Friday 5 April 2019

Cherry Blossom Time - Joan Lennon

In the garden of the flat below us is a beautiful flowering cherry tree.  Every year, we watch the weather closely - worry when the buds are just a whisker shy of bursting and the temperature drops (this year, there was snow!) - hope the big winds won't come the instant they've bloomed and rip the petals away - applaud the very first full blossoms and hope their optimism isn't unfounded ... 

Hanami, or flower-viewing, is a Japanese tradition which focuses primarily on cherry blossom (sakura) and its ephemeral beauty.  To do this properly, I should be having a picnic under my neighbour's tree, laughing and drinking and expressing poetic thoughts.

Cherry-blossom viewing by Shinobazu Pond, by Torii Kiyonaga,1700s 

On the Sumida Embankment in the Eastern Capital, two bijin walking under Cherry blossom. A distant view of Fuji san in the background by Hiroshige (1797-1858)

"Under the Cherry Trees" by Kunisada, 1852

Bokusui tsutsumi hanazakari no zu by Hiroshige, 1881

Monkeys in a Blossoming Cherry Tree by Mori Sosen, early 1800s

Instead, I'll be on a plane to visit family in Canada, and the blossom will be long gone by the time I get back.  Still, it was beautiful.  No need for any other words, perhaps.  And I'll leave you now with the iconic Sakura, Sakura played on the 25 string koto:

For those of you who, like me, find Japanese culture fascinating, an excellent way to learn more is to visit the posts of History Girls' very own Lesley Downer.  Simply type her name into the Search box on the right hand side and enjoy!

Joan Lennon's website.
Joan Lennon's blog.
Silver Skin.


Susan Price said...

Lovely, Joan. Have a good time in Canada and come home safely.
Cherries flower early in Scotland! My plum is in full blossom but the cherry is only just beginning to think about it.

Ann Turnbull said...

Beautiful to look at and to listen to - thanks, Joan.
(Those monkeys! They are so furry I want to stroke them.)

Maureen said...

Thank you for all, music, words, pictures, pleasure and peace.

Penny Dolan said...

what a beautifully-sounding instrument!

A recent Radio 4 series was about a plant-hunter called Cherry Ingrams who was very involved with the planting of cherry trees in Japan after a 20C earthquake.

Japanese culture - if I understood it correctly - regards the brevity of the blossoms existence to be part of their beauty - and cherry blossoms were painted on the planes of the young kamikaze pilots in honour of their brief but beautiful sacrifice.

Lesley Downer said...

Well thank you, Joan!! Gorgeous pictures make me homesick for Japan!

Sue Purkiss said...