If it weren’t for its’ saw-toothed edges, this pale pink blossom could be mistaken for the blossom of the plum (ume) tree.
But this flower is a nadeshiko, or wild carnation. In Japan the nadeshiko is often interpreted to be a reference to yamato nadeshiko, a term used to describe a shy young woman who eptomizes the pure and reserved character of a traditional Japanese woman. In my favorite Japanese novel, Sasameyuki (translated into English as The Makioka Sisters) by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, one of the four adult sisters is such a yamato nadeshiko that she is unable to bring herself to speak on the telephone when a suitor calls.
I don’t think there are many yamato nadeshiko’s left in Japan — although I’m sure there are plenty of wild carnations in May.