Guest Posts

Guest Post: Hirst, Hockney, Ballard-Wyllie And The Timeless Charms Of Cherry Blossom

By Eddie Saint-Jean

Two superstar artists, one aspiring contemporary artist divided on visual language but united by a shared appreciation of Japan’s national flower. The art world has suddenly gone all cherry blossom. And why not? Damien Hirst has gone from pickling sharks, and Swarovski crystal-studded skulls to painting blossoming flowers.

And not to be outdone, David Hockney’s cherry blossom efforts have also been in the news as he swaps paint for an iPad to capture the blossoming magic of spring at his Normandy retreat. London artist Denise Ballard-Wyllie claims she was there first, painting them since she was a child and this passion was rechannelled during a residency at Myddleton House Gardens in Enfield painting cherry blossoms and capturing the super-charged content of nature.

Continue reading “Guest Post: Hirst, Hockney, Ballard-Wyllie And The Timeless Charms Of Cherry Blossom”

Japanese Cuisine · Sake Reviews

Nizawa Atago No Sakura Junmai Daiginjo Review: As Memorable As A Cherry Blossom In Spring

sakura sake

In the realm of sake, junmai daiginjo is a major talking point among nihonshu drinkers. Considered to be a high premium grade, junmai daiginjo sake has its fair share of admirers. I’m of the opinion that all sake is worth drinking. Each blend has its own unique flavour and no two bottles are ever the same.

But crossing into junmai daiginjo territory is always fun, and that’s exactly what I did with a bottle of Nizawa atago no sakura. Taking influence from the Japanese cherry blossom, this sake is certainly memorable. Continue reading “Nizawa Atago No Sakura Junmai Daiginjo Review: As Memorable As A Cherry Blossom In Spring”

Poetry

Hanami Season

Mental health is

a cherry blossom

swirling in the wind

precious, delicate

rising and falling with seasons

blooming in times of brightness

waning in the absence of light

beautiful to behold

when left to grow free

a spectacle to unite

friends and family

too long from your side

let the petals run through your fingers

and know that you are one of many

who will bloom in the darkest of circumstances

the blackest of nights

and live on in the face of adversity

Poetry

Sakura

From the moment of first bloom
lost love is ignited
in bursts of pink and magenta
flower of contemplation
falling in a gossamer stream
each petal tinged with a memory
for those who came before
hold a five-sided promise 
while Maiko wave branches
tipped with fleeting glory
it is the time of Hanami
where temporal beauty grows 
thin as paper
song and companionship 
are the colours of spring
honour takes root beneath trees
that echo the old proverb
whoever finds a three-sided cherry blossom will always have love in their lives