This is the last of a series of posts which cover my visit to Japan in the spring of 2012. For earlier posts click on “Japanese Odyssey” in the TAG CLOUD. It ends with a cartoon by Tom, who accompanied me on the trip, and fittingly illustrates this land of art and technology. We had a truly great time !
Japan is a land of stark contrasts , none more so than when the cherry trees come into bloom. They draw out hoards of people in admiration. It was one of the things we went to see and the reason that determined the timing of our trip. Except, nature is not that predictable, and does not chime to the tune of travel agents holiday schedules.
When we arrived in Tokyo on the 20th March, the blossom had not yet come out. The black barked branches were naked and uninviting — promise as yet unfulfilled. Just a few early-bird trees tinged with red blossom buds. Holding out the prospect of a more beautiful tomorrow. [ A week later, we travelled further south to Kyoto, alas there the trees had bloomed and the elusive flowers had already blown away. ]
Beneath the expectant trees, a broom of attendant gardeners busily tidy and titivate. Ensuring their charges look their best when the blossom finally arrives. The trees like brides exercising their privilege to be late on their wedding day.
Even with only the earliest signs of a flower, the photographers are in attendance. Admiring arborial paperatzzi waiting to snap a front page photo.
Gardeners on their knees and up in the trees. Ladders reaching up to every branch. All the parks and green spaces have to be spring cleaned. Weeding, pruning, clipping and tidying every last detail. Nothing can be out of place when the wedding ceremony starts.
The art of ikebana draws inspiration from the simplicity of nature, and brings the outside garden into the home.
The cherry blosson decorates every thing in Japan at this time of the year not just the gardens. These two young girls are on a special day out, celebrating their graduation in cherry flower kimonos and cherry blossom in their hair.
The back streets, in stark contrast to nature, pay tribute only to the virtues of electricity. The spiders web of wires tells another storey of a country that has decorated the world with its technology.
Tom’s cartoon sums it up in a single frame.