After months of unrelenting control, summer’s horribly clammy fingers are finally beginning to lose their grip on the capital’s climate. Not that it’s currently all that obvious, as the temperatures are still high and the humidity very similar, but the arrival of the late summer/early autumn flowering higanbana (red spider lily), does at least confirm it.
Known as the flower of death, the higanbana is a beautiful, slightly otherworldly sight, that easily lives up to references in its name to, ‘the other shore’.
Poisonous to rodents and other wild animals, they were often planted in and around graveyards during Japan’s pre-cremation days to stop the dead being eaten. Plus their bright colours are said to guide souls into the afterlife, which one would assume explains their use at funerals.
Yet while in many ways representing death, they are nonetheless very resilient to it, as despite being battered by typhoon Man-yi yesterday, this particular flower is still alive, well and just as wondrous.