Why did I choose The Last Cherry Blossom for my title?


©JapanGuide

Since the cherry blossom season is winding down in Japan, I thought I’d answer the question I get asked quite a bit. It’s also a question on the teacher’s discussion guide for the students to contemplate(shh….it will be our secret).

I have always loved the look of cherry blossoms long before I had an inkling of the importance they would play in my life.  I was 8-years-old when I first gazed at cherry blossoms while we were in Tokyo, Japan for a month. We were visiting the woman I knew (and loved) as my grandmother.

I wish I could post a picture of the cherry trees from that time. However, back in those days there were no cell phones, no digital cameras-but no dinosaurs either -I’m old but not that old 🙂 My dad had an 8-mm movie camera and a 35mm film camera. Can the kids today even imagine that we would have no idea what the movie/photo would look like until it was developed? Sadly, because of this and the fact my dad was not good at taking pictures; many of the photos taken did not come out. I have come across these 8mm films recently and hope to look through them this summer, hopefully catching a glimpse of the blossoms.

In Japan, sakura hanami (cherry blossom celebration) depends on what part of the country you live in. Hiroshima’s season was April 5-12th this year. A popular spot is still Hijiyama park with 1300 cherry trees and is where the main character, Yuriko (as well as my mom) celebrated cherry blossom viewing with her family and best friend. And now, unlike during WWII in my book, visitors can admire the pink blossoms dancing in the evening under the lantern lit, starry skies.

©design_energy

©GetHiroshima

Now,back to why I named my book The Last Cherry Blossom…

There are actually a few reasons. My mother’s favorite celebration was sakura hanami, it was the last celebration together as a family, and the cherry blossoms bloomed the Spring after August 6, 1945- showing their resilience and strength.

But I also think the cherry blossom in the title can have meaning in the present. Just as I know the cherry blossom’s bloom is short and will eventually cascade to the ground; certain events are out of my control and will happen no matter how much planning, worrying, or proactive work I may do. In the past, it was my mom being sick and leaving me so devastatingly soon.

But some recent examples for me were:

Several weeks ago, we went to Myrtle Beach for our family Spring Break vacation. As some of you may know, the beach is a special place for my daughter and me. We always get one beach day in together-not for the suntan (or in our case the sunburn) but for the company of each other. And we both love the sound and look of the waves lapping against the sandy shore. I feel very close to my mom there as well. So, we looked ahead at the weather, decided on the warmest day, and planned the week around it. When our beach day finally arrived, it was sunny but windy! We could not control being pelted-no exaggeration- by the sand. We tried to tough it out, but within minutes so much sand blew onto our towels it formed a small hill. No matter how much we planned, we weren’t getting our beach day.

An ongoing example- I’ve been marketing my book, which could be a full-time job in itself 🙂 I don’t always know what area to focus on and have not been very good at pacing myself in accordance to my pain levels. But even when I am, I still can be slammed with a two-week full-blown, stuck in bed with burning pain that no amount of crispy rice treats or chocolate could help, flare up. I also became so disappointed in my body all over again for betraying me.

Lastly, this past month, I was reminded that I can’t control when someone may continue to disappoint me. I can try to make excuses for the past, bury it deep, deep down but something can trigger it and there is no way of nipping it in the bud (see what I did there?).

And when that happens, I can only react and decide how I’m going to face that challenge. Sure, I can throw my plush ‘poo’ emoji (that’s a story for another time) against a wall repeatedly, but I can only do that for so long especially before it causes another pain flare (it’s a vicious circle).

In the case of our sandstorm beach day-we moved it to the indoor pool. We had a wonderful day just the same!

When the pain flares strike, I try to accept it sooner and let my body rest, telling my type A personality everyone needs a break-I’m still working on this one (heavy sigh..).

In the last situation, I keep the memories of the good times available, while also reminding myself I’ve done what I could and some people aren’t going to change. But, I can change how I answer myself when I’m questioning if I did the right thing.

That thought reminds me of the toast Yuriko’s Papa said to his family during what would be their last celebration together:

“Cherry blossoms are like life itself-so beautiful, yet so fragile that they bloom only a short time. A toast to my family and to enjoying our time together!”

Enjoy what you can-the rebirth, the new life of the season. And when the blossom falls, know that there will be a change-it may be good or bad, you can’t always control how it unfolds, but you can control how you view it. Papa’s words remind me that you can embrace what’s coming while also letting go. After all,

“The season changes when the last cherry blossom falls……”

 

Also linking up at :

In celebrating May as Asian American Heritage Month, VisitMulticultural Kid Blogs to register for Giveaway. Second Prize pkg includes a signed copy of THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM!

Also on 5/6/17 will be linking up atDiverseKidLit

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17 thoughts on “Why did I choose The Last Cherry Blossom for my title?

    • Claire, thank you so very much for your kind words and mentioning my post on your wonderful blog! I’m so gad that we could meet this way. 🙂 Please let me know what you think about TLCB. Sending a gentle hug to you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne, Thank you so much for visiting and for your wonderful compliment. Considering all you’ve been through, I believe that you already know this idea about controlling how we view situations involving change all too well. I’m so grateful you took the time to visit and comment on my blog. 🙂

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  1. I think you’ve really captured why cherry blossoms hold such a special place in our hearts – they are nature’s way of reminding us that the dark times are only temporary, and that no matter what happens, spring will always return. Rebirth and renewal are always possible, no matter how bad things seem! Here’s wishing you more good days than bad days, and the strength to make it through those few bad days!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sandra214 says:

    Beautiful post, Kathleen. You share such wisdom. I experienced the wisdom of the Cherry Blossom after attending a wonderful party last weekend. As Monday rolled around I started to get sick. Turns out I wasn’t the only one. Seven others from the party also became ill. If that wasn’t enough, I fainted and face planted into a cabinet and now have bruising that I hope disappears before my next presentation. The Cherry blossoms fell for me then, for sure. I’m trying to laugh about it. You inspire me to laugh.

    The title is perfect and the reasons behind it… Inspirational.

    I’m thrilled for the success of your wonderful book.

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    • Sandra, Thank you so much for your kind words. That means alot to me that you feel that way. I’m so sorry that you experienced the falling of the blossom with an actual fall! I hope that your’re face’s bruising and pain is lessening-you can borrow my poo emoji anytime 🙂 Thank you for being a wonderful friend!

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    • Carol, thank you so much. Yes, I’ve been writing alittle about that. Thank you for the reminder. I hope to do it some time in maybe late June. I’ll email sometime next week about it. Your support and friendship means so much 🙂

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  3. Dear Kathleen,
    I love your post. I used to love to view the Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC. I lived only minutes away in Falls Church, Virginia. It is so neat that Cherry Blossoms meant so much to your Mother and that you named the book that for her.

    May your pain be less and less.

    Love, Joan

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    • Dear Joan, thank you so very much. How lucky that you could see the cherry blossoms in Washington DC!! I so hope to do that some day. Thank you for your compliment on the reasons for the title for my book and your wish for less pain. You are a very special friend and you truly inspire me ❤

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