桜 Sakura: Beauty Alone Will Save Us

The cherry blossom season is in full bloom in most Japanese cities, and everybody is out because no more Covid restrictions for the first time in two years! This annual collective nature-gazing that reminds us of our connection to nature and eternal life is a celebration of beauty that leaves us in awe.

Baptism by cherry blossoms at Hirano Shinto Shrine, Kyoto, Japan.
Sakura in Osaka, Japan by Sydney Solis
A woman takes time to reflect while looking at a cherry tree in bloom along the Yodogawa River in Osaka, Japan.

Dostoyevsky said that ”beauty alone will save us.” Beauty is an important aesthetic in Japan, and it’s culmination is evident each year with the arrival of Sakura 桜. It also is a symbol of Japan’s traditional values of living in harmony with nature.

The manatees are starving to death in Florida from pollution. But they keep building these monstrous, vacuous homes. And they wonder why people are depressed. We could use some living in harmony with nature again, or humans are next.

Sakura in Osaka, Japan by Sydney Solis
Japan has this knack for beauty everywhere you walk. This one I took in Osaka.

Sakura, and Ume Sakura, were absolutely sublime events to witness. Nature is Japan’s religion, and humans are a part of nature. A Japanese term of Mono no Aware appreciates the passing of time and the impermanence of life. People spend thousands of dollars on meditation retreats. All you need to do is spend time in nature. It will save the planet too, as climate change is responsible for earlier blooming around the globe. Kyoto’s bloomed the earliest in 2100 years in 2021. When I was in Japan, full bloom wasn’t until April.

View some lovely photos in the news and also some of mine from my three sakura seasons in Japan.

Sakura in Osaka, Japan by Sydney Solis
A vase of cherry blossom branches make for gorgeous decor in a temple.
Sakura in Kobe, Japan by Sydney Solis
Workers take lunch break in Kobe while looking at nature blooming.
Plum Blossoms  in Osaka, Japan by Sydney Solis
Use-Sakura, plum blossoms, at Osaka Castle Park, Osaka, Japan.

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