Earthquakes and cherry blossoms: Japan's reminder of mortality

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  • 0

    RobertCB

    Wow that's deep. It's just a picnic.

  • 0

    mrskit

    robertcb, i will let others deal with you about that comment if you have lived in Japan for any length of time and are actually living here because you love the country and its people, then you will yourself already understand the feeling of hakanasa or even shibusa im sure Cleo and other more mature ones on this board can put their comment more eloquently than me to understand sakura is in a way to understand Japanese ,,,,

  • 0

    RobertCB

    I've lived here all of my adult live, over 20 years. Yeah I understand a lot of things about this country, and I understand that a picnic is just a picnic. Doesn't mean that people aren't going to take this time and talk about all kinds of things spiritual, that's what they feel they must do. Goody for them. I'm going to have my picnic this year like I do every year with my friends and family.

  • 0

    Zenny11

    Very nice article and well written.

    But got to disagree Hanami is soo much more than just a picnic.

  • 0

    RobertCB

    Well it's not a deeply religious experience either. Japan is just not a deeply religious country even though westerners try their hardest to make it sound like everybody in this country is so.

  • 0

    RobertCB

    "The warrior class liked the flowers because they didn’t cling to life, but rather showed up for the briefest spell, and fell at the peak of their splendor."

    Kind of like "The last samurai" in print. this kind of garbage is tired and old.

  • 0

    JinaSensei

    Reading about the couple living in their car pulls at my heart strings. These are the times where I was extremely rich. I'd walk up to their car, give them a couple million yen and tell them that hope has come their way today.

  • 0

    thepro

    I have to say: I doubt many people are thinking about the spirituality of anything while they are getting pissed at hanami.

  • 0

    smartacus

    Our company is trying to decide whether to have a hanami party this year. We'll probably have it at lunchtime this year instead of at night.

    By the way, RobertCB, hanami is not just about picnics. Hanami does have a deep significance to many Japanese, perhaps not religious, but definitely symbolic of the transience of nature. The camaraderie is important too. Hanami parties are probably as important to many Japanese as Christmas parties are to many overseas.

  • 0

    paulinusa

    "Well it's not a deeply religious experience either."

    No, but it's a deeply "spiritual" experience. I only visit Japan and I get that.

  • 0

    RobertCB

    Obviously it's more than just a picnic, it's a picnic that comes once a year. But yeah, spring has always been symbolic in any culture throught history. I'm just sick of hearing samurai, bushido and all that other crap. Apparently Japanese que in line because of their bushido spirit.

  • 0

    SamuraiBlue

    This year's attitude towards Hanami would be quite different then the usual that is for sure.It's at these difficult time when the blossoms of sakura really hits the souls of the Japanese. Bushido? Not quite but we will always feel the sense of sadness/lonelyness of departing with the past and expectancy of a brighter future at the same time.

  • 0

    RobertCB

    That's humanity. Not Japanese, not American, not Russian. It's humanity. It's time for writers to reach into their collection of notes and pull out cliches to write about this distour as poetically as they can. If this was Russia we would be reading something about matryoshka dolls and people would be loving on that as well.

    Modern ohanami is about celebrating so obviously many don't feel it's the appropriate time to go ahead, something like half the planned picnics have been canceled.

    For my kids and a sense of normalcy we are going to have ours.

  • 0

    koiwaicoffee

    This is a classic image of how japanese like to be seen from outside. They want to show a deep side of things that nobody has in Japan's real life. It's like thinking that everyone loves Kurosawa films, when most people prefer to go to Disneyland. You can also find a deep meaning to Disneyland if you try.

    Hanami is pretty much a good early spring picnic, which is a very nice thing and that's why people like this tradition.

  • 0

    RobertCB

    I'm kind of getting into the scenes of the aftermath of Ohanami picnics and the tsunami of garbage. Ueno at midnight when the people have left or passed out and they cleaning crews come in is a site.

  • 0

    noriyosan73

    The blossoms are in Nishinomiya. Wonderful news. "Hope springs eternal" Many meanings for many hearts.

  • 0

    TorafusuTorasan

    I'll admit catching a little hanami fever this year. I picked out a can of beer recently based on its limited edition sakura decoration!

    In doing some pre-hanami party scouting at the local castle grounds, the thing that gets me is the swarm of cameramen trying to photograph one particular tree near the entrance from every possible angle. Sometimes I'm in their way walking by (signaled by a camera reluctantly lowering), but usually they are oblivious to us strollers, keeping their mammoth lenses darting around aggressively. Samurai cameramen, remember its not evanescent anymore if recorded on film or digital file. Just enjoy some beauty in the short time we have left to live, and stash the cameras.

  • 0

    dokshinshatcho

    Had to add my 10 ¥ens worth , to say what a good article it is.I have just departed from Narita yesterday unfortunately one week earlier than the expected hanami ..tho I just visited Kenrokuen Niwa in Kanazawa and Nara Kyoto Nagoya Ise it was wonderful to see the plum blossoms almost everywhere, very romantic.As for RobertCB man , pls have a cold ofuro 4 me !

  • 0

    illsayit

    I think its like a annual Spring picnic, like a BBQ in Summer, and for the Jpanese around me, neither are considered each year unless me the gaijin suggests them! Theyre personal choices, certainly nothing to do with the spiritual. I think bushido and gaman are very different though.

  • 0

    Sarge

    Just had a magnitude 5 quake in Kanto, lol.

  • 0

    RobertCB

    Yup that one was kind of scary, not the size but the way it felt like the big one for a few seconds there.

    Dokshinshatcho, no need for a cold bath or shower or anything else. Hope you got some postcards to match the postcard thoughts.

  • 0

    Sarge

    "rejoicing tinged with sadness"

    At hanami party:

    For all those who perished, who lost loved ones, lost their homes and businesses, are still shivering in evacuation centers - Kampai!

    I think hanami parties and parties of any kind should be put on hold until the situation vastly improves in Tohoku.

  • 0

    oberst

    I agree with RobertCB. Being a student of japanese arts and history ( as a hobby, mind ) for over 40 years, I notice the Japanese can be very spiritual when it suits their purpose. This is no different from the Chinese, Korean and other people. It's all good to embrace the culture and all, but don't lose the sense of prospective that they are " unique/superior " lest one becomes more " native " than the " native " ................

  • 0

    octavian

    It's very intresting the way ppl see all this things. The gov asked them to don't make parties because they had a strong reason, they cannot tell the people how bad the situation with the radiation is because they will create panic so they want to avoid this, just think that the radiation riched Europe, so how is in japan then?? But those ppl don't think about their future, all they want is to have parties and feel good for a night or two, I . With all due respect for Japanese but if it were after me I would cancel any kind of activities outside, parks or anywhere else where they are exposed to radiation (I'm talking about north side of japan) . For their own safety. It was just an opinion.....

  • 0

    RobertCB

    so how is in japan then??

    Here in Tokyo it's a little bit higher than normal but lower than most metropolitan areas.

    It's easy to see how panic starts though with people like you who instead of taking the 3 seconds to check the net and find radiation readings for Tokyo start blabbing about conspiracies. It's cute in a way.

    For people who deal in reality, there is no danger to your health walking around Tokyo or even having a picnic.

    For today it was 0.135 micro-Sieverts/h

  • 0

    cyan77

    Hanami: Don't take life too seriously; No one gets out alive!

  • 0

    SamuraiBlue

    Festivity regardless of west or east has significant cultural/spiritual/religious meaning. This is especially important for Shintoism since it does not follow an established dogma like the three Abrahamic religions.

  • 0

    RobertCB

    You miss my point. Shinto is irrelevent to Ohanami. Just like the Pagen rituals are irrelevent to people celebrating Chirstmas. You can talk about Shinto to the dogs come home but modern Ohanami picnic goers aren't thinking Shinto. So anybody who feels the need to "spiritualize" Japan can find an excuse to do it, but that's not the reality here. It's a piece of the pie and an ever growing smaller piece that is pretty ignisificant, just like the pagen origins of Christmas. Great for trivial pursuit, useless for anything else.

  • 0

    SamuraiBlue

    @RobertCB I believe it's you that is missing the point not understanding what not having an established dogma means or the point that hanami had been initiated since the very early ages back to Kojiki era but as I have said it is in the eyes of the beholders. If you don't see it, you don't see it, it is as simple as that.

  • 0

    koiwaicoffee

    RobertCB, you are quite right on your last statement, somehow japanese are really fast to pick up the words they have to say on a given moment.

  • 0

    RobertCB

    @RobertCB I believe it's you that is missing the point not understanding what not having an established dogma means

    Of course I know what it means, it means that people like you can claim that it's relevent when it's not.

    Moderator: Readers, please keep the discussion civil.

  • 0

    sctaber56

    I agree with the moderator reminding everyone to please keep the comments civil. I think no matter where you live in the world, the first days of spring gives us all a special sense of hope and rebirth. In northern Califirnia where I live, the almond trees have all finished blooming and now the hills are yellowing with the wild mustard blossoms. All too soon, the intense summer heat will cause it all to dry up and the once green hills will be brown for many months. Then it's fire season, which is the region's annual reminder of the transience of life and property. Where ever you are, please enjoy the momentary beauty of this fragile, short-lived season.

  • 0

    RobertCB

    That's the point sctaber, modern Japanese aren't thinking about their history when they have picnics, they aren't thinking about religion. Spring might be very spiritual to them, but it's not because of any of the reasons the author of this piece wrote or SB insists on.

    Just an excuse for the author to whip out, "...a strange kind of force—one that doesn’t strike but sinks into the soul like heat from a hot spring or fire from a sake bottle, bringing sorrow and solace in equal measure."

    lol, Sake? Why not hot-coco? Total crap eaten up by the world who don't have a clue about Japan.

  • 0

    illsayit

    Or even a clue about cherry trees. Like how often after theyve bloomed do you actually get some fruit? Any poignant thoughts like that the picnic-ers would not be thinking, I bet. And like when could you climb the tree and pick the fruit anyway? Might be a good time for another picnic!(That sort of talk would be bushido btw-whyohwhydoidoit; keeping my trap shut, maybe having a swish of some beer, or a bowl of ramen, or even a new item of clothing, to help me with it, could be considered youre average interpretation of gaman!)

  • 0

    Stopandthink

    And why should you care if a hurting people tries to find some happiness while trying to return to some sense of normal! Come on, give them a break.

  • 2

    lonebeagle

    Very good and informative article. I've never been to Japan--I'm a sansei Japanese American who was born and raised in Los Angeles. However, I see the similarity between the Japanese and my parents and grandparents. Even though my parents were as American as apple pie and didn't even speak much Japanese, they embodied "hakanasa" in how they lived their lives and treated others.

    Life was tough for them--my dad fought in WW II in the 442nd where he lost many of his friends. My mom struggled through the internment camps and endured personal tragedies. Yet they still appreciated life and celebrated the small things. They respected others and never forgot their obligations and reminded us kids to "do your best". I always believed that my parents and Japanese people in general were quite spiritual, but, of course, they never would speak about those feelings to others.

    Life was hard but there was still beauty to enjoy. We could all learn something from the Japanese people. So I hope that the Japanese will hold their hanami parties since life goes on and it's always better to face great tragedy and adversity when you're with family, friends and your community.

  • 0

    Seiharinokaze

    For all what's happened, the cherry tree in Miharu-cho, Fukushima will begin flowing again later this month for anyone or no one to see. Cherry blossoms, methinks, still go well with some Viennese waltz such as Wo die Zitronen Blüh'n rather than pondering over the transience of life or mutability’s immeasurable vortex of sadness. Life is mellifuluous, as Buddha said in his last years.

    Please image search by google "Miharu" and "Sakura".

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