According to Mainichi Shimbun the Tokyo metropolitan government has asked visitors to its parks to voluntarily refrain this year from holding Hanami parties under blooming cherry trees. Considering the March 11 quake, tsunami and power shortages, it seems that it is not the right time to celebrate. Usually at Ueno Park the roughly 1,200 cherry trees attract more than 1.5 million visitors each season. Now at several parks within Tokyo signs were put up by the Tokyo government that read “We ask for voluntary restraint on parties within the park in the wake of the earthquake.” Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said earlier this week that people should voluntarily refrain from watching cherry blossoms, as this is not an era in which people at this time of year may drink, even during daytime. A further reason is the limited power available, when producing additional garbage causes just additional strain on the electrical power available.
While I fully agree that additional, unnecessary garbage should not be created, plus being drunk below cherry trees is for sure not the right timing now. On the other hand, I had understood that the origin for cherry blossom is to appreciate the fleeting moment of a wonderful flower, when a simple breeze in an instant blows away all the beauty. Isn’t the reason for cherry blossom viewing the respect for nature with all its beauty and horror that can change in an instant? I perceive cherry blossom as the time for being grateful: For all the beauty in nature, being able to see it and smell it, enjoying this event with wonderful people I care about and appreciate what a wonderful life I have… especially having in mind all can be gone in a second.
Understand me right, I am not a pessimist and see just the worst. I simply believe being grateful for what I have and being considerate to others cannot be wrong, no matter when. All this can be done without creating a mountain of garbage or then being drunk.
Let’s remember the origin of Hanami!
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)