Sakura fever has struck. The falling petals of many cherry blossoms throughout the Kansai region have forced me outside to make pilgrimages on my bike around Osaka and else where to view these breathtaking beautiful trees. They remind me of how short life is. Most cherry blossoms have now faded and dropped their petals like snow.
Every year the Japan Mint in Osaka opens its black gates on April 11th – 17th for cherry blossom viewing. My friend Jessica from Malaysia organized some friends to go. I rode my bike to meet them, since it’s in my part of town. I saw the flood of people coming out of the Temmabashi Station. At first I thought it was a protest, the unbelievable stream of thousands of people so great! Then I realized what it was!
Crowds can make me a bit claustrophobic, and the impact of foreign tourists in Japan made the crowds at the Mint on Friday intense. But I just had to catch a view of these last, intensely blooming trees of pink and white, pale or bright.
Some had double or eight blooms, some chrysanthemum-like. 135 varieties, from Kyoto, Tokyo, Hokkaido and Kansai lined the path at the Mint along the Dojimagawa River.
To share these stunning trees with the hoards of people is quite the transcendental experience.
Just as entering a temple or church, passing through the threshold of a Tori gate or door, you enter enormous iron gates that are usually closed except for this ritual time of year.
Time then stops. You are on the path, viewing trees of stunning allure and awe and beauty as if in another world. Joseph Campbell said that there is revealing maya in something like cherry blossoms. Maya being the Sanskrit term for illusion for obscuring maya, hiding you from the truth. But with revealing maya you get a glimpse of that truth. It is revealed to you in that instant.
I always feel that with nature. It blasts you out of this world and into the infinite. It’s amazing to watch all the thousands of people in the crush, taking pictures, laughing and enjoying this collective experience. One the walk is done, you exit the gate. Time and space return. And you can’t help but feel renewed. The Japanese understand experience this well!