May 10, 2011
Sakura #2 - Ink on wood, 10" x 20"
A little delayed, but here's the scan of the painting I did for my VIVA!Tokyo event last month.
From the title, obviously, I was inspired by the local cherry blossoms to create this piece. As I was running around all over Tokyo like a madman, planning and setting up the VIVA!Tokyo event, I often took little breaks and breathers just to enjoy the cherry blossoms. This was the first time in my life that I was able to experience a full sakura season from start to finish, so I was quite thrilled to be able to witness the life cycle of a cherry blossom. But it wasn't the beauty of these seasonal flowers alone that inspired me to create a painting based on sakura. The nation of Japan is currently struggling to get back on it's feet following the largest earthquake to devastate this island nation, and the cherry blossoms couldn't have come at a better time to cheer this nation up. All year long, people long for and look forward to be able to hana-mi (cherry blossom picnic parties), and just be drunk and merry. The Japanese people truly love this season and these pink flowers.
But because of the large scale of devastation, death and people affected in the aftermath of this natural disaster, the government was calling on the people of Japan to show restraint, and not celebrate the cherry blossoms this year. Indeed, it is inappropriate to be drunk when there are people suffering and in need of aid in another part of Japan, but I personally felt that this was exactly what this nation needed, in such a dark time. I'm not saying we should be obnoxious and forget what's going on, but we are suffering as a nation, and we should be smiling every chance we get to lift up those around us. And what better way to remember the Touhoku than to have a party dedicated to the Touhoku. We can buy foods and sake produced in the areas affected and devastated, to help their local businesses, and also spread that spirit to others. Sake breweries from affected areas even posted messages on YouTube saying that's the best way to help them recover, to buy products and to keep them in business.
Obviously, this is easier said than done. The Japanese people are a very subdued culture and do not like to stand out, so this sakura season came and went without much fanfare. So I was inspired to create this painting to keep the hana-mi spirit alive, remember those in need of our help, and also not to forget to enjoy the moment and smile once in a while.