22 and 23

Hanami, Rejoicing Under the Cherry Blossoms:
Celebrating Endings and Beginnings

Sayuri's mother, Joe and grandchildren

If any tree symbolizes the Japanese cultural dynamic, it's the sakura tree, in full bloom, a few petals falling on people celebrating below it. Our hard-working Japanese ex-patriot, Sayuri, says that when she sees the blooming tree in America (all of which were propogated from the first Japanese trees brought here in the early 1900s), she gets homesick and wants to return home. The time of year that the tree blooms is right in between the end of a school year, and work year, when old classmates and workmates may have to part ways, and the beginning of a new school or work year, in the beginning of April, when students graduate into the next grade and workers enter into a new position in the workplace. Sayuri says that the tree represents the sadness of parting ways with old friends, and the joy of new beginnings; and the parties under the blooming trees offer a chance for people to celebrate old friendships and new ones through song, dance, eating and drinking, during the day, or under a lit up tree at night. The falling petals of the flowers, land on the partiers, reminding them that our lives are brief, and we should appreciate our friends and family, rejoicing while we can! The cherry blossom become the national flower as the samurai culture took over the more effeminate culture during the Kamakura period, 1185-1333. Before that, the plum blossom was the more popular flowering tree and represented. More than a few Japanese have told me during the sakura hanami while eating, drinking, and making merry, that the short lives of the sakura flowers are like the brief lives of the samurai who were trained to die by the sword without regret.

 


Education and Business Management
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Class Slide Presentations for reviewing
Lesson 23

Lesson 22

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