Saturday, March 03, 2007
Cherry Blossoms - a frighteningly sacred event.
I have been thinking.
There are some things I see here in Japan that I don't want to see in Canada.
It is the beginning of Cherry Blossom season here in Japan. If you haven't heard of this special season, well it is a very very big deal. Streets are decorated, Starbucks has brought out its special mugs, the dollar store is full of cherry blossom decor and everything imaginable. It is actually bigger then Christmas.
Autumn was also a really big deal. The news would follow the appearance of the fall colours throughout Japan as if it was the reported sightings of a magical creature. I have never seen normal acts of nature being treated with such reverence.
So my first reaction, besides my little snicker and humor of this strange act, was a feel that we in the west should take a lesson from the Japanese and treat our natural world with the same reverence and appreciation.
I feel differently now. I still feel that we should pay attention to the way the Japanese treat their natural world but I am now worried. I am not worried that we don't treat our natural environment like the Japanese but that one day we will. It is a scarcity of nature that compels the Japanese to treat it in such away although they do have a historical tradition to celebrate the seasons with festivals.
I feel like Japan is in fact the realization of Joni Mitchell's song Big Yellow Taxi. The trees here are not yet in museums but that almost feels like the logical next step.
I don't want to live in a world where the majority of the population will see the colours of the fall foliage on the TV news or where people line up with there massive cameras to snap pictures of blossoms as if it could be the last time they ever appear.
Nature is a gift in Japan, not fact of life or a right. They worship what is left.
I don't want to have to pay to see trees, flowers, grass and nature.
That is not what I want.
I don't want us to abuse what we have until the point when we treasure what little remains.
We should look closely at Japan. A warning of the price of over development.