Cherry Blossoms and the Beauty of Impermanence: Reflections from Kyushu

Cherry Blossoms and the Beauty of Impermanence: Reflections from Kyushu

Posted by Yoshi Kai on 4th Apr 2023

Cherry blossoms falling on ground and kimono-clad ladies

Living in Kyushu, I feel fortunate to experience the stunning cherry blossom season, typically from late March to early April every year. As the cherry trees burst into bloom, the landscape transforms into a sea of delicate pink petals, and from parks to streets to temples, the fleeting beauty of cherry blossoms adorns the entire region.

To me, the brief elegance of cherry blossoms is a soft, touching reminder of the impermanence of life and the beauty that one can only find in the present. As much as I appreciate the celebrations and festivities, I'm always left with a bittersweet feeling when I see the petals drift away.

This sentiment is perhaps best explained in "mono no aware," a uniquely Japanese perspective that acknowledges and accepts the impermanence of all things and is present in Japanese arts, literature, traditional practices, and rituals.

The concept of mono no aware resonates with me deeply as a reminder that nothing lasts forever, and we should treasure every moment we have. The cherry blossom season is a time of celebration and appreciating beauty, but it's also a time for reflection and introspection.

Timeless poems by Japanese haiku masters capture the essence of the cherry blossom's beauty, impermanence in all things, and the newness of each moment:

"Cherry blossoms fall,
Autumn leaves scatter and fly,
Ah, each moment is new!"
     - Saigyō Hōshi (12th century)

"Cherry blossoms bloom,
For just a fleeting moment,
Then go with the spring breeze."
     - Yosa Buson (18th century)

As I take in the beauty of the cherry blossoms this year, as in every year, I thank them for reminding me again that life's every moment is precious.