All Things Fall

Sakura have come to establish impermanence and death in Japanese art. You see it in cinema all the time, and it gets included in fiction and comic art often.

Sakura often represent a beginning, because they coincide with the beginning of Japan’s school year, and fiscal year. But just as fast as they are here, they are gone, and that gets used by artists to express impermanence and loss. The falling sakura petals, and fallen sakura petals, are almost as culturally valuable as the ones still on the trees, but make excellent subjects for other reasons, and for expressing other feelings.

Maybe this is just an extension of my cherry peeping, but the fallen sakura are an entirely different sort of beautiful, and I enjoy shooting them a lot.

I’ve heard some people get uncomfortable about the way that the sakura petals just get shoved off into gutters, or bagged up and thrown away. I’ve heard people lament the disposability of the sakura, being thrown away so quickly after being the star of the show. I think that perhaps that’s a misunderstanding of the situation. It’s in their nature to bloom and then fall, and that short time reflects our own short times of success or life. The sweeping up and disposing of the fallen petals doesn’t always represent some callused discarding of a throw-away pop society, but sometimes it represents the unstoppable march of time. Time sweeps everything into the gutters of the past, and there isn’t much we can do about it, except enjoy every bit of what we have now in front of us. Including the fallen sakura.