What I’ve learnt in Japan …

Something that I really love about the Japanese is their appreciation and wholehearted embracing of everything impermanent and seasonal. They love the idea that something is with us for a few short weeks and then disappears again for another year; there’d be no demand here for Creme Eggs in September. For them, seasonality underlines the transience of our life on Earth, and they look with gratitude at the positives – counting their seasonal blessings, you might say.

The cherry blossom is perhaps the most celebrated of their seasonal delights, but the azalea season follows straight on, and what better way to celebrate it than to get yourself to the park and photograph your doll in her best come-hither pose, against a backdrop of blooms?

or … if you’d feel a little self-conscious with a doll, why not dress yourself up in a saucy maid outfit and cat ears and get your boyfriend to photograph you?

After the azaleas come the roses, and they seem to draw a more mainstream crowd. Everyone out in the rose garden is either drawing –

or taking photos –

Although some people were more interested in the roses as a colourful backdrop –

These two dogs were a couple of pros – they sat on that basket without moving for about a hundred photos, and then got down and walked round to the next rose bed for a repeat of the whole performance.

And although most of the rose fanciers were pretty conventional, there was the odd exception –

I wasn’t sure if this 3D flower outfit was intended to blend in with, or stand out from, the surroundings. And her friend has a definite look of Worzel Gummidge’s Aunt Sally about her. But they had a wonderful time being photographed in front of the roses, and now I’m sure the oufits have been carefully packed away until the roses flower again next spring.

From now on, I shall be embracing the positive in each season, and not grumbling about the rain, fog, wind etc etc. I will also be boycotting Hot Cross Buns in January and spring onions in autumn – long live the four seasons!