Wabi-Sabi And The One Year Anniversary Of The Japanese Earthquake And Tsunami

(Image via http://www.thetsunamiandthecherryblossom.com/)

Living things have been doing just that for a long, long time. Through every kind of disaster and setback and catastrophe. We are survivors.

Robert Fulghum

On March 11, 2011, a devastating earthquake and tsunami rocked Japan’s east coast. One month later, among the ruins and debris, cherry blossoms began to bloom. Cherry blossoms, Japan’s most beloved flower, also illustrated the concept of wabi-sabi. According to ALTA Language Services, a language service company, they describe wabi-sabi as the following:

It’s a concept, an aesthetic, and a worldview. It’s also a phrase that doesn’t translate directly from Japanese into English, and the ideas behind it may not immediately translate in the minds of those who haven’t encountered it before. Put simply, it’s an intuitive way of living that emphasizes finding beauty in imperfection, and accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay. The best way to learn about wabi-sabi is just to accept that it’s there – and to begin noticing examples of it in one’s daily life.

The following video is a trailer for the documentary The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom. Amazing stills from the film are also found here. They show how the people of the hardest hit regions of Japan drew a measure of hope from the annual cherry blossom season and they illustrate the beauty in the imperfection of wabi-sabi that the Japanese found in their beloved flower.

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2 comments

  1. How good of you to post this. The cherry trees are starting to bloom here. What a time to remember.
    and what a beautiful tradition. wabi-sabi.

    one of my best friends is Japanese. i should send her this.

    thank you again.

    1. I’ve done a quick check to see if it will come out on dvd but haven’t seen anything yet. But, it’s been nominated and been in film festivals so it might still be a while. I’d love to see it.

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