Hanami in Nagoya…Finally after so many years of wishing to see cherry blossoms I have witnessed it first hand this year in Nagoya. I was so delighted to realise that the naked trees that lined the street on the way to my work were cherries! Japan celebrates the tradition of Hanami – “flower viewing” since the 8th century. What used to be only celebrated between the elite imperial court has now spread to the commoners all the way to expats like myself. Although what I learned from friends is that locals enjoy Hanami in a more social way, which just proved the “Dumpling rather than the flowers” proverb, in that people congregate in parks under the trees for reasons other than just viewing the blossoms and that is the free flow of sake (or other preferred alcoholic drink) and buffet of local delights.
Before the cherries blossoms, Umemi happens, that is the viewing of the plum blossoms. The plum blossoming signals the ending of winter and beginning of spring. It is said that Umemi is preferred by the older folks as it is less crowded than the Hanami. A few weeks ago I had the chance to go along with some ladies to do Umemi at Sori Pond. The Sori Pond is in a big park wherein you can view various species of the flower and can also visit the Water and Life Museum which shows the evolution of water life in Japan.
After the plum blossoms the cherry starts to shows its beauty.
There were other beauties that deserved some attention as well.
And of course it’s not complete without my people watching…
…luminous and beautiful yet fleeting and ephemeral
…life ending when it’s still beautiful and strong, instead of slowly getting old and weak.
My first Hanami was a great experience. I’m glad I got to enjoy the blossoms as they are blown away so quickly. I like the Japanese view of life as being temporary, short and sweet, is how it should be.