冬至梅 BONSAI TOUJI-BAI: A scent that brings spring

About one month ago, I wrote about my new Bonsai in my blog.

The bonsai tree is called ‘Touji-bai (冬至梅)’, a kind of Ume (Japanese plum). The plant is named out of winter solstice as it normally blooms from the end of December to January.

touji-bai

We have relatively cold winter in Tokyo area and it started blooming last Friday.  It is now almost a full bloom.

This plant has white flowers with gorgeous scent. No wonder that the plant is of the Rosaceae family.

The scent of Ume is adopted as a theme for Japanese poems. In ‘Kokin-wakashu’ created in the beginning of Heikan era (794-1185) , there is a poem that exquisitely described the strong scent of Ume.

    ”春の夜の 闇はあやなし 梅の花

     色こそ見えね香やはかくるる”

The poem describes one spring night. someone is walking in the dark and a waft of Ume scent  is adrift in there, although Ume flower is invisible under the darkness.

The Ume flower itself looks beautiful and has visually aesthetic value but in the situation described in the poem, one is sensing the existetence of flowers only relying on the scent and it comes as a surprise in the dark. Finding beauty in such subtlety rather than in obvious is really Japanese aesthetics to me.

The scent reminds me one of my favorite fragrances, Do Son from diptyque.

Do Son

I cannot wait for spring to come………

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