When Blossoms Fall - pages 1 to 7

Summary of pages 1 to 7

Today in flower, tomorrow scattered by the wind – Such is our blossom life. How can we think its fragrance lasts forever?

Vice Admiral Takijiro Onishi, Imperial Japanese Navy

Introduction: A quote by Vice Admiral Takijiro Onishi reflects on the fleeting nature of life.

Family's arrival: A family moves to Australia from Japan. The father introduces his daughter, Yuri, to the Australian moon's imagery.

Yuri's naming: The father reflects on naming his daughter Yuri (meaning "gentle truth"). He recalls his own name, Hajime (meaning "beginning"), and the expectations it carried. He also reminisces about his time as a young pilot in the Imperial Japanese Navy and hopes his daughter will never experience war.

Father's role in Japan: Hajime becomes a businessman during Japan's economic boom. He sees himself as a pioneer of a peaceful, modern Japan.

Yuri's school experience: In Australia, Yuri feels alienated due to her unfamiliarity with Western looks and behaviours. She makes observations about her peers and creates her own explanations, like believing freckles are ingested and show up as marks on the skin.

Michiko's adaptation: Michiko, Yuri's mother, feels out of place in Australia but tries to adapt. She is saddened to see Yuri's swift assimilation, as evidenced by her changing food preferences.

Persimmon tree: Michiko tries to sweeten the persimmons from their backyard tree using traditional methods, but fails, leading her to throw them away each year. This becomes a ritual for her.

Hajime's hobby: Hajime enjoys documenting life with his camera. During an Anzac Day parade, he faces a racially motivated incident which leaves him injured and reflects the lingering animosity from the war.

Yuri's school projects: Yuri excels in school and befriends Alison. In a project on Japan, Yuri portrays it with respect and reverence. However, Alison, using information from Yuri, presents a more critical and inaccurate view of Japanese culture and history, hinting at Yuri's father's kamikaze background.

Class's reaction: The class reacts with sniggers and Yuri feels betrayed by Alison. She realises that Alison's views on Japan are not just naive but tinged with contempt.

The story delves into themes of cultural identity, assimilation, the lingering effects of war, and the complexities of friendships in multicultural settings.

Discussion questions for pages 1 to 7