Poetic Name (Mei)
Description / source poetry
"Blossoming through rock, Mt Tokiwa azaleas reveal my true love - My stone lips speak his name not, while my heart longs for him in flowers"
- from the 古今集 Kokinshū
「岩躑躅」"Rock Azalea" / iwa tsutsuji
Air Perfumed 'Spring'
Towards the end of spring, the green foliage of the mountains and trees around town glistens in the warm sunshine. ‘Kunpū’ is the early summer breeze that carries the sweet, fresh fragrances of the vibrant foliage.
White gull /
A seagull is coomunly called 'kamame' in Japanese. 'Hakuō' (white gull) and 'kamame' (seagull) are older, more poetic names for 'seagull'.
The seagull may not evoke such a beautiful image for us in modern times. Human civilisation brings out the worst in seagulls. Australians will be used to seagulls fighting madly over chips (fries) at the cricket. In Marseille (and seagulls in Europe are much bigger than in Australia), I was horrified at the sight of a seagull pecking to death a pigeon before ripping off and gulping down bits of the pigeon's flesh. But the sight of seagulls soaring majestically on the sea-breeze, scanning the deep blue for prey, mirrors something primal in our own selves. It can be beautiful or ugly. Perhaps the horror seagulls inspire in us comes from the reflection we see of our selves caught in the madness of consumerist society.
"Countless are the mountains in
But perfect is the heavenly hill of Kagu;
When I climb it and survey my realm,
Over the wide plain the smoke-wreaths rise and rise,
Over the wide lake the gulls (kamame) are on the wing,
A beautiful land it is, the Land of Yamato!
- Emperor Jomei, Manyōshū
The abundance of spring blooms sparks indulgent play. Sitting in warm grass, you weave countless flowers into a wreath and matching daisy chain, before crowning your friend with the glory of nature.