21 03, 2021
Japanese people go crazy when Sakura blooms. When Sakura blooms, they talk in ‘Sakura’ Japanese.
Hanami (Sakura-viewing parties)
Hanabie (coldness when Sakura blooms)
Hana-akari (full bloomed Sakura faintly brightens)
Hanagasumi (Sakura is viewed like a haze)
Hanafubuki (Sakura falling off like a blizzard)
Hanaikada (raft, Sakura floating in rivers and ponds)
Sakuramochi (pink rice dumpling wrapped with a salted Sakura leaf)
Sakuracha (boiled water topped with salted Sakura petals)
And many many others.
Note: When we speak ‘hana’ in April, it means mostly ‘sakura’ and not other flowers.
Poor magnolia ! Poor apricot ! Poor peach !
Sakura-viewing goes back to the Heian period more than 1000 years ago. Aristocrats adored Sakura. The viewing became popular among common people in the Edo period.
Now it is so popular because ‘sakura’ season is an important time of new beginnings in life. A lot of delights, futures, sorrows and regrets. Retirement and graduation. Fresh students and fresh company men. Promotions and transitions etc..
Some say that the life of Sakura is short and when it falls, they see the transitory life of us. Some others say that they adore shortness of Sakura life, where they see the samurai spirit of preparedness for death.
This year’s full blooming is around April 1st, about 2 weeks earlier this year than usual years. Some early Sakura is blooming. The whole of Japan will be carpeted with Sakura. We enjoy from budding to falling. From expectation, to a pleasant but sad aftertaste. And people drink tea where salted petals are floated, and eat pink rice dumplings with salted leaves. Sakura-viewing banquets are held everywhere even at night, under Sakura trees. They drink sake and dance and sing songs loudly , to express their joy and appreciation of Sakura season.
So this year ? Why not ? It is our ‘must do’ event. Of course with face masks on and keeping social distancing, and observing any government safety directives! '
Strange people !
06 03, 2021
Spring has now started. Warm sunshine and yet the wind is chilly. An
array of the smell of new leaves, buds, and flowers everywhere.
A new museum was opened last October. The national craft museum was
moved from Tokyo to Kanazawa, with roughly 2000 national treasures and
important cultural asset crafts in store. Kanazawa now boasts of more
than 30 museums.
Residences of samurai gentry redolent of the Edo Period of about 150
years ago, and Yoshiro and Yoshio Taniguchi Memorial Museum of
Architecture. The amazing juxtaposition of old and new cultures. You can
even hear Edison’s voice at a gramophone museum.
The town produces many national living treasures. Kyoto and Kanazawa are
No.1 in ranking, but Kanazawa is practically No.1 in population ratio.
The United Nations designated Kanazawa as the creative city on crafts in 2009.
28 02, 2021
Chitchat from Samurai town Kanazawa…evolving, yet retaining its legacy.
In Kanazawa the sky is overcast, lead-gray and thunderous. Repetition of rain and snow.
This is Kanazawa winter. But, we are sometimes blessed with a few fine days like yesterday, with not a speck of cloud in the sky.
So I went out to Kenroken garden. It is surprising that there are almost no visitors. The garden is immaculate. This is true Kenrokuen.
I visited the plum tree grove. There are more than 200 plum trees, consisting of 20 species.
They have their own names. Some are blooming and some are budding.
A faint scent of spring in the air. They will be in full bloom in the
weeks around early March. And next comes sakura.