By Dr Nusrat Majeed
Gloomy lockdown in beautiful spring makes me nostalgic about my stay in Japan and the and the lovely springs that I enjoyed in different parts of the country The first spring was experienced during my cardiology training in Tokushima university.
what took me there is a frequently asked question .It dates back to my studies in Mc Master’s university in Canada and then Mayo clinic Minnesota in the US ,where I had gone for my post graduate training ,after graduating from King Edwards medical college in Lahore
At both these prestigious universities I was thoroughly impressed by Original work and the research by the japanes cardiologists ,so I decided to go to japan to have first hand experience.it was not easy but I was bent upon visiting japan and finally landed at Tokushima airport on the 20th of March 1992
I was greeted very warmly by the Dean and the professorial staff of cardiology depepartment
It was a new world all together ,homogeneity of society ,very rich culture and above all THE CHERRY BLOSOMS were out of this world
My university was in Shikoku [four countries] prefecture It is famous for its towering mountains in the middle of island and has its share of natural marvels and attractions not be missed.
Like our twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad ,Tokushima too has a twin city Naruto,a place famous for Whirlpools, as a matter of fact it is among the world,s top three whirlpools
In between sky and the whirlpools is Naruto bridge ,a beautiful piece of architecture, is simply awe inspiring Shikoku,s history can be traced back all the way back to the era ,when Bhuddism was first introduced to Japan from China,so this prefecture is full of ancient,historical temples and shrines and has breath taking scenery[only in tokushima there are 86 temples and shrines]
Now coming back to Spring —–In japan it is synonymous with Sakura[cherry blossom] and Hanami ,it literally translates to flower [hana] viewing [ mi ] It is much more than just admiring flowers,though it is a celebration of newness but it is also transience Hanami and sakura are a major cultural phenomenon throughout the country and heralds the arrival of spring .
Boughs upon Boughs of cherry blossoms decorate the sky in pale pink,their delicate silhouette no larger than a thumb.
Beneath this sea of flowers is the huge sea of plastic mats The delicate cherry blossom trees bloom and from the very first pop of colour to the last fallen patel , the people celebrate Hanami
The full bloom of cherry blossoms happen from late March to Early april.It is also a season of many changes in Japan including graduations and entrance ceremonies to school, so there are many reasons to celebrate.
Academic and fiscal year also starts from 1st April This fleeting beauty of Japan is renowned all over the world
On the 3rd day of my arrival ,my department planned a Hanami trip at mount BIZAN ,it is called so because it is shaped like an eye brow. It was an unforgettable experience .
People from all walks of life including women ,children and the elderly come out in these beautiful gardens .
They eat and drink while basking under the flowers . Appreciation of nature aside, HANAMI is where every one from salary man to tourists can meet and greet, with the sole purpose of having good time.
It is an experience so uniquely Japanese. For centuries sakura has been an integral part of culture from music and performing arts to handicrafts and cuisine
This sense of appreciating nature —–petals falling on the ground along with change in people,s lives ,the delightfulness and gentle excitement of it all –is closely connected with the perishing of the moment .we are startled into thoughts on the brevity of life.
This is a deep philosophy of the Japanese culture which is reserved , humble and formal.