The Japanese call it Hanami (花見 – flower viewing), and it is an important national festival.
The cherry flower is the Japanese national flower, and due to the geography of the archipelago, that runs south to north, the Japanese experience a wave of blossomings, that starts in February in Okinawa and ends in May in Hokkaido.
They call it sakura zensen (桜前線) – the Cherry Blossom Front.
And the thing is not exclusively Japanese.
In 1912, Japan donated three thousand cherry trees to the USA. They were put in place in Washington, DC, so that the yanks too now have a Cherry Blossom Festival.
And I do, too.
There is a wild cherry tree in my garden, of a variety that blooms relatively late.
This year, in particular, we were a bit worried, because the old thing did not seem to have any intention of blossoming at all.
Then, three days ago, it sprouted a clod of pink-white flowers.
This apparently caused some discomfort to our neighbor – because the blossom-laden branches extend over the lane we both share to access the main road. Not that they block the passage or anything but who knows, it takes all sorts…
And therefore two days ago my brother, taking an early morning stroll, was surprised in finding our neighbor as he was attacking our cherry tree with a sickle, randomly cutting the offending branches.
My brother’s approach caused the old man to run away.
Yes, we live in a strange place indeed.
Now apart from the absurdity of the gesture, what worries me is that hacking at branches like that is not a proper pruning, and it may cause the tree to suffer, making my early worries a reality.
Anyway, tonight I’ll brew me some Lapsang Souchong, I’ll put some Japanese music1 on the stereo, and I’ll spend the evening contemplating the cherry blossoms.
Keeping an eye out for old wild men brandishing sickles.
- maybe played by an Irishman, because this is a globalized world ↩