Under the cherry blossoms

The cherry tree in blossom has a particular significance in Japanese culture, acting as a metaphor for the Buddhist idea of the transience of life. As a result, Ayerlego’s choice to showcase the vibrant pink blooms in his LEGO recreation of an elegant Japanese garden adds an extra level of authenticity to his build. The tree is expertly constructed, carefully arranging its multiple flower stem elements to create the symbolically significant firework-like burst of colour. Setting it against well-selected additions such as the ornamental fish statuettes at the bridgehead, and kimono girl mini-figure completes an aesthetically pleasing display of traditional Japanese life.

Lotii Residence, Port Raleigh

5 comments on “Under the cherry blossoms

  1. Purple Dave

    I think it’s hard to understand just how ingrained the cherry blossom is in Japanese culture if you’re not Japanese. I got a glimpse of it about a year after Fukushima when watching a NOVA episode about the disaster. They had all these people being interviewed about their experiences during and after the events. People who literally watched as their dearest friends and family were washed away by the floodwaters, never to be seen again, talking about how they felt like their lives were over and there was no coming back. And then towards the end of the episode, they started talking about cherry blossoms, and how seeing them bloom again after all that loss made them realize that life was going to be okay again. That’s it. That’s all it took, was the blooming a particular flower, and they were ready to put it all behind them.

    In the US, we have experienced our share of tragedies. Some were natural, others accidents, and still others were purposeful acts. I can’t think of a single aspect of our culture that has had such a universally profound impact on our ability to move forward with our lives as a tiny flower has on theirs.

  2. Håkan

    It’s a manifestation of the upcoming spring, and hence a symbol for renewal and fresh starts.

  3. Purple Dave

    @Håkan
    No, I get that, on a purely intellectual level. But Japan is known to have existed for at least 2000 years, and cherry blossom festivals date back around 1000 years. The US hasn’t even existed for 250 years total, and we’re a melting pot country. The thing we have most in common with each other is how different we are from each other. There’s really no unifying cultural touchstone that brings us together like that.

    I look back on 9/11, and for a while there we were united 100% in our outrage and anger. It didn’t take long for that to get heavily politicized, though. Then there are all the devastating hurricanes we’ve experienced along our Atlantic and Gulf coasts, but again they seem to divide more than unite. Part of me wonders if 500, 1000, or 5000 years from now, there will be some grand unifying event that pulls us together, but given the state of the world right now, part of me isn’t sure I want to be there to witness whatever event is powerful enough to bring us to that point.

  4. Andrew

    Oddly, and rather unusually, I find myself in nearly full agreement with Purple Dave. While I’d quibble with the notion that there is more dividing the US and Japan than we have in common, as someone who was born and raised in Japan, I can attest to the highly symbolic, unifying nature of the cherry blossom in Japanese culture. There are a small number of trees in Hiroshima, for example, that survived the A-bomb in August 1945, and survivors to this day talk about how seeing those trees bloom the next spring gave them hope to go on living in the face of that utter horror.

  5. Purple Dave

    @Andrew:
    I think you misunderstood me. I meant there was more dividing the US as a country than US from Japan. In the US, it increasingly seems like you can’t say 1+1=2 without one half of the country or the other getting up in arms over how your political leanings mean you must be lying.

    Our relationship with Japan seems to be pretty good, considering how far we’ve had to come in living memory. Yes, there are people on both sides who harbor hatred over WWII (and not necessarily people who lived through it), but as nations go, Japan is one of our strongest allies.

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