Sick of Sakura

“Sakura, sakuraaa (…) Sakuraaaa, sakuraaaaaa!”

Famous Japanese Song (Title Unknown)

Sakura in Yanagida Botanical Park

Sakura, that symbol of Japanese culture. The one thing every one can agree on loving around here..

So how can anyone dare to say something negative about the fragile little flowers???

How can anyone find it anything other than wonderful??!?

Well, first of all, for the record, let me state that the fully blooming Sakura trees are undeniably beautiful.

Sometime in late march, or here on the colder Japanese Sea side, in early April, they really are stunning. For a day or two…

Then it inevitably rains and gets a bit windy, as that time of year tends to be, and all the petals go flying, again beautifully, like pink snowflakes before turning back to mud. And then that’s it for another year.

Oh, I understand, the fleeting beauty is supposed to remind us of the limited time we have, to enjoy it while we can.

But looking at Japan’s insane work culture, it seems more intended to prepare people for the little pay off they are going to get for all their hard work. And those trees are hard work.

Fragile as their petals, strong winds, heavy snow, bad vibes, you name it, it can make a true Sakura tree falter.

The natural type, called Yama-Zakura, is far less revered, for it already grows leaves while blooming, in otherwise equally stunning, radiant beauty, is far more hardy and will grow just by itself, spreading its seeds, as it does make – granted very small but better than none at all – fruits!

Yamazakura and Nashi Pear in foreground

The petals also resist wind and rain, but that doesn’t really capture the Japanese spirit. No, it must be fragile, very temporarily blooming and have absolutely no fruit!

These “true” sakura are planted everywhere there is any public space and funds to be used up. Huge droves along roads, train tracks, schools, sports halls, etc. etc. etc.

Just one of so, soo many roads around here

It is not the sakura trees fault that I am sick of it, it is the typical Japanese way of taking it too far.

They really lack perspective and get so carried away, with their nostalgia and set routines. No stopping and reflecting..

What if we also planted some cherry trees? You know, those that make those fruits our kids could eat? Or some figs or mikan or other delicious fruit trees that grow with minimal effort by themselves if anyone bothered planting them.

Maybe then we wouldn’t be so incredibly short on natural fruit produce every year and price gougers would stop getting away with the outrageous prices they charge for the not very delicious, because unnaturally sweetened and even sugar injected, artificial “fruit”-monsters they sell wrapped in three types of plastic packaging.

No, no, no. Sakura. Only sakura, and more of it every year. That is what we plant.

Also, every school at every school leavers assembly sings the Sakura song, every time. Oh and have you met my daughter, Sakura, or my friend’s dog, Sakura, or tried the Sakura mochi, bread, dessert, cake, anko sweet or heard my new CD published on Sakura records that I recorded at my Sakura home?

Turn on the TV and it is Sakura watch, Sakura weather, and viewers sending in photos, haikus and drawings of, you guessed it.

Obsession seems an inadequate description of the Japanese mental state regarding this matter. It has me worried for them.. What has Sakura got on you? Are they holding your kids hostage? How can you do so much for them when they do so little for you?

Oh you wouldn’t understand, your are not Japanese.

Maybe that’s true but maybe, also, because they are Japanese, they don’t understand that there could be more..

Some Sakura products for reference:

  3. Amazon search for “Sakura” gives 60,000+ results –