Sakura and Wabi-sabi

Japan has all these complex concepts, and one of them is wabi-sabi. How do we define it? Nick Kemp shares how he used Sakura as a metaphor to describe the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi.

Understanding the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi.

Nick: I used Sakura as a metaphor in a different podcast to describe wabi-sabi, like when it's in full bloom, and it's bright, it's beautiful. But I had this idea of wabi-sabi when maybe it's, you know, people have stopped going, to view the cherry blossom. 

So maybe you have this salaryman, and he's walking home, and he's walking through the cherry blossoms, and there are almost no petals. 

He just happens to look up and at that moment, a few pebbles scatter, and he stops. He has that moment, and then it's gone. That leaves him in this state of contemplation or reflection, or he just notices it, and it's gone. But it's almost like nature's mushin moment.

Rie: Yeah, totally. It's like our life.

Nick: I always tell my students that Japanese words, they're really hard to understand, and if we try to define them, if you say, wabi-sabi is imperfect beauty, you're not getting it all. So open your mind to a long discussion about these words. 

Rie: Yeah, that's the most complex one, wabi-sabi.

Nick: So this is what I do by having guests on, like you who are very knowledgeable in these areas to learn so much.