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'Mono no aware' is a term used to describe an awareness of the ephemerality of things. This awareness of the fact that things are transient, that they don't last forever, magnifies the appreciation of such things and kindles a gentle sadness of the thing's passing.
A common example of this is the sakura (cherry blossoms). In the Japanese spring, as the sakura blooms into their popular pink blossoms, the people gather to watch this spectacle of nature; people ate lunch under the trees while they appreciated the sakura. This is known as hanami (literally "flower viewing"). However, the spectacle only lasts for a short time, the blossoms reaching full peak in about a week. Mono no aware is applied here as the short lives of the cherry blossoms evokes a sadness after the they disappear; something so beautiful disappearing in an instant.