The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

On the weekend, we went to see a documentary about Tokyo and its huge crow population. Before it was aired, a short documentary was shown that we hadn’t realized we’d be seeing.  It was The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom.  This was an extremely moving film about the terrifying tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. There was footage of the water coming in and wiping out a town below as people stood helpless on a hill looking down at the disaster.

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms, Image courtesy of Simon Howden/

Survivors spoke about their tremendous grief and shock at what they had witnessed. Because this tragedy occurred in the spring, the cherry trees, which are greatly appreciated in Japan, soon came into blossom. Some bloomed abundantly in areas that had not been touched by the tsunami.  And some managed to survive amidst wreckage. There were scenes of huge areas full of flattened houses and buildings that had collapsed on still missing people, wrecked and upside down cars, human belongings broken and strewn in chaotic jumbles with a tree here and there beginning to send forth these exquisite pink or white flowers.

The survivors spoke of taking comfort from the cherry blossoms. Their statements were not empty platitudes but seemed to be genuine expressions of being touched by the blossoms.  The trees’ beauty, their ability to send forth flowers after such a catastrophe gave some of the survivors the feeling that they too could continue living.