Saturday, January 25, 2014

Coming of Sakura

Which would no doubt bring joy to the thousands of ardent cherry blossom followers ready to party all hanami style.

Surprisingly I don't number myself amongst them. While almost everyone I know raves over the blossoming boughs of sakura trees, I just wonder why no one ever mentions the pink and white flowering trees that we have over here as well. Supposedly called the poui tree, it blossoms here almost twice a year for a brief blinding spell before fluttering to the earth in a handful of days. So why aren't the locals here drinking tea and writing sentimental poetry over these ephemeral blooms?

David : You must see the sakuras! I am sure they are lovely!
Paul : I've seen them blooming in China and Korea before. 
David : But not in Japan!
Paul : Have you seen the flowers blossoming here? The entire town is covered in pink and white for three days. 
David : It's not the same. 
Paul : When it happens again here in October, I expect to see hanami dango and sake in your hands. And you bloody well write a poem. 

A case of the flowers being pinker on the other side?

Sad cynic that I am, quite obviously I am not a dedicated sakura follower. What more Japan isn't all that high on my travel list - much to the horror of my overzealous traveller friends who rave endlessly about the endless wonders to be found there. Somehow the mystique of whispering geishas, chanting monks and frantic manga caricatures failed to enchant me. Sure I do plan to get there someday but there are other destinations higher up on the rungs.

Paul : Sakuras. Meh.
Geisha : Drink this. It will look much better after.
Paul : Could I get a hot samurai to hand me some sake instead?  

Turns out that vague someday is a lot closer than I thought. Especially when they removed the irksome visa requirements for my countrymen. Almost intriguingly followed by my mother developing an irrational preoccupation with seeing shuffling geishas in Kyoto. No news yet on whether she secretly intends to supplant Hatsumomo in the okiya.

Certainly talked me into paying a visit to Japan, if only to see if it could possibly live up to all that praise.

However for a while there it didn't seem written in the cards since the travel dates and the arrangements just seemed impossible to align. And let's not forget the prohibitively priced ryokans ( sadly coupled with our tragically devalued ringgit ) that I'm intending to patronize. Throwing his hands up in the air in surrender, Charming Calvin was all ready to forget about the idea.

Never all that enthralled with the idea in the first place, I was ready to call it off as well. Halted my perusal of Pico Iyer's The Lady and The Monk and left it to my daruma doll to judge.

Which seemed to work surprisingly! Somehow like the sakuras rushing to bloom in a matter of days, everything seemed to fall into place.


thompsonboy said...

so thats their name...poui tree....well it was never on my radar till now. Japan that is. Can't wait to go soon. Sakura season too may I add.

Tempus said...

sakura season? *sigh* my academic calendar doesn't agree to that; but I found out Chiang Mai has the same scenery in the winter season tooo!!!

savante said...

Took some time to find the name of that tree. Hope it's right, tb.

Pretty sure most temperate countries would have sakuras in bloom as well, tempus.