Sakura Space

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Human life and natural life are often seen to be at odds, so the points where they intersect — urban beaches, wall trees, overgrown vacant lots — feel wonderfully transgressive. Cities are such regulated environments that the intrusion of a self-governing natural element is disruptive and thrilling.

That’s especially true around this time of year, when cherry blossoms begin to bloom. In Japan, this occasion is used an excuse to throw hanami parties under the blossoms, and similar gatherings occur elsewhere in the world. When I was in Vancouver last spring, there was a sakura festival outside the Burrard Street SkyTrain station, with music and bento boxes that people held up to the flowers and photographed. Elsewhere in the city, small crowds gathered around particularly attractive blossoms to take photos.

These sakura spaces are ephemeral in the extreme: one week they’re there, the next they’re gone. The area outside Burrard station is a pretty unremarkable place, a sunken concrete plaza where office workers eat their sandwiches before returning to another slog in the cubicle. But for two weeks each spring, the arrival of the cherry blossoms transforms it into somewhere almost magical, a feather-ceilinged outdoor room that people go out of their way to visit.

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Elsewhere in the city…

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This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Tuesday March 26 2013at 01:03 am , filed under Canada, Environment, Public Space, Society and Culture and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Response to “Sakura Space”

  • Desmond Bliek (@desmondbliek) says:

    When I lived in Vancouver, we had an ‘on the map’ cherry tree in front of our place, and it was pretty surreal how, out of nowhere, dozens of people with cameras would show up, do their thing, and just as mysteriously, disappear in search of the next tree. Deservedly amazing how a tree can do that…