snowflakes in springtime. They wither after a few days of lying on the ground and being stepped on. But I believe the blossoms pass away soon to let the tree live its main purpose. What a graceful and purposeful exit!


There are times when I wish we could see cherry blossoms all year round. But perhaps it wouldn't be as symbolic as how I (or we) see it now.


Photos taken by Pinky, my first digital camera. I miss her as much as I miss the cherry blossoms in Japan. 

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2 comments

  1. When I first saw cherry blossom here in Korea, I was so happy because I know it's spring time. It's a symbol that new season is coming. From a dull and plain white snow, cherry blossom is a relief. I love the photos, good job Pinky, cute name for a digicam huh.

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    1. Thanks Serj, Pinky is now with my cousin. I chose to let her go because I wanted to buy a new one. :)

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