Japan was shaken by two news stories last week: the Summer Olympics have been postponed for a year and plastic barriers have been placed around flowering cherries in Tokyo’s parks to prevent picnics underneath them.
What is better than sitting in the park and enjoying the cherry blossoms with your loved ones? In Japan, this is a real holiday, hanami. It is extremely popular with both locals and visitors from abroad.
Every year, Japanese meteorologists even make a forecast for the hanami season.
In recent days cherries have already bloomed in Tokyo and its surroundings, and are expected next week in Osaka and Kyoto. The more we move north, the later the cherry trees bloom.
»In addition to beauty, the symbolism of cherry blossom is their fleeting nature, which in these unpredictable times, when the world is fighting the coronavirus, is a welcome message to all people,« explains Maja Rome of Genki Center, a Japanese education and cultural centre that work to spread Japanese culture and learning Japanese in Slovenia.
»Recognizing the beauty of life, despite its fleeting nature, can give us optimism even in difficult situations of illness and death,« she adds.
In Slovenia, too, following the Japanese model, we have been hanging out under the flowering cherry trees in the Ljubljana Botanical Garden for the past few years.
Because of the coronavirus, this group activity is cancelled this year. But still, says Maja Rome, at home in her garden, besides cherry blossoms, we can see other flowering spring trees that also give us a sense of spring’s power of life.
Points to Consider
- What helps you when you are sad?
- Which spring flowers do you like most?
- What do you know about Japan?
The original version of this article was published on March 27th.