“Hanami” is a Japanese tradition of welcoming spring. The literal meaning is “viewing flowers” and enjoying cherry blossoms is an old Japanese custom (that’s been around for over a 1000 years). Hanami is like a picnic to enjoy under the cherry blossoms. People get together for this short period of time and enjoy food and drinks. Many people go early in the morning to secure a spot. However, given the Covid-19, we are not allowed to (or at least, not encouraged to) do “Hanami” last year and this year, so we, Communications held the “Online Virtual Hinami” session with our colleagues via Teams, setting our own favorite cherry blossom pics as our background scene, and get together to chit chat. We all talked about “Where is your favorite hanami spot?” or “Where did you take that photo?” and had great time together.
When speaking of the spring in Japan, you cannot help but speak about sakura or cherry blossoms. These fragile, short-lived flowers are the center of attention for a few weeks in March and April throughout the country.
"If sakura did not exist,
How quiet would it be
How calm could I have lived this season."
This poem, written by the famous Ariwara no Narihira, states that, if the cherry blossoms did not exist, he would not have been excited by the arrival of spring in the slightest; rather, he would have been able to enjoy a very peaceful, but dull, life.
Beauty, graciousness, transience, new life. The sakura have been the flower of the spring in Japan for these reasons. When visiting Japan after the Covid-19 pandemic is over, please make sure of seeing the cherry blossoms at least once in your life, the sight of them may inspire new understandings of Japanese culture and sprits.
The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 gave a huge shock to people all over the world. Though 10 years have passed, we still remember all the devastating sceneries through TV news. The supports not only made by Evonik group in Japan, but also from many colleagues in Evonik groups worldwide, where some of them even donated their lunch money by skipping their meals. I was so touched by reading the warm comments for the Evonik Today's article "Don't forget 3/11!" I am very proud of being a part of this great group. Let's think together about what we can do for them now!