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Updated: May 2, 2019

Contemplating the ephemeral yet?

It is cherry blossom time in Japan, the ‘Sakura’ season has officially begun and here are some photos from Tokyo.

It is cherry blossom time here at Manor Bottom too. Actually, we have a rather spread season, the first tree blossoming in late Jan – quite a pitiful blossom from a very old tree but still, it brings some pink to the winter. After that other trees blossom in turn, until in mid-April when the majority and the most beautiful are out – the highlight being the one by the pond, pictured above. The smell is wonderful and lying on the grass looking through the flowers up to the sky makes one think about the possibility of perfection. In the Japanese Buddhist tradition, sakura was often used as a time to contemplate the ephemeral nature of life, or ‘mono no aware’ – the pathos of things! Now, I’m not going to get started on the pathos of things, let’s keep this short, but will just say, I love the blossom.

I was recently told a story (which is better related in a new book ‘Cherry Ingram’ by Naoko Abe, published by Chatto), which is thoroughly bathed in pathos. Collingwood ‘Cherry’ Ingram was a horticulturalist obsessed with cherry trees. Visiting Japan, researching his obsession, he met Seisaku Funatsu, a high master of all things to do with the trees. Funatsu showed Ingram an image of a particularly beautiful tree, the Taihaku, adored for its white flowers but now extinct in Japan. Ingram, to the complete disbelief of Funatsu, said that tree was in his garden in Kent. He spent the next few years trying to successfully get a Taihaku back to Japan. When he finally managed it, kept fresh by cut potatoes, Funatsu had died – he never saw his beloved tree, but the Taihaku was in Japanese ground once more.

Off at a slight tangent, maybe you want to enjoy Genshi from Susumu Yokata’s fine album ‘Sakura’

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