01 March 2012

The Time of Plum Blossoms


When I was studying Japanese culture during my College years, I was particularly fascinated by the taste for seasonality and nature changes in the traditional Japanese arts. This admiration of the beauty of seasons can be found in many short poems - such as Haïku - paintings, literature, art objects such as tea pots, floral arrangement...

As early as the tenth century, women from the Imperial court in Kyoto were already writing poetry on seasons and admiring the beauties of nature such as Autumn full moon, Winter snow, Spring cherry blossoms in their personal journal.

This period of the year, February to early March, is very difficult - Winter is getting long, Christmas Holidays are long gone and Spring takes its time to arrive - there are beauties to be admired in this season as well. For the Japanese, the symbol of February is the plum blossom, one of the first to come out in the desolate landscapes of late Winter...

Here is a reason to enjoy even this hard time of the year! As a bonus, a few seasonal joys of my own...
  • Enjoy the very last snows
  • Cook all kinds of "crêpes" for the French  traditional "Chandeleur" day
  • Find a reason for a Carnival day - or better, spend some time in Venice or Nice!
  • Find out every evening that the sun is setting a little later
  • Look for the first buds on the trees
  • Leave the big coat at home and replace it with a heavy jacket, and enjoy skirts with tights
  • Enjoy the last weeks of Winter foods: Cheese tartiflette, Cheese raclette, Cheese fondue...
  • See new vegetables and fruit appear every week at the market: the first asapragus, the first celeriac, the first strawberries...

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