Monday, April 11, 2011

Blossoms of Hope

The past weeks have seen an avalanche of images from Japan, a graphic trail of photos and video detailing the destruction and loss following the earthquake and tsunami. The people there have shown incredible fortitude and patience as they continue to search collapsed cities for lost family members, to live indefinitely in crowded shelters, many with no home, school or even city to return to. Added to that have come the nightmarish stories of radiation leaks from the nuclear power plants. Who can doubt that it’s time for something uplifting and unbroken in the pictures from Japan?

I got email yesterday from a friend in Tokyo and she included a few Friday photographs she had taken in the area of Akasaka-Mitsuke in Minato Ward. Tokyo was not badly hit by the earthquake and not at all by the tsunami, and fortunately damage there was minimal, apart from power disruptions. The photos below are evidence that spring has arrived with its symbols of rebirth, its budding fresh growth and its example of ongoing resilience. Just maybe the blooming cherry trees will give some hours and days of comfort and relief to the many still struggling.

In the photograph above the silvery building behind the flowering cherry trees is the Grand Prince Hotel where about 400 families from the hardest hit areas around Sendai are being housed until the end of June. The cost is being covered by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

The photo above is one of a flowering white Spirea, called Yukiyanagi in Japanese. This shrub blooms in spring around the same time as the cherry trees.


In another topic unrelated to Japan, but something which also came to me in email is a short video from YouTube. Initially I feared it might be another of those ‘cute’ and tired film clips that travel on a constant orbit around the world via email forwards. I was way off on my guess about that. This is a good one.

The short film illustrates the POWER OF WORDS to radically change a message and its effect upon the world. The maker of the short film is Purplefeather. Homage to Historia de un letrero, The Story of a Sign by Alonso Alvarez Barreda; music by Giles Lamb; filmed by RedSnappa and directed by Seth Gardner.


  1. Video made me tear up. Well done film. And many of us know the power of words. If only the beautiful blooming cherry trees and some combination of words could change the circumstances of what is happening in Japan. But words can convey the strength and courage of the Japanese people. Like Faulkner said in his Nobel Prize speech, "I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance."

  2. The beautiful cherry blossoms in Tokyo sent by a friend are evidence of the new birth that will prevail in Japan despite the earthquake and what it did to the people. This is appropriate at this time of the year when the Easter season brings us a message of hope because of Christ. That was a moving video and so true.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America