Here in Tokyo, yet again we’ve been anxiously glued the the cherry blossom forecast, with the peak predicted to hit around the end of March in the Kanto region. But why do we love these delicate little flowers so much?
Cherry blossom (桜 sakura), cousin to the early-appearing and more richly coloured plum blossom, has long been seen in Japan as a metaphor for the transience of life, the pale and fragile petals quickly falling to the ground almost as soon as they bloom.
It’s no wonder that this imagery has given inspiration to countless poets, as it’s a sight to inspire even the most stony-hearted.
kay me staff love to spot the tiny chartreuse-green mejiro, Japanese white-eye, birds sitting among the branches – if you’re lucky enough to be in Japan this month, see if you can spot one too!
The highlight of spring sakura season for many people is hanami, or cherry blossom viewing picnic, under the trees, usually in park and with friends, family or coworkers.
Needless to say that with drinks both hard and soft flowing it’s a chance not only to wax lyrical about sakura and the coming spring but also to appreciate the people we surround ourselves with.
To celebrate one of our favourite flowers, here’s a charming haiku written by Matsuo Basho around the 17th century:
Very brief –
Gleam of blossoms in the treetops
On a moonlit night.