The Black Narcissus




One of the most striking differences between British and Japanese culture is in the mutual love of nature. There is no doubt that the denizens of both green ancient islands openly, even quite ostentatiously, enjoy gardens, flowers, and weekend walks in the countryside :  the deceptively ramshackle English garden known worldwide for its easy beauty; the Japanese, with its mossed green serenity, equally so.

The difference in outlook, however, comes in the peculiarly Nipponesque  art of flower ‘viewing’. Where back home, with the exception of flower shows such as Chelsea, nature is usually regarded in passing, en route, something you admire naturally in its own context, unhindered and ideally pristine, and if possible, alone, in Japan this is a public, almost theme park like event that can be baffling in its sheer, profound unaestheticness to the casual European observer. Put simply, to my eyes at least, it can…

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