I wonder if Japanese houses are built with cherry blossom in mind. Cherry blossom, sakura, one of the quintessential symbols of Japan, capturing the frailty of existence while celebrating life in the most exquisite way. During a few short weeks every year, the sakura season arguably exhibits unparalleled beauty in nature; in some ways I would even venture to say that those weeks are so significant for life here in Japan that the rest of the year can be described as waiting for the beauty of sakura to return. (Although I would argue that the other side of the year, the beauty of autumn leaves, is even more beautiful and worth the wait.)
I see the sakura season weeks as mirrored in Japanese living space – the period when there is no longer need for the heater and while it is still cool enough without the air conditioner, is the time of the year when it is easiest to live, easiest to enjoy our underinsulated apartment; is the time when my body is in most harmony with its surroundings. It is lovely to fall asleep in a (relatively) quiet room (one glass windows and an elevated highway fifty meters away tend to add noise to the apartment no matter what electrical devices are being used inside), to wake up and open the balcony door, letting the chilly night air inside, to slowly (or as slowly as a ten months old baby lets me) come to my senses with a nice warm cup of coffee standing on the playmat on the floor next to the bed. Such mornings are moments I want to frame and put up on my mind’s wall of favorites.
The enjoyment of a short period of bliss that will repeat itself in a time far far away, just not too far away as to cause irreversible despair – I find that recurring moments of beauty are one of life’s most precious gifts. Of course once-in-a-lifetime-experiences are magical in their inherent uniqueness, but I have a stronger affinity for those situations that let themselves be experienced time and time again; where it is my anticipating eyes taking in the slightly shifting details that make the moment unique.
The same instant coffee as always, but drinking it in bed, putting the cup on our sons playmat while feeling the cool air coming in from the open window, makes this cheap coffee taste like nothing I have tasted before. The same sakura tree I saw last year in full blossom, yet different enough to be completely new. And blossoms snowing down in the morning breeze, landing on a walk path below, next to a puddle of water from last nights rain, reflecting the beauty of above.
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