Yesterday I noticed Winter has well and truely arrived in Japan: not only in the sudden and shocking coldness outside but also the annual sight of Japanese tree surgeons butchering the cherry trees near where I live. Every year I hear the same excuse about it being needed for the trees to blossom and flourish next spring. Now this, of course, may be true, I know very little about tree surgery after all; all I do know however is that after the workmen have gone the streets are lined with extremely forelorn, amputated ex-trees.
Then of course there is the usual clipping and pruning and shaping and wrapping and smothering and supporting that seems to be part of any Japanese gardening, not to mention the arboreal torturing known as bonsai. It is enough to make you wonder if the Japanese really hate trees. Come Spring when the mountain cedars have their pollened revenge, the Japanese grumble and sniff about them so much so that winter`s massacre looks almost cruelly pre-emptive.
But, as the photo above proves, there are some in this country that love trees. Another annual event in Kanazawa`s Kenrokuen Garden is when ropes (called yukitsuri) are tied to the trees there to protect their branches from heavy snow. Of course it`s a little over the top, nature is generally inconveniently unmanageble and must be subdued and limited as best it can, but this tradition is to help the tree survive and actually looks quite spectacular. Indeed it has become one of Kanazawa`s iconic images and I was lucky enough to see them stringing up the tree on my last day there a few weeks ago.
That`s all for now. See you soon