Hanami and Social Change

IMG_3243Springtime in Japan is a beautiful time full of flowers and change. Sakura spread their beautiful pink, white, and red petals everywhere. I knew there were lots of sakura around but their colorful brilliance peeks from the most mundane spaces, showcasing them from a new perspective. New spaces continue to jump from nothing. It’s quite wonderful! It makes you want to stop and create a moment to reflect.

But with spring comes the frightening concept of change. Japan is generally thought of as a conservative nation that views change with distrust. It’s a not uncommon feeling across the world. But springtime in Japan is a time of enormous social change. The school year ends in late March and the mass of graduates enter the workplace. It is also the time of transfers. Nearly every large business, both public and private, transfers employees from one site to another. For large national corporations, that could mean anywhere in Japan. For public employees, that could mean anywhere in the prefecture or whoever your employer is.

IMG_1845Families are sometimes separated. A wife or husband might have to transfer to the other side of the prefecture, leaving behind an empty house. Weekends become the time for family to catch up and create memories. It’s difficult for all involved.

From what I’ve seen so far, most people look at being transferred as an opportunity. Yes, there is a lot of stress and change, but with that change comes new faces, new conversations, new landscapes, and new ideas. It’s an opportunity to grow.

IMG_3322With spring comes change and flowers. It’s a time of new hellos and old good byes, difficult transitions and easy tradition.  As you sit below the sakura and look up at the wondrous petals, think of the past and the future. But most of all, live in the moment and take in breathtaking beauty.

In other words, stop and smell the roses (or sakura).

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About Matthew J. Durocher

Matthew Durocher is a graduate of Michigan Tech University. He acquired his BA in English along with a minor in Music Composition and a certificate in Writing in Spring 2012. His style is one of passion and musicality. One foot is firmly rooted in tradition while the other slides dangerously close to the clouds.
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