The Hydrangea Festival at Hakusan Shrine

The Hydrangea Festival at Hakusan Shrine

As I wait for the snow to melt on the hyakumeizan peaks, I’m also visiting sites of interest and festivals (matsuri) taking place around Japan. Flowers are a particularly important part of Japanese culture, and Bunkyo City, in Tokyo, celebrates five major flower festivals every year. Last weekend (June 9-10) was the Ajisai (Hydrangea) matsuri, celebrating the spectacular hydrangeas that bloom in Tokyo–and across Japan–each June.

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The Symbolism of Japanese Hydrangea

In my first Hiro Hattori / Shinobi Mystery, Claws of the Cat, I mention an arrangement of hydrangea blossoms in the room where the murder occurred. Flowers have great importance in Japanese culture. The art of ikebana, or traditional flower arranging, developed hundreds of years ago and was considered an appropriate art for both men and women–many samurai studied ikebana as well as swordsmanship. In Japan, flowers have long been displayed in seasonal contexts. Certain flowers are considered “appropriate” for, symbolic of, and associated with, specific times of year. Additionally, flowers carry traditional meanings that are understood by students of ikebana and Japanese culture. Hydrangea

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A Shift in the Wind…

Over the next few weeks, you’ll notice a shift in the blogging winds here at Spann of Time. With The Ninja’s Daughter set to release on August 2, I’m changing up the blogging just a little. Mondays will remain my days for Japanese culture and history posts (still featuring photos from Japan), and  the Twitter #Publaw feed and its associated post will continue to hold the Wednesday spot. However, I’m shifting my aquarium-related posts to Fridays (Fishy Friday, anyone?) and moving forward, Tuesday and Thursday will belong to guest posts, the occasional book reviewer writing-relating musings . . . and photography. I’ve loved photography all my

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