March 30, 2013
Tho it is still cold, and has been cold for some time now, despite a brief respite a couple weeks ago, the tiny pinks have decided to show themselves. There are, easy to guess, many species of cherry trees. I assume they all have pretty blossoms in the spring. I do know, however, that all of them are not pink. Here in Kyoto there are several white blossoming trees to view, and I have seen one that was "black." More a blue, actually.
The favorite pasttime for the Japanese is to spread out a blue tarp beneath a cherry tree, preferably on the banks of the Kamo River, and drink, eat, and sing into the night. It is not uncommon for two or three individuals to come to the river bank early in the day, spread out the tarp, and sit there until early evening, guarding the space, when all their workmates get out of the office and come to the location. Great fun. I have done it.
At the same time as the cherry blooms are beginning to bloom, the weeping willows are also leafing like crazy. Their light green is so fantastic a color; I love it. It means SPRING to me.
Simply lovely. All over the city there are cherry trees and willow trees. (In the fall, it is maple trees; but for now, they are keeping quiet.) Of course, along the rivers which flow thru town there are cherry and willow. In the children's parks, along school sports grounds, in big hospitals' gardens, atop the tall business buildings, in the private gardens of the wealthy, on the verandas of the common folk, in miniature pots. Everywhere. And up on the mountains that surround Kyoto we can easily spot here and there a single cherry tree blooming amidst the brown of the other deciduous.
In the city, it is a sight always in combination with buildings, like this:
There is a narrow canel running beneath this row of trees. On the other side is an eight-lane highway. The barely visable, black building on the right is the Silk Hall, a large structure devoted to the silk weaving and dyeing industry, which has seen its day in the ancient capital and is now vastly disappearing under the tsunami of Heat Tech and other related synthetic materials.
The blossoms, too, will soon disappear. They hang around for about a week, less if we get a heavy rain, and we often do. On weekends usually. What is interesting to me is that the cherry tree's leaves do not appear until the blossoms have dropped. The light green things sprout out quickly, continuing the greenness of the willows. Such a fantastic and beautiful world. In the hollows of some cherry trees I have found masses of small black and red insects. Seems they breed there, eating and milling around until they can fly away. I don't know this bug's name, tho I guess we can eat it when properly prepared. That is, when the insect has been properly prepared to be eaten, and we have properly prepared our minds to eat it.