Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rites of Spring: Sakura Matsuri

One of the more beautiful preludes to spring time is the flowering of Japanese cherry blossoms. The Japanese Meteorological Agency tracks the sakura zensen, or cherry blossom front, as it starts in Okinawa and moves northward to Kyoto and Tokyo then finally to the northern-most  island of Hokkaido.  How lovely to track a front of flowers rather than a winter storm! The cherry blossom is a popular motif in Japanese culture, symbolizing the ephemeral nature of beauty and life itself.  In more recent times, cherry blossoms symbolized friendship between Japan and cherry blossom recipients. Thanks to the generosity of the Japanese people, many nations now have Sakura Matsuri, a festival to celebrate the arrival of the cherry blossoms. One of the most popular, The National Cherry Blossom Festival, celebrates the arrival of the cherry blossoms that surround the Mall in Washington, D.C.

Hubby and I were fortunate to attend the San Diego Japanese Friendship Garden this past weekend to view the blooms, purchase ceramics at the craft fair, and watch dance demonstrations by the local cultural societies.  The Japanese Friendship Garden has completed the majority of the new landscaping in the canyon below the Casa del Rey Moro Garden. It isn’t quite finished yet, but I can’t wait to go back and see the completed water features and filled-in landscaping.  The wisteria near the koi pond was only just beginning to bloom, and I must make another trip to the garden to see the blooms in all their gorgeous, fragrant glory. I love Japanese garden esthetic traditions; allow me to share some spring-time inspiration:
The festival through the petals of the cherry blossoms
Cherry blossom detail
Cherry blossom detail
Koi pond
Overview of main pathway
The bamboo trains the pines to grow in a desired fashion, like bonsai.
Pathway to lower canyon & cherry blossoms
I love rain chains - I want one!

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