Photo Journal: Popping My Cherry Blossom in Tokyo, Japan
Everyone remembers their first time and for over a decade I had dreamed of going to Tokyo to pop my cherry… blossom, that is.
For years I visited the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and Washington, DC to view the few rows of confined sakura trees gifted from Japan to the US in a gesture of friendship. But it just wasn’t the same. I longed to see the luminous petal faces in their natural home scattered throughout the dichotomous mix of modern trends and abidingly antiquated manners.
Hanami (花見 translated as “flower viewing”) is the long-established Japanese custom of appreciating the transient beauty of cherry blossoms. The short-lived bloom of sakura, unlike its age-old viewing tradition, typically last 1 to 2 weeks starting from the end of March.
Dating back to the 700’s, the practice of hanami originally began as a tradition limited to the Imperial Court but soon spread to samurai society and then to the common people as well.
Today, hanami still marks the poetic and colorful transition to spring from Japan’s long and blistery white winter. Radiant and fresh yet momentary and ephemeral, the delicate flowers seem to be a metaphor for life itself. And with the warming days, locals and tourists come from far and wide to admire the transient beauty of the sakura over festive drinks and food.
Luckily, this latest business trip to Tokyo happened to coincide with the scheduled parade of the city’s pink and white confetti petals. And the first free day we had after meetings, meetings and more meetings,
I forced my colleague and boyfriend we happily traversed park to park to track down the few trees in full bloom.
And despite the few short hours we had to find and enjoy these floral beauties, it was exactly what centuries of practice promised it would be.
Tokyo 153-8580, Japan