お花見と桜の花びら (Cherry Blossom Viewing and Sakura Petals)

The 桜 (sakura, Japanese cherry blossom) season normally lasts but a few weeks, with the best times to see the short lives blossoms varying from place to place. This year however due to changing weather conditions, the sakura trees have been taking longer to fully blossom despite them opening earlier. This meant that people had (and still have for that matter) more time to do お花見 (ohanami, cherry blossom viewing).

Ohanami takes the form of a picnic (or similar) where groups of friends, families, work-colleagues (etc) have a fun time in a park with, often under, sakura trees. Often alchohol is drunk (sometimes in excessive amounts), but the atmosphere amongst the groups is usually friendly enough to keep all parties under some sort of control … bare in mind I did say usually.

Coming up in a mo, I talk about my ohanami experiences this week, but first here’s a video from Clark in Japan of ohanami in 2007, which will give you a better idea of what I’ve been talking about.

So I ohanami’d (can’t believe I made an English verb out of a Japanese noun … well, not a very good one) twice this last two days, coming away with two very different experiences from them.

My first ohanami was at the park of 大阪城 (oosaka jou, Osaka Castle) with three others; my French friend and two of our Japanese friends. I and one of my Japanese friends arrived late after deciding to walk from Umeda, not realising how far it was (and not realising we were going in the wrong direction). Along the way I bought a can of beer (Strong Seven), though this stayed in my bag the whole time (honest!). By the time we got there our friends had already drunk theirs, but the small number of us meant that we could really enjoy the moment, a real 一期一会 (ichi go ichi e, a moment to be cherished, link to Nakamura-sensei’s homepare as he taught me about it).

Many (3; English, French and Japanese) languages were spoken and a world variety of topics discussed as we spoke beneath the shade of a sakura tree, with past experiences being shared with one another. We enjoyed the scenery with all the other groups beside and around us doing likewise, and caught a few photos of the land-train that is not unsimilar to Telford Town Park’s own Teddy’s Train.

Walking through the park on the way back, we passed many different groups in the park also enjoying a moment of 一期一会. School sports clubs were together with each other enjoying the moment (not drinking … I assume). Work-colleagues of a variety of ranks were together enjoying some time together out of the office (drinking … I assume), and one group of foreigners were … well, they seemed to be enjoying a game of “that sign’s in Japanese, so it must not apply to us” (to be fair, maybe they couldn’t read it, I just don’t know), as they set up a smoke-spewing barbecue right next to a sign saying “no barbecues or fireworks”.

Today there was another ohanami organised by some of the exchange students at uni and took place in a park in 夙川 (Shukugawa). To be honest I didn’t have high hopes of enjoying this one, especially by comparison to yesterdays, partly due to the common behaviour of some of students who were expecting to attend but mainly because we’d been predicted pretty naff (aka usual UK) weather.

When I arrived, brolly in arm, there was a guy on the roof of the gazebo we seemed to have taken over and many empty bottles and cans. That being said everyone seemed to be in good spirits and having fun (in a non-drunken way). Strangely though we’d taken a spot where the sakuras could barely be seen. After about an hour and half fatigue caught up with me though, not to mention the annoying “stoppy-starty” rain started getting on my wick, so I headed home early.

Cliche as this will sound, and pretty much everyone with a vague interest in Japan will have heard this at some point, but there really is something special about sakura and I don’t just mean it’s scent (which is really nice by the way). The reverance they receive despite and possible because they are only around for such a short time, has given them a real imprint onto the hearts of those they touch.

I’ve also remembered that Telford actually has sakura within the Maxell Cherry Garden, so those of you back home can actually have a little ohanami of your own.

I’m going to end this entry with a song from Kobukuro called Sakura, a song so beautiful it takes the words away from the very man trying to sing them in their 2005 tour. You can see the non-live version here, and if you want to know what he’s saying the lyrics are below.

Japanese lyrics (Kanji)
Japanese lyrics (Romanized)
English lyric translation

Kanji version (from Corichan)
名もない花には名前を付けましょう この世に一つしかない
冬の寒さに打ちひしがれないように 誰かの声でまた起き上がれるように

土の中で眠る命のかたまり アスファルト押しのけて
会うたびにいつも 会えない時の寂しさ
分けあう二人 太陽と月のようで

実のならない花も 蕾のまま散る花も
あなたと誰かのこれからを 春の風を浴びて見てる

桜の花びら散るたびに 届かぬ思いがまた一つ
涙と笑顔に消されてく そしてまた大人になった
追いかけるだけの悲しみは 強く清らかな悲しみは
いつまでも変わることの無い
無くさないで 君の中に 咲く Love・・・

街の中見かけた君は寂しげに 人ごみに紛れてた
あの頃の 澄んだ瞳の奥の輝き 時の速さに汚されてしまわぬように

何も話さないで 言葉にならないはずさ
流した涙は雨となり 僕の心の傷いやす

人はみな 心の岸辺に 手放したくない花がある
それはたくましい花じゃなく 儚く揺れる 一輪花
花びらの数と同じだけ 生きていく強さを感じる
嵐 吹く 風に打たれても やまない雨は無いはずと

桜の花びら散るたびに 届かぬ思いがまた―つ
涙と笑顔に消されてく そしてまた大人になった
追いかけるだけの悲しみは 強く清らかな悲しみは
いつまでも変わることの無い
君の中に 僕の中に 咲く Love・・・

名もない花には名前を付けましょう この世に一つしかない
冬の寒さに打ちひしがれないように 誰かの声でまた起き上がれるように

Romanized version (from Megchan)
Na mo nai hana ni wa namae wo tsukemashou
Kono yo ni hitotsu shika nai
Fuyu no samusa ni uchihishigarenai you ni
Dareka no koe de mata okiagareru you ni

Tsuchi no naka de nemuru inochi no katamari
Asufaruto oshinokete
Au tabi ni itsumo aenai toki no sabishisa
Wake au futari taiyou to tsuki no you de
Minoranai hana mo tsubomi no mama chiru hana mo
Anata to dareka no kore kara wo
Haru no kaze wo abite miteru

Sakura no hanabira chiru tabi ni
Todokanu omoi ga mata hitotsu
Namida to egao ni kesareteku
Soshite mata otona ni natta
Oikakeru dake no kanashimi wa
Tsuyoku kiyoraka na kanashimi wa
Itsu mademo kawaru koto no nai
Nakusanaide kimi no naka ni saku love…

Machi no naka mikaketa kimi wa sabishige ni
Hitogomi ni magireteta
Ano koro no sunda hitomi no oku no kagayaki
Toki no hayasa ni kegasarete shimawanu you ni
Nanimo hanasanaide kotoba ni naranai hazu sa
Nagashita namida wa ame to nari boku no kokoro no kizu iyasu
Hito wa mina kokoro no kishibe ni
Tebanashitakunai hana ga aru
Sore wa takumashii hana ja naku
Hakanaku yureru ichirinbana
Hanabira no kazu to onaji dake
Ikite iku tsyosa wo kanjiru
Arashi fuku kaze ni utaretemo
Yamanai ame wa nai hazu to

Sakura no hanabira chiru tabi ni
Todokanu omoi ga mata hitotsu
Namida to egao ni kesareteku
Soshite mata otona ni natta
Oikakeru dake no kanashimi wa
Tsuyoku kiyoraka na kanashimi wa
Itsu mademo kawaru koto no nai
Kimi no naka ni boku no naka ni saku love…

Na mo nai hana ni wa namae wo tsukemashou
Kono yo ni hitotsu shika nai
Fuyu no samusa ni uchihishigarenai you ni
Dareka no koe de mata okiagareru you ni

English Translation (from Megchan)
Let’s name this nameless flower
There’s only one of it in the world
So it’s not battered by the cold of winter
So it can rise again when someone calls

A lump of life sleeping within the ground
Pushing aside the asphalt
Whenever I see you, we can share
The loneliness of not being able to meet, just like the sun and moon
Even the flowers that don’t bear fruit, and those that wither as buds
Are bathing in the spring wind
Watching your future with someone else

Whenever the cherry blossoms fall
Another unreturned love
Disappears with tears and a smile
And then we grow up
And the sorrow of always chasing after
That strong and pure sorrow
Never changes
Don’t ever lose it, let it bloom inside you – love…

When I saw you on the street
You seemed lonesome as you slipped into the crowd
Don’t let the swiftness of time
Sully the sparkle within your clear eyes
Don’t say a thing, it can’t be put into words
The tears you shed will become rain, healing the wounds of my heart
Everyone has a flower on the banks of their heart
That they don’t want to let go of
It’s not a sturdy flower
But a single flower, swaying fragilely
You feel the strength to live
In the number of its petals
Even when the storm rages and the wind flattens it down
There’s no such thing as a rain that will never let up

Whenever the cherry blossoms fall
Another unreturned love
Disappears with tears and a smile
And then we grow up
And the sorrow of always chasing after
That strong and pure sorrow
Never changes
It blooms inside you and me – love…

Let’s name this nameless flower
There’s only one of it in the world
So it’s not battered by the cold of winter
So it can rise again when someone calls

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *