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Transcript of The Petal
In Japan, cherry blossoms symbolize clouds due to their nature of blooming, and being an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life, an aspect of Japanese cultural tradition that is often associated with Buddhist influence, and which is embodied in the concept of mono no aware. The association of the cherry blossom with mono no aware dates back to 18th-century scholar Motoori Norinaga.The transience of the blossoms, the exquisite beauty and volatility, has often been associated with mortality and graceful and readily acceptance of destiny and karma; for this reason, cherry blossoms are richly symbolic, and have been utilized often in Japanese art, manga, anime, and film, as well as at musical performances for ambient effect.
"Hanami" is the centuries-old practice of picnicking under a blooming sakura tree. When it was sakura blossoms that people admired in the beginning. But over time, cherry blossoms came to attract more attention and hanami was synonymous with sakura. The custom was originally limited to the elite of the Imperial Court, but soon spread to samurai society and, soon in time, to the common people as well. People planted in areas of cherry blossom trees to encourage this. Under the sakura trees, people had lunch and drank sake in cheerful feasts.
Types of Blossoms
Japan has a wide variety of cherry blossoms (sakura); well over 200 cultivars can be found there. The most popular variety of cherry blossom in Japan is the Somei Yoshino. Its flowers are nearly pure white, tinged with the palest pink, especially near the stem. They bloom and usually fall within a week, before the leaves come out. Therefore, the trees look nearly white from top to bottom. The variety takes its name from the village of Somei (now part of Toshima in Tokyo).
A cherry blossom is the flower of any of several trees of genus Prunus, particularly the Japanese cherry, Prunus serrulata, which is called sakura after the Japanese. Cherry blossom is speculated to be native to the Himalayas.
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