Friday, April 10, 2015

Sakura in all its glory

From late March to mid-April or even early May, lovely shades of pink of sakura (cherry blossoms) blanket my country in soft and sweet splendor as different species of sakura bloom one after another.  

Deep pink weeping sakura (Benishidare) adorns the white walls of a house.
Pale pink weeping sakura
There are pink mist or clouds in fields, villages, and towns, or across the spring sky as far as you can see.  

When Japanese people say “Sakura season has come.”, the sakura means Somei-yoshino variety, which is one of the most popular and widely planted and cultivated flowering cherries in Japan.

Somei-yoshino in the glow of the setting sun

There are many places renowned as best sights for sakura-viewing, but you don't have to go to special places as they are everywhere.

Along the river
Sakura-viewing from a boat

Around the pond in my neighborhood
Sakura burst into bloom and then fall fleetingly and gracefully. 
When time comes, petals fall down like snowflakes even when there is hardly any breeze.
They remind us of how transient life is.

Life is about ten to fourteen days from buds to falling to the ground.
In my previous post about a French song “Ma Solitude”, I enjoyed your reaction to “solitude”. English word “solitude” is “kodoku” in Japanese which contains rather negative aspect of being alone. How about French “solitude”? The song title was “My Loneliness” in English translation.

Regarding English two words “solitude” and “loneliness”, I understand “solitude” as glorious aspect of being alone, while “loneliness” as sad and lonely aspect. We humans are fragile existence with impermanence, uncertainty, and sufferings. However, isn't it our strength and glory to live positively with the awareness of such weakness of ours in our mind?  Can't we live like sakura?

I always feel the sense of mystery and magic emanating from sakura.

Hope you enjoyed each sakura scene bathed in different light.

Enjoy your spring or autumn no matter what the weather is, dear Friends!

Friday, March 27, 2015

"Ma Solitude"

Ma Solitude/My Loneliness/私の孤独
by Georges Moustak

English translation: here
Pour avoir si souvent dormi
 Avec ma solitude
 Je m'en suis faite presque une amie
 Une douce habitude

Elle ne me quitte pas d'un pas
 Fidèle comme une ombre
 Elle m'a suivi çà et là
 Aux quatres coins du monde

Non, je ne suis jamais seul
 Avec ma solitude




Quand elle est au creux de mon lit
 Elle prend toute la place
 Et nous passons de longues nuits
 Tous les deux face à face

Je ne sais vraiment pas jusqu'où
 Ira cette complice
 Faudra-t-il que j'y prenne goût
 Ou, que je réagisse ?

Non, je ne suis jamais seul
Avec ma solitude




Par elle, j'ai autant appris
 Que j'ai versé de larmes
 Si parfois je la répudie
 Jamais elle ne désarme

Et, si je préférais l'amour
 D'une autre courtisane
 Elle sera à mon dernier jour
 Ma dernière compagne

Non, je ne suis jamais seul
 Avec ma solitude




(宇藤カザン訳 )

 Non, je ne suis jamais seul
Avec ma solitude

Georges Moustaki (May 3, 1934 – May 23, 2013) is the Egyptian-born French singer-songwriter of Greek origin. He is famed for his repertoire of simple romantic ballads. “Ma Solitude” was often played on radio call-in-music program when I was a college student. I liked to listen for his calming voice, beautiful melody, and euphony of the French language, which always sounds like music, without knowing its meaning because I didn't understand French. Recently I learned its philosophical touch.

While I sometimes consciously choose to be alone to enjoy my solitude, 
I’m aware of my loneliness as one existence.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

What do you like about March?

At mid-March, it feels like that weather is getting warmer with each rain.
But weather is unstable and unpredictable, too:
after a warm spell, Winter frigid air from northwest and Spring warm air from southeast crashed on Japanese archipelago and tempestuous cold raged for two days followed by a few winter days.
Next week, the wider region of Japan is expecting a lot of sunshine and warmer temperatures.
Looks like Spring is going to win..., touch wood.

How is it in your corner of the world?

Ume, or Prunus mume

I like March for its dramatic transformation, from piercing chill to mild and pleasant,
with sprouts, blooms, baby animals one after another.
Though the sky becomes hazy seasonally because of the yellow sands from the continent,
the pale blue sky seen through the ceiling of early-blooming species of sakura (cherry blossom) is beautiful.
In two weeks, Somei-yoshino will dominate the landscape, which means full arrival of spring.
Somei-yoshino is one of the most popular and widely planted and cultivated flowering cherries.

Early bloomer, Okame-zakura, or Prunus incamp cv. Okame

In the camellia grove, spring camellia is taking over winter camellia and sazanqua camellia.

Insects are busier in the flow of yellow flowers.

At the quiet, shady pond, sprouted green of spring and bone structure of winter coexist.

You must have understood how the trees around the pond are soaring high from the reflected trees.

The withered bushes are hydrangeas. 
Isn’t it exciting to imagine how this area would look like in early summer.

Salix × leucopithecia, “Furisode yanagi” or “Akame yanagi” in Japanese, 
are radiantly luminous in the sunlight.

At the pond in the full sunlight, a swan duo attract people’s attention.

Creatures of all kinds feel the tremor of the springtime return and respond in the excitable manner 
and sometimes can be as mad as a March hare.

In a sense, I am a March hare, born in March in the year of Rabbit.
My late mother used to tell me,
"You were born in such a time when people at last feel liberated from the terrible winter chill
and can't hold back joy to upcoming springtime."