Finally, it's spring. The most anticipated season in Japan has finally arrived. It also means that will the streets and parks will be covered with pink canopies, aka cherry blossoms (sakura), for a limited couple of weeks. It's mother nature's treat, or to an extent a bribe, for giving us a cold embrace for the past few months.
Why spring is very popular here in Japan? It's because of the Hanami, or flower viewing. Everyone, from friends, families, tourists, is out of their houses, troops to the park and enjoys being showered by these petals falling at a speed of 5 cm/s. You can't even prohibit a person who is allergic to pollen to miss this event. Parks around Tokyo is turning into a big playground.
Hanami (花見, lit. "flower viewing") is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, "flower" in this case almost always meaning cherry blossoms ("sakura") or (less often) plum blossoms ("ume") more here
Last Saturday, I brought my friends, who are having a one-week vacation in Japan, to two of the popular parks around Tokyo, Shinjuku gyoen and Yoyogi koen. The weather was perfect and was very cooperative allowing us to maximize our time. There was no need to listen to the complaints of our trembling legs. Everything that is happening in the park is very random. Some take it as a photo opportunity. Some to get drunk. Others to play. To bond with their family. To be crazy. Name it and you can see a representative or two. Just like a group of Japanese ladies (yes, they're not teens) playing with their dolls.
And there are some who pretend to be dolls. What's not to love in Japan? It's been nine years since declaring " I LOVE JAPAN". Slightly off topic but I just want to share, Sakura is one of my favorite Japanese songs. I used to memorize it too.
Shinjuku gyoen is stricter compared to Yoyogi ken. No booze is allowed and there's an entrance fee of 200 yen. The place is very good though. Lots of cherry blossoms variety show-off during our visit. Yoyogi ken on the other hand is more animated compared to the former. This place defines the celebration of spring.
spring sends sakura
sake's japanese wassail
blankets in pink hues
Ah spring, even if you are not my favorite season, I'll fully welcome you should you plan in staying for a year. You just don't know how you make every one inspired and genkii. Give me a ring once you have your decision.