Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo, March 29, 2004; click for gallery

Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo, March 29, 2004. Bessa R2, CV 35mm f/2.5 ‘Pancake’, Fuji Acros 100.

Better late than never, here is a gallery of cherry blossom photos if you’re interested. I made a conscious decision this year to try to capture the ephemeral blossoms in black and white. Not sure how successful this attempt was, but you be the judge. I was partly inspired by the B/W sakura photos of a Japanese photographer by the name of K-Funk (see the three different “sakura” galleries on this page). I did take some color photos, but decided to leave them out of the gallery (you can see one online here).

Without living here in Japan it is really hard to comprehend just how much everything revolves around the blossoms for the one or two weeks they bloom, not to mention all the predicting and tracking of the blossoms that occurs on the nightly news, numerous web sites, and several special edition magazines in the weeks leading up to the actual blossoming. Finding a Japanese person who’s apathetic toward the blossoms is about as hard as finding one who will say on record that they love the rain — in other words, good luck.

The Japanese concept of mono no aware (simplistically, the impermanence of things) is often mentioned in the context of the cherry blossoms. But some students of mine, they of an older generation, taught me a heretofore unknown adjective when they tried to explain the appeal of the blossoms: isagiyoi. The dictionaries define this as “gracious” or “sportsmanlike,” but perhaps we can say “accepting defeat gracefully.” These students couldn’t help adding that this was a word seldom used to describe today’s younger generation.


4 Responses to The ever ephemeral sakura

  1. Vincent says:

    Sakura black/white: wonderful! Love these pictures (in Shinjuku Gyoen Park?)

  2. Kurt says:

    thanks for your comments. you’re right, 10 of the 15 were shot in Shinjuku Gyoen (200 yen entry but highly recommended), and the others were taken at Kitanomaru Park/Chidori-ga-fuchi.

  3. The Power of Good Photography

     I saw this picture over at hmmn: musings from the far east(erwood) and I was amazed. Not just at this one picture but from all of Kurt’s photos. I am sorta jealous and I hope some day to be able…

  4. says:


    Earlier today I made my first posts from my cell phone thanks to a nifty little program over at Moblogging For Other People. I’ve been wanting to get into this whole moblogging (posting blog entries from your cell phone or…

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.