Cherry blossom! When Sakura flowers perfume the morning sun

For many days I have been thinking of making a post on cherry blossom and the O-hanami festival. At Tokyo part of Japan, the Sakura flowers started blossoming during the early days of April. We were invited to join the O-hanami party that was held at the sakura garden in front of the Yasukuni shrine with the whole family. That was an enlivening event for all of us to socialize with Japanese people.
O-hanami party is conducted at the cherry blossom occasion in Japan. Look at the flowers, drink O-sake (Japanese alcohol), eat and praise the beauty of Sakura flowers are the general activities being done during the O-hanami party. There may be variations in the mode of the parties being conducted. The concept is to praise the magnificence of Sakura flowers. The view of Sakura trees with full of light pink Sakura flowers is really a feast to the eyes. So appealing are the views that even while rushing to the office, it is hard to avoid taking a moment and look at those glamorous bunches of flowers.

Why, even this post is motivated by the alluring sceneries that had caught in the eyes after the start of cherry blossom in Tokyo. The period of end of winter season and the start of spring is marked with the blossoming of sakura flowers. Sakura flower is synonymous to the Japan in one sense. For an outsider like me, Japan could be symbolized to Mount Fuji, Sakura, and Hiroshima-Nagasaki – the three most striking things that come to the mind at first while referring to Japan.

For ages unknown, the sakura has been the most affectionate and adorable for Japanese people. Let me borrow from Nitobe Inazo-san’s ‘Bushido’, to best represent the feelings of Japanese people towards Sakura flowers; “The Yamato spirit is not a tame, tender plant, but a wild – in the sense of natural – growth; it is indigenous to the soil’

The Sakura trees in Komatsugawa garden near to our apartment were leafless till the end of March. Now all of them have turned to look like light pink clouds hanging from the branches. People started come out of the home and spend their leisure at the garden. Children play with the falling flower petals. The chirping sounds of birds are back to the garden.

The most thrilling experience after the O-hanami party was to meet Mrs. Akie Abe, the former first lady of Japan (2006-2007), who is a popular and prominent figure in Japanese political and public life. We were really lucky to have a group family photo with Abe-san. I do not intend to post the group photo before getting her written permission to do so. We were wondering, compared to India, how freely a known personality like Mrs. Abe could walk on the road in Tokyo!

This post may be incomplete without the following lines (again excerpts from ‘Bushido’) by Motoori Norinaga, the famous poet of Edo period;

                                    Isles of blest Japan!

                                            Should your Yamato spirit
                                    Strangers seek to scan,
                                           Say-scenting morn’s sunlit air,
                                           Blows the cherry wild and fair!

Author: Jayaprakash

7 thoughts on “Cherry blossom! When Sakura flowers perfume the morning sun

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