Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Momiji vs Sakura

Momiji (aka autumn leaves) and Sakura (aka cherry blossom) are 2 well known phenomena in the Japanese culture. If you get a chance to speak to any Japanese about nature related things they will tell you that each season has a certain phenomenon related to it that gives them the opportunity to feel more connected with the nature. Spring has the Sakura, summer has the flowers in blooms, autumn the Momiji and winter has the snow (when it happens to snow….if it ever does).
There’s also the activity of moon viewing,  connected to autumn as well, but although some of the full moons I have seen in Japan have been quite unusual, I could never understand the tendency for people to go out and stare at it in order to feel more connected to nature. But Sakura and Momiji are a different story altogether. Now, I have been lucky enough to experience the Momiji viewing in one of the best places in Japan, highly recommended to be visited in this period, Kyoto. Going there was not originally planned  mainly for the purpose of viewing Momiji as much as for actually seeing a place very famous for its temples. But since my vacation fell during this particular period of time it would have been mad not to give it a go. So after a very long but exciting trip on the ‘Yako Basu’ (night bus- gotta be tried if you are in Japan) arrive in Kyoto at a really in-humane hour and started walking around as it was too early to check in the Ryokan we've booked. And what we’ve found was breath-taking!!! I don’t think I can find the right words to fully describe the combination of colours and the vibrant feeling you get just from looking at them. But people do say that pictures speak a thousand words so will let them tell the story for themselves. In any case, even after 5 full days of being surrounded by Momiji everywhere, I still can’t say that I had enough of them, so this story is to be continued at a later stage when once again I will have the opportunity to witness their amazing-ness.

 Sakura, on the other hand, is a phenomenon a lot more popular in Tokyo (my own personal feeling).  Quite a few events are also connected to the appearance of Sakura, like school entrance ceremonies, graduates commencing a new life in the world of employment, or just the beginning of new life in general. Everything gets a new ‘sparkle’ after the gloomy and cold months of winter (not so much applicable to Tokyo, could only hope for so dry winters of Tokyo in the UK too) and people fully embrace it. Nobody can deny the beauty of seeing thousands and thousands of flowers and the Japanese made sure that the cherry trees are everywhere around Tokyo, but I couldn’t help and get the feeling this ‘celebration’ has gone a little bit too far. It does appear that it is just an excuse for people to gather around and get completely wasted, in ‘celebration’ of  the Spring arrival. Even in Shinjuku Gyoen where you are not allowed to take alcohol in (and believe me, they check!) you only get the feeling people gather around because it is something that ‘is done’ and not necessarily to enjoy the beauty of it all. And there is beauty in it, don’t get me wrong, pictures only speak for themselves. But if I was to choose between the Sakura and Momiji, I would say Momiji win hands down. I much prefer the lively-ness and vibrancy of the autumn leaves to the pale neutral one of the Sakura, which only feel, like all the other pastel colours found in Japan, a bit far fetched and ‘too perfect’ to have enough character.

What do you think? Which one is your favourite? X 

#momiji #sakura #seasonsinjapan 

No comments:

Post a Comment