Tokyo, Procrastination
This weekend the sakura ,cherry blossoms, were man kai... in full bloom. And they really were stunning. The blossom laden branches always kind of remind me a bit of pale pink octopus legs waving in the wind. From a distance, the blossoms have that same kind of texture. I am apparantly the only one who has ever made this connection though. So maybe I am just weird.

The usually stinky Tokyo air has been scented with the faintest hint of cinnamon sweetness that is the scent of cherry blossoms. People all over the place are copping a spot under whatever cherry tree they can find and having a picnic with family, friends or co-workers. And picining under the cherry blossoms and having a drink is often the best excuse for busy people to make time to spend with friends they haven't seen for a long time.

The two main party seasons in Japan: end of the year parties (bon nen kai) and hana-mi (sitting under cherry blossoms and drinking, eating, having a good chat).

This will be a short season this year. We had a lot of rain and high wind today that will have peeled off most of the petals. Otherwise, we might have gotten one more weekend of the season in.

I had a chance to go walking outside before the rain got too heavy. The rain dampened the chemical stink of cars and city and rejuvinated the earthy smell that struggles in a city and highlighted that delicious cherry blossom scent. I say delicious because some Japanese sweets are made using that essence and it tastes just like that smell!

Another thing that people really like here is watching the petals fall of the trees like spring snow or wedding confetti. And that really is the symbol, it buds, it blossoms, it's beauty is enjoyed, and then it's no more.. just a memory in the wind.

I'd say that today, the wedding confetti image held more strongly... like throwing confetti on a rainy day. It just kind of falls in clumps rather than flutters and just sticks to everything.

Still, I like looking at the petals stuck to the pavement and the piles of flowers and petals that gather up in small dunes in the gutters, along sidewalks and against houses.

For some reason, this year, I feel the whole cycle of the sakura much more strongly.

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on Apr 02, 2006
Isn't springtime wonderful? Here in Texas its spring when you see the bluebonnets and other wildflowers everywhere. We aren't supposed to have too many this year because of the drought last year. When we went to Galveston for a wedding last month I got to see some. They just make me happy.

The spring festival at the Japanese Garden is this weekend. Maybe I will go. We went to the fall festival and froze and the Japanese Maples hadn't even turned colors yet. I wonder if they have cherry blossoms there. Even if they don't it's a beautiful, tranquil spot.
on Apr 02, 2006
I've heard that Texas in springtime is amazing.

I might be in Houston next May, but that will probably be too late in the year.

My guess is that they have sakura there. It's such a big deal that it would be wierd to have a Japanese garden without them. But maybe they can't grow there. I have no idea.

If you go, I hope you have a good time.

BTW... how is the job search going?
on Apr 02, 2006
BTW... how is the job search going?

I decided to wait until the end of summer. I think my boys are old enough to be home while I work but unfortunately I don't think they are mature enough. I don't want to work just to pay for childcare so I am going to wait until they start the next school year in August. Also I will know whether we are staying here or moving. If we move, I will probably just wait until we get settled somewhere new. We'll have to see.
on Apr 02, 2006
Childcare is one of those catch 22 expenses it seems like. A parent needs to work to feed their children and afford for their care, but in order to do so, must generally get childcare which eats up a major part of the profits and so needing more work...

I hope that you are able to find something that you like.

BTW, I've been using flylady. thanks for putting up a blog about it. I can't say that I've revolutionized. The putting on shoes in the house thing. It is just NOT done here. Even indoor shoes. SLippers, ok. So I call it getting dressed to slippers.

But now I must get my beauty sleep so I can teach tomorrow. Sigh....

Not that it does much for my looks, but it sure works wonders on my attitude!
on Apr 02, 2006
Burst cherry blossoms
to the tune of the warbler
while the plums give way.

The garden path is now strewn
with weathered cherry blossoms.

As trees of green buds
and grass so thick underfoot
children late for school.

An 'A' for diplomacy
they pick deutzias in the rain.

Softened, the master
arranged them by Buddha's feet
near forgotten plums.

Lingering cherry blossoms
envious, still sweetened the room.
on Apr 02, 2006
The scene your describe sounds like something you'd want to see in a portrait. Sounds lovely.
on Apr 02, 2006

I liked your article and gave it an insightful,  it was informative and it took me back to 1957 when I got a blue and lavender dress for Easter and stood under our neighbors tree as the blossoms drifted to earth,  knowing I'd always remember that day.

Our neighbors had either a cherry tree that blossomed every spring, or else it was apple blossoms, anyway I loved the imagery,  thank you!   

on Apr 02, 2006
Thanks for the kind words, Trudy.

SD, liked the poem. Did you write it?

InBloom, thanks. Lots of people try to take portraits of this stuff. Some are really good. I think most miss the mark by looking purely festive (though still nice pics) and missing that contemplative element. I'll look for some links later for you.
on Apr 02, 2006
Nice read
on Apr 02, 2006
Went to the Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend.

Neat to hear that it's a worldwide thing, not just an east coast US thing.
on Apr 02, 2006
SD, liked the poem. Did you write it?
Yes, in my old Haiku days.

on Apr 03, 2006
cool stuff, SD!

Is it actually a tanka? I'm not familiar with this haiku format. Then again, traditions can also be innovated!
on Apr 23, 2006

this is wonderful, momijiki, i feel as if i'm there.

on Apr 23, 2006
Thanks Miguna.

Most of the blossoms have fallen off now except for a few type of trees which are late blooming by nature. But even they are losing their blossoms to the inevitable green leaves.

So that feeling of wonder and sense of time fleeting has passed and everyday seems like business as usual.

The weather wasn't as amazing as last year. Last year it was warm and balmy- short sleeves weather. This year was jackets required and more often than not an umbrella. Too bad, because a lot of people make their money from selling Hanami Party supplies, food and drinks.
on Apr 25, 2006
Is it actually a tanka?
It's a Renku.

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