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Cherry Blossom Paranoia

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Take the back road, the rail road or freeway,

Stay away from the temples and shrines,

Detour the schools; official buildings of all kinds,

Avoid the throngs, the tourists, the rucksack crowd,

And still you can’t escape the damn Sakura lines.

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It’s that time of year again when every single soul seems bent on seeking strength in numbers, nature in harness, as they follow the masses in the worship of the blooming Sakura. It’s the reverse of the resurrection as the meek cherry blossoms tease and taunt their admirers with their brief burst of beauty before death.

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Beautiful, yes; but why is the Japanese aesthetic so dependent on the promise of momentary demise. Sakura is a brilliant reminder of life’s frailty and transigence. I prefer to see beauty in a more wholesome, sturdy form. The hardy plum blossoms would be nice. Spring is rebirth, the promise of life, the surge of nature’s most vital gifts. Give me vitality; don’t give me death.

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This spring, for the love of art, I have overcome my aversion to the annual salute to the Sakura; I ventured out to the common grounds where the omnipresent cherry trees display their patriotic blossoms so that I could record a series of photos that finally confirm my long residence in the land of the Sakura.

Photos and Text © Dane Degenhardt, Monde Dane, 2009

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