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The Experience of Childhood as Hanami

by Ginny Sullivan and Wendy Banning
March/April 2010
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/the-experience-of-childhood-as-hanami/5019214/

Cherry blossoms last only a very short time, a matter of days, and in Japan that time is special. People treasure the experience of walking under the cloud-like trees amid the pale pink falling petals. They recognize and seek out the yearly transformation of ordinary places into landscapes of wonder. In Japan, people temporarily abandon their work, drop other commitments, and travel long distances to participate in time-honored rituals which enable them to explore, appreciate, and experience the ephemeral beauty of the event, an experience they call Hanami, which means “viewing the cherry blossoms.”

Most of us have long forgotten how, as young children, daily life was a kind of Hanami in which we offered ourselves up to the experience of each moment, using all of our senses to touch, feel, explore, investigate, and rearrange the world around us. This mode of learning is intimate, immediate, and idiosyncratic, and works particularly well where it originated: in the natural world.

As a global community, we live in an increasingly hurried and busy world. Few childhood settings are exempt from the pressure to rush, to stay on a set schedule, to meet a deadline, or to be controlled by the ...

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