Saturday, April 25, 2009

Festive Cold

approaching the festival

It only took 8 minutes for me to better understand the magic of the Cherry Blossom. For it lies not within the natural beauty of the virgin white pedals, but rather in togetherness.

I happen to live in Sukaragawa, which I only recently learned means "Cherry Blossom River." This computes to a long winding road blanketed in Sakura trees. Consequently, today from 4pm to 8pm there was an official Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival). Though I was content on vacationing my butt cheeks on the chair, and had already witnessed the splendor of Hirosaki's magnificent Sakura collection, I figured why not take a chance and check it out. My intentions were simple and honest: be an active member of the neighborhood, snap some shots, spy some eye candy, and as always just place myself in a social situation where anything can happen. Well...nothing did...except simplicity. The splendor of simplicity.

This wasn't your ordinary festival. For me, outdoor celebrations had typically been exclusive to summer, where townspeople could easily frolick about in shorts and sandals. Though, as my wrinkled fingers crept into my jacket pockets I was introduced into an unfamiliar yet comfortable world. It is this feeling that I now affectionately refer to as 'festive cold.' It reminds me of those chilling Halloween nights, where there is no rational reason to be out at night other than to relish the amusement with others. This felt like a new Halloween. Rather than one last attempt to hold on to a final breath of warmth, the Cherry Blossom Festival is like cuddling the final sigh of cold before spring dusts off its colorful blankets.

Even with the red lanterns, it was difficult to truly view the serenity of the sakura, instead they presented an excuse for people to celebrate with eachother. They brought their loved ones and went for a stroll sampling noodles, chicken, octopus or listening to local musicians audibly share their craft. But all of this for a blossoming tree? See, what I learned tonight is that it matters not why you are celerbrating, but rather that you are celebrating; partaking in a social experiment where one joins many to search for harmony.

For me, I successfully completed my goals and pleasantly ran into (literally) students. Of course it warmed my ego and it amazes me how efficiently they have learned to pronounce Cravak. Though I enjoy being noticed, I prefer to stroll in isolation at my own leisure. Just before I walked away a bubbly stoic girl uttered a charmingly heart-felt "hello." She was so cute I wanted to copy and paste her to into a Toys'R'Us shelf.

While only 8 minutes of my life, they were well spent in the moment and as an enabler of internal happiness which is often diluted by society's sinful distractions. Thank you Cherry Blossom Festival!

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