Sun flowers in the Jike countryside, northern Yokohama on August 1, 2014.
Hazuki is commonly understood as a month of falling leaves. Really? You might think it’s too early. Here is an explanation: since the old Japanese lunar calendar begins in mid February, the eighth month, Hazuki, actually corresponds to mid September to mid October.
For August this year, two events came to me. One was a summer festival held on August 18 (a hot Saturday afternoon) at the Edanishi primary school’s playground.
It was organized by a steering committee comprised of seven residents associations in the Edanishi area. A crowd of thousands of people flocked to the festival and to some ten food stands and eight stands for playing games; the festival ended with Bon-odori or Bon festival dance. It was a great success. I was a member of the committee, looking after two groups of volunteers responsible for keeping order and maintaining cleanliness in the festival venue.
Another event was the birth of my second grandson (first baby of my elder son) on August 12. I wish him healthy growth.
Changing the subject, I would like to talk about great painters, this time Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890), a famed Dutch impressionist. Perhaps his paintings of sun flowers are best suited to summer. It is said that the painter liked sun flowers because they represented the bright sun in southern France: and in that sense utopia to him.
According to some art experts, Gogh made seven paintings of sun flowers (the number of flowers differs from 3 to 15) but six remain now. Interestingly enough, two sun-flower paintings were bought by the Japanese; a Japanese entrepreneur bought the one with 5 flowers in 1920, but it was burnt to ashes by an air raid in 1945. Another one (with 15 flowers) was acquired by a Japanese insurance company in 1987 and is displayed at their art gallery located in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Fifteen-flower painting being displayed in Shinjyuku, Tokyo.
A self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh