#2636

Where does the cherry-viewing buzz come from?

this is a serious cultural article!

Cherry blossom period is starting in Japan. It is the time when Japanese people are enjoying watching flowers blooming everywhere:

- trying to find out the first sakura bud of the year and take a picture of it,
- having pique-nique under the trees (well, usually, drinking and karaoke-ing a lot under the trees - no wonders the flowers are falling down so fast),
- are walking around them in awe,
- are visiting famous sites to see their sakura with 1 million other visitors,

Nothing stops them from enjoying the sakura. But where does this habit come from exactly? Why do the Japanese enjoy watching sakura so much ?

I think that the seed was implanted by Emperor Shotoku, 6th century - Nara period, who introduced Buddhism to Japan, with the help of Kukai. But the habit flourished under Heian period, 10th century.

During Heian, Buddhism emphases the fact that everything is ephemeral: meaning that life is short and that its end comes fast. So the link with the cherry blossom is easy: it is the first sign of nature's revival, a promise of beauty, maturity and of its end. And also of life as a never-ending cycle.

You therefore have to enjoy it when you can, and remember that you too, will be gone before long. For them, cherry blossom is not supposed to be a dark moment. On the contrary, every year, sakura are blooming back, and they are the symbol of revival, and hope.

So, around the 10-12th century, sakura time was an important moment in the life of the aristocracy (maybe also in the life of commoners) as it reminded them about life's ephemeral character. It was a moment both to enjoy and to purify your soul from earthly attachments such as jalousy, envy...

Today, ephemeral life is very very very far from Japanese people's mind when they are karaoke-ing under the sakura but I believe that their commun cultural (un)consciousness, acts as a catalysis to go out and enjoy the first flower buds.

Claire image

Claire

Belgium

Claire's other advice

Kasai Rinkai Park : enjoy the sea ! images

Kasai Rinkai Park : enjoy the sea !

If you want to get away from high-rise building without going too far, Kasai Rinkai parc is your place. One station before Disneyland (Maihama), on the Keiyo line, it takes you 20 minutes to get …

Enjoy the cherry blossoms images

Enjoy the cherry blossoms

Every spring, it is the same thing: everyone are getting very (positively) anxious and are looking forward to enjoying the cherry blossoms.Spring is there. 8 blossoms on a tree, and it's done. C…

Hot spring etiquette: Please, do hot-bath like a pro. images

Hot spring etiquette: Please, do hot-bath like a pro.

Hot springs are often marketed for their positive effects on health: skin, articulations, cardio-vascular system, muscular relaxation… depending on its mineral content, the hot water is supposed to h…

Indulge myself with a small luxury : a minitrip to Kusatsu images

Indulge myself with a small luxury : a minitrip to Kusatsu

Have you ever had that feeling that your mind is stuck with your work and you need to get away from the office for a while? Staying home is not an option because then, you will not stay focus on your…

A trip to hot springs? images

A trip to hot springs?

I remember one business meeting I attended and the quizzical look of my Belgian business partner when our Japanese host suggested a trip to hot springs together. We knew him very well, but…, a trip t…

Omotenashi - a tradition made famous by Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic 2020 images

Omotenashi - a tradition made famous by Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic 2020

Since Tokyo has been nominated to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, « omotenashi » has become the buzz word to epitomize Japan’s art of welcoming guests and attract tourists. But what do…

You might also like

Ride The Tokyo Metro Like A Boss With These Apps images

Ride The Tokyo Metro Like A Boss With These Apps

To people new to Japan, the Tokyo subway system, stylishly called "Tokyo Metro" is a confusing labyrinth of lines going every which way. Orderly thought and planning, it would appear, seem to be the…

jdlawrence image

jdlawrence

What to do at a Japanese Funeral | Funeral Etiquette images

What to do at a Japanese Funeral | Funeral Etiquette

Attending a Japanese funeral can be stressful, even shocking, if you don't know what to do. The more you know beforehand the better, as you'll be able to comfort and support mutual friends and their …

Former Deep Japan Writer image

Former Deep Japan Writer

Enjoy the Yokohama Market, heaven for fish lovers, in a more delicious way images

Enjoy the Yokohama Market, heaven for fish lovers, in a more delicious way

When we think of the Marine Products Division of the Yokohama Market, we imagine the intermediate wholesalers, true professionals in the world of fish, all lined up, with other professionals in the w…

Kanagawa P.G.T.D. image

Kanagawa P.G.T.D.

Figuring out the Green Car in Japan: JR Train Business Class Seats images

Figuring out the Green Car in Japan: JR Train Business Class Seats

JR Green Car is my favorite way to travel. After living here almost 27 years I still almost start to cry when I see the Green Car (premium seat car) slide past and go way down to the other side of th…

 image

Japanese Massage Etiquette to Enjoy a Relaxing, Stress Relieving Moment images

Japanese Massage Etiquette to Enjoy a Relaxing, Stress Relieving Moment

Just last week, I’ve experienced another massage establishment called “Minnanotemomi”. Minnanotemomi mean’s roughly everyone’s massage and the massage they did for me was excellent caliber, yet one o…

AustinA image

AustinA

Why Do Japanese People Call Mt. Fuji, Mr. Fuji? images

Why Do Japanese People Call Mt. Fuji, Mr. Fuji?

If you wondered why Japanese people refer to Mt. Fuji as Mr. Fuji, you are not alone.When I first came to Japan, and actually until about two years ago, well okay, actually it still happens a lot…

 image