March 12, 2019
Shoji Spa & Lodge
Ahhhhh…. We can feel spring time approaching, with the slight scent of blooming in the wind as the cool breeze sweeps what is left of the previous autumn’s leaves. In two weeks, it will officially be Springtime here in Asheville. And at Shoji, we love and respect Spring (Haru) as much as Japan does. So, what does Springtime mean to Japanese culture?
Japan has a rather short Spring season, beginning in late March and ending in late April. During that short time, the Japanese celebrate the harmony between humans and nature with picnics under the Cherry Blossoms and countless festivals. Being an agricultural country, and since agriculture is controlled by the seasons, Japan is characterized by the leisurely change of the seasons. “In contrast to the Westerners who fight with and conquer nature, the Japanese live in harmony with nature and desire to become one with it.” This respect for and celebration of nature is most aesthetically prominent during the most beautiful time of year: Spring! And in Japan, that aesthetic comes from the beautiful and momentary blooming of the Cherry Blossoms, or Sakura.
For just a couple weeks out of the year, typically between March and April, these beautiful, vivid magenta flowers cover the landscape of Japan like a pink umbrella. The flowers symbolize a beautiful innocence during a seasonal representation of renewal and growth that has become almost internationally and inherently recognized by other cultures.
The Haiku, which has
become an globally recognized form of poetry, is rooted in Japan’s oneness with
nature, and more often than not is representing of Spring time.
The cherry blossoms:
Being ill, how many things
I remember about them
by layer, eight-layered
Moon at twilight
a cluster of petals falling
from the cherry tree
cherry blossom petals
blown by the spring breeze against
the undried wall
- Masaoka Shiki
Asheville may not have thousands of cherry blossoms, but the region does celebrate the blooming of spring with the beautiful pink hues of the rhododendron. Asheville also has a spiritual sense of harmony between humans and nature. Here at Shoji, we celebrate Spring by immersing you into the spiritual nature of the Blue Ridge Mountains and sharing that experience with those individuals that can feel the season’s power as much as the Japanese people have for centuries.