Monday, March 21, 2011


Sakura means Cherry Blossom in Japanese.
The season starts about now in the southern areas and spreads north as the weather warms up.
The trees are pampered and protected throughout the winter.
and branches are trimmed and shaped.
I was lucky enough to see the blossoms emerging [and falling] when I was there 2 years ago. It is such a transient thing - one day the buds appear, then the blossoms come out and last just a few days.
I was in Ueno [the gallery and museum precinct] at the height of the Cherry Blossom viewing.
People have picnics in the parks to 'view the cherry blossoms' - business men, students, kids, mums, dads, grandparents, sitting on a rug on the concrete pathways with food, camera and sake.
I heard that homeless people [a new phenomena in Japan], make a bit of cash by minding a spot for someone for their picnic.
The strange thing is that cherry blossom trees are EVERYWHERE,
in city streets like the streets of upmarket Ginza,
beside the railway tracks,
in private homes,

and public gardens,
and crammed amongst conifers, maples and oaks on the mountainsides.
I found the juxtaposition of beautiful delicate blossoms and ugly heavy power lines a bit disconcerting,
..oops - too soon the green leaves come out and the petals start to fall,
creating a carpet of soft white/pink - like a late snowfall, then the rain turns them to glug. They get washed down the drains as more green leaves appear on the trees.
I was too late for the blossoms along the avenue to the Silver Temple in Kyoto.
There are various colours in the cherry blossom trees, but only the pale pink/white are
I found the whole 'cherry blossom viewing season' to be so quintessentially Japanese - the fleeting glimpse of exquisite beauty - all the more precious because it lasts for only a 'moment' - not like our Western need to grab, and hold forever everything we cherish and desire.
Blink and you will miss it.
May the blessings of the Sakura season bring hope and joy to all of Japan at this difficult time.
...posted with much love,


  1. there is a big festival in Washington DC when the cherry blossoms come out.. beautiful and fleeting indeed..

  2. I love the cherry blossoms, especially when they cover the ground. But I like the darker pink ones the best.

    I just looked at your artist book page. Yum! I love your books!

  3. It must have been wonderful to be in the country to be in Japan at this time, perhaps not so wonderful right now. Still, the beauty of the cherry blossom remains constant and will help lift the spirits of the Japanese.

  4. A lovely reminder of the Japanese sense and respect of beauty...