花見

Posted on April 17, 2017 | genkijacs

As many of you are no doubt aware, late March-early April is the time for the cherry blossom. It is a wonderful time to be in Japan as parks and open spaces turn the most beautiful shade of pink. People from all over the world admire the transient beauty of the cherry blossom.

Sakura (桜) has a deeper meaning than just its beauty. Because of the fragility of these flowers, it presents itself as a perfect metaphor for life as life is just as fragile and beautiful as the flower of the cherry tree. In Japan it has historically been used to romanticize the idea of giving up one's life for the country.

To this day, Japanese people come out to admire the blooms and the blossoming is covered extensively by broadcasting companies all over Japan.

There is also an alternative view to it, which is very well encompassed by one phrase:

「花より団子」 (はなよりだんご)

This saying has a more mundane meaning. It literally means “Instead of Flowers, give me Dango”: 団子 or だんご is a kind of sweet dumpling made out of rice flour. It has nothing to do with the transient side of life or the beauty of petals falling from the sky. It has everything to do, however, with having food and something tangible to hold on to instead of watching something beautiful that has no value.