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Yomoyama Story

"Hanamizake"
(cherry blossom viewing "sake")

Haiku poem
"Ki no moto ni" (under the tree)
"Tsuyu mo namasu mo" (with drink and food)
"Sakura ka na" (only the cherry blossoms)
By Bashou
imageA lively party is held under a cherry blossom tree when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and the scarlet blossoms have not withered. Around the "sake" being consumed together by the participants, pots are arranged with food and drink. Then, a stream of wind arrives. The petals of the cherry tree fall in dancing to the ground, as if to bury the pots and cups... Bashou had recited such a beautiful scene.

Each and every year with the arrival of the cherry blossoms, a number of people gather at places famous for their cherry blossoms, and large get-togethers take place. It is a scene that foreigners find hard to understand, but it is a promise from time past that the Japanese must drink "sake", eat food and be lively under cherry blossoms in full bloom.

Cherry blossom viewing does not only involve observing the beauty of the cherry blossoms. Long ago, it was believed that cherry blossoms in full bloom were a sign of stability in the climate, i.e., the sign of a rich fall harvest, and it was also believed that drinking and having a good time under the cherry trees were related to rich eating habits.

For the Japanese long ago, cherry blossoms were the "ears of rice," and therefore, "hanamizake" had come to symbolize richness. Times have changed, and eating habits have become stable and cannot be compared to the past. Under the cherry blossoms, however, the only things that will never change throughout the ages are the enjoyment of drinking "sake" and the richness of the heart.


(Reference : Hakutsuru Tsushin Vol.15)

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