Life together with death

Just next to our home across a street to the west, there is a jr. high school which has a few big cherry trees in the campus. The cherry flowers are blooming fully in a day or two. 

In various SNS in Japan, a lot of the same kind of photos showing cherry blossoms fully out have been posted like this. It is often said that Japanese love these flowers in this season. They come out at the same time and, in a few days, fall in a few days, without hesitation. They invariably add a comment to such article that such characteristics of cherry flowers are resonant to our sense of beauty.

I don't know if it is true or not. But I am still a bit doubtful about it. This species of cherry called Somei Yoshino was produced from two kinds of wild species with hybridization in the era of Meiji. The Meiji government is told to have wanted people to love something new matched to the new era. It has been multiplied with grafting ever since. The present Somei Yoshino is politically given birth and is genetically monoclonal. I could not help feeling something a bit artificial with it. 

There are sayings that cherry trees won't live too long. It is not correct. If they are cared for well, they might live long. Even though the monoclonal origin and rapid growth of the tree may make them susceptible to changes in environment.

Investigating about the life span of cherry trees or of the other kinds of trees, I have learned that trees are composed of "dead tissue" as well as live tissue at the same time. Dead tissue work as structure to maintain its external shape. If I am allowed to say it in a bold manner, maybe not accurate in academic sense, trees are living together with death. That is why some of them could live so long as several thousand years.

On the other hand, animals including human beings have lost immortality of individual case trading it with the sexual reproduction. The sexual reproduction assures good quality of life in the species. Our chromosomes have portion named telomere, which decreases in length according to cell division. After 20+ times of cell divisions, it is destined to stop its function. Our cells won't divide any longer and the individual will eventually lose its functions. That is the reason why we get older and eventually die. We traded our own immortality with this effective system to renew the human race. 

At certain age of 40s or 50s, we may suddenly start loving trees. I was not an exception. When we are conscious of our mortality, we might be inclined to love trees which still live longer. Their lives look like eternity to our standard.
Living together with death. 

Some may say it is good so far as cherry flowers look so beautiful whatever it may come from. That's correct. I might be a bit too grumpy and politically concerned. 

I yet won't straightly accepting the full blown cherry flowers.


  1. Shin, I very much enjoyed our cw contact as well as looking at your blog. My younger son works at a museum in Washington DC, where the cherry blossum season is a very exciting time of year for him, and they are just in it. I was sad to read of your mother and that the Fukishima incident may have indirectly hurt her - I did my graduate work in nuclear engineering and spent several years managing radiation safety and chemistry at a nuclear power plant very much like Fukishima, and it is interesting to me that all of our work focused on the immediate and long term effects of somatic damage, but I don't recall anyone ever discussing the psychological aspects of nuclear power and the societal impact of that. Someone should. Stay well, and I hope you can gather with friends and play the cello soon again, if not already. 73 Scott ka9p

    1. Scott, aka, Ray?,

      Nice to have such a conversational QSO even though the declining condition has deterred us from going on longer. In your, and possibly our young age, I guess nuclear power engineering used to be the cutting edge technology. In later years, however, it turned out to be uncontrollable in serious accidents as you may of course know. Yes, the accident of Fukushima nuclear power plant has left much damage, social and mental, to the people living near to it, who have evacuated from there. The accident could be even more devastating if the used nuclear fuel in the 4th reactor could not be cooled and if the reactors could not be stopped. We are here with a lot of lucks for those "if"s. I am very afraid the people may be forgetting that now and are subject to the ad by those who get profit with restarting the other nuclear power plants. Japan should decide to withdraw all the nuclear power plants.

      I am glad to know you and your wife have seen your grandson after a year absence. He is in the age when he looks most charming and adorable. Treasure every moment being with him.

      In our country, as I might tell you in the QSO, the vaccination is badly delayed. Only a million people engaged in medical work have got it. It may take a long time for us to have it here. I bet the apparent low case fatality rate etc makes the government quite lazy to do with such as vaccination program. You are lucky to have a retired radiologist for your wife who might give you proper advice etc.

      I have visited your QRZ.com page. A lot of home brewing items. It seems you are enjoying your retirement with them. May you have a long way to go in your retirement with blessed health.

      See you again very soon. If you are involved in QRP or satellite only, i could not have caught you. May I have another chance for chat very soon! Thanks again.