Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Cherry Blossom Invasion

I've been away from this blog for quite a while. Some of the things I've been doing I've noted on my class blogs; other than that I've been doing a bit of traveling, and there's been other work as well.

A good story to get us in the mood for spring is this one on cherry blossoms in Japan, here. People get pretty particular about cherry blossoms, because they are spectacularly gorgeous, don't last long, and present a great excuse for going outside with your friends for picnicking and partying. As one person says in the article:
"It's only this time of the year we can enjoy friendship, rice wine and flowers at the same time. We'll come back here during the peak of the season, then before the end — imagine sitting under a tree with petals falling all over you."
The wave of blooming that moves north across the country is called "sakura zensen" 桜前線 "cherry blossom front," as in a weather front, a term that itself originates in the battlefield--i.e., the front line of combat. Despite the grim origins of the term, the advancing line of the cherry trees' bloom is the kind of invasion that people eagerly welcome.

Here's a link to a page of articles in Japanese about the cherry blossoms this year. If you can't read Japanese, choose the pages marked with a little camera icon--there are pictures there that give you some idea of what it's all about. Scroll down the page for pictures--click on the thumbnails that are there.

I'll list links to more fabulous photos of flowers at famous sites in Japan on my class blog for "Literary and Visual Culture" (at right).

Weblog Yahantei wishes everyone no delays in the arrival of spring, wherever you are.