April 11, 2008

Hanami ・ 花見

Went to Tsurumai Park in Nagoya last Friday with a group from work for the annual hanami celebrations. Hanami is a traditional celebration of the annual blooming of sakura (cherry blossom). Nowadays this celebration usually consists of going somewhere with lots of sakura trees with a group of friends and/or workmates, sitting beneath said trees, and drinking large quantities of alcohol. Which, if you ask me, is as good a way as any of ushering in the spring.

Whilst indulging in a good deal of "nommunication" I was informed of something of which I wasn't previously aware...namely that the Japanese see the sakura, which is only in bloom for a number of weeks, as metaphor for the transient, ephemeral nature of life, possibly reflecting the Buddhist influence on the Japanese belief system. Also, the symbolism of the sakura was exploited during WWII, as a means of representing the transient nature of the lives of kamikaze pilots.

My workmate Ikeda-san took some fantastic photos of the proceedings, which I have uploaded here for your viewing pleasure (it's all in Japanese but you should be able to navigate OK).

While I'm on the subject...I went to Nakatsugawa to walk a part of the Nakasendo (an historic road-thing) with my lovely workmate Ikeda-san (a different one...I work with 3 separate Ikeda-sans) and her parents...I took some photos on the way, they're not as interesting as the sakura photos but I've put them here if you wanna have a look.


Jonathan April 14, 2008 7:30 AM  

Beautiful shots, there. Sigh ... I sure wish I could have had a hanami too. Tell Ikeda-santachi hello for me too, wouldja?

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