Thursday, January 18, 2007


With temps yesterday at 14 degrees below zero, it's definitely time to take another mini-vacation.
So, off to Japan!

Why do I want to visit there? Well, who wouldn't? But I want to go for one thing: the nishikigoi!

I was shocked to find out they have 175 airports. Where do they put 'em?

Of course, as everyone probably already knows, the national flower of Japan is the Cherry Blossom or Sakura. But did you know it's also the Chrysanthemum?

Cherry Blossoms, in Japan, are an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life. Interestingly enough, in China it is a symbol of feminine dominance, female beauty and sexuality.
I think I like China's symbolism better :)

The favorite of the Japanese is the almost pure white Somei Yoshino (a purely ornamental variety). Sakuranbo (cherry fruit) comes from a completely different species.

The Japanese hold 'flower viewing parties' with friends and family as the blossoms open from January in the south, through late March in the north. You have to admire the fact they take time out of their busy lives just to enjoy the beauty.

Chrysanthemums are native to Europe and Asia, and were cultivated in China as far back as the 1400's. There are around 30 known species.

In Japan they are the symbol of death and are only used on graves or at funerals. (Not a happy thought!) And yet, it is the crest of the Imperial House and Emperor! The Imperial Throne is known as Chrysanthemum Throne or kikukamonshō.

Well, that's a tad confusing!

In 1966 the Chrysanthemum was adopted as the city of Chicago's official flower.

Pyrethrin, a natural insecticide, is derived from the pulverized flower, inhibits the female mosquito from biting and is used as an insect repellent. My kinda flower!

There's way too much more interesting stuff to say about the chrysanthemum, but I'll quit before I get something wrong.

Now, off to the next destination...


Angie said...

Japan is beautiful! Although thickly populated, there is still a lot of countryside left. I was amazed at how similar the plant life was to mine here in Ohio. It was extremely familiar to me.q

Tina said...

Hi, Angie, thanks for stopping by.
I imagine it is really beautiful! I might try scouting out something they grow and giving it a try here...can't hurt to try!