A Private Ohanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing)

I suppose the downpour which drowned it all in 2011 didn’t do much to spark enthusiasm among the planners. The “annual” Cherry Blossom Festival at Thunderbird Square in Abbotsford didn’t materialize this year.

Not daunted by the absence of fellow revelers—quite the opposite, in fact—I headed out on Tuesday afternoon. Knowing how soggy it would be after Wednesday’s forecast rain, I threw my jacket on the ground, leaned against a tree and let the world stop for a moment. My good fortune, Mt. Baker appeared–ever so faintly–against the haze to join the show.

During my solo ohanami (cherry blossom viewing) I saw few people other than the city office workers crawling away like ants around 5PM. Most didn’t bother to notice the blossoms on their way out.

I wonder: Could people in Japan imagine a little ohanami alone with almost no one else in the park? Might a Japanese person feel nervous and lonely in such a situation?

I loved it. Heard the jets thrust down as they approached the airport a few miles south, one cranky seagull complained vociferously, traffic thrummed and petals sighed as they slipped lightly through the air.

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2 Responses to A Private Ohanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing)

  1. Lynda says:

    One of the big drawbacks to staging a solo ohanami in Abbotsford is that you can’t get a proper bento or enjoy Nihonshu in a public place. That kills a lot of the ohanami vibe right there. Too, without a community creating and celebrating an event together, the hustle and bustle, the historical and cultural factors, the music and ambient sounds, the food and smells—too many factors are absent to feel a sense of occasion.

    On the other hand, in the absence of any celebration at all, I’ll chose a solo one every time. I can enjoy rich, mindful observances, and sometimes savour them more fully than when forced to feigning pleasure with a crowd of insufferable people. (But that, too, is part of mono no aware or the pathos of things.)

  2. Karl Friesen says:

    I have also have taken my own ohanami as I wonder through the park. It doesn’t quite feel right without the hustle of hundreds of others enjoying the cherry blossoms.

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