Monday, March 22, 2010

cherry blossoms

Cherry trees in Tokyo and Yokohama first bloomed today and will fully blossom in a week.
They are at their best in some areas.

世の中に 絶えて桜の なかりせば 春の心は のどけからまし(在原業平)
"If it were not for the cherry blossom, we would have a tranquil life in spring", written by Arihara no Narihira.

sakura-mochi(桜餅) :
There are two types of sakura-mochi. Both of them are wrapped with edible cherry leaves.

One is cherry-colored dumpling made of boiled and dried sticky rice called doumyouji-ko(道明寺粉). It's filled with bean paste.

The other is bean paste ball wrapped with a thin, cherry-colored and crepe-like pancake.
In the Edo Period, Yamamotoya(山本屋) near Chomei-ji temple(長命寺) brought out it as sakura-mochi.

Somei-yoshino(染井吉野:Yoshino Cherry):
Somei-yoshino is a cherry cultivar that gardeners and craftsman at Somei in Edo(now Tokyo) grew and offered.
it's not seed-propagated cultivar, so it can be propagated by seeding or grafting.
It has a major fault that its lifespan of about 60 years is lot shorter than that of wild species. a lot of somei-yoshino trees which were planted throughout Japan after World War Ⅱ have little time left to live. So attempts have been made to extend their life.
On the other hand, some people insist on replacing somei-yoshino trees with other species of cherry trees. They have concerned about undermining biodiversity by increasing only somei-yoshino trees.

kozakura(小桜:a little cherry blossom)

「桜袋」 デザイン:水口婉子
"drawstring pouch in the shape of a cherry blossom" designed by Tsuyako Mizuguchi
Tsuyako Mizuguchi(ed),Densyo-no-chirmenzaiku,(Tokyo:Graphsha inc.,1994),p.86.

a cherry blossom seen from underneath.

pouch turned upside down

A cherry blossom seen from underneath is used to resemble a butterfly.

下中菜穂,「切り紙 もんきり遊び」,株式会社宝島社,2007年,P.8
Nabo Shimonaka, Kirigami Monkiri-asobi,(Tokyo:TAKARAJIMASHA,Inc.,2007),P.8

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