Some People Will Not Listen to You. Ever.

“Do you like sakura?” a man named Michio asked me.

“Yes,” I replied, “I think they’re gorgeous.”  I had no idea this conversation was going to become very interesting, and then downright perplexing.

Truly, I look forward to April in Japan, because it’s the time when I’ll get to see cherry blossoms all over the place.  A treeful of those light pink blossoms can make everything else around it shine with beauty.  Parks across the country will be populated with picnickers out for “Hanami” (flower viewing), and you can bet I’ll be among them.   I love the sakura (cherry blossoms).

heath-hindman-sakura-season08Michio explained that the cherry blossoms are tied to Japanese philosophy, their short blooming time representing the fragility and impermanence of life.  Samurai willingly fought till the end, even battles they knew they would lose, the kamikaze gave their lives readily; but so many dirty outsiders would surrender in losing battles and elsewise cling to life with all strength.  I read a school girl’s diary on this subject, written during World War II.  It made fun of the “Merikens” and how they’d scramble to save their lives and do cowardly things like eject from cockpits of doomed airplanes.

The flowers tell this tale another, more symbolic way.  The peak of cherry blossom season might last a good two weeks or so, but mostly because of different trees blooming at different times.  Individual trees usually won’t last so long.  Their best viewing times will only be a couple of days, and then it’s raining pedals in a hurry.  Roses have a stronger hold on their pedals and grow more often, more easily, and have a bunch of other attributes that I guess represent shallow foreigners.