But despite the less than full buds, we had our hanami party (along with most of the inhabitants of Sendai!). Hanami literally translates as Flower look, but it generally refers to viewing Cherry Blossoms. There is a national obsession with them in Japan, as many people know, and trees are everywhere. Whilst people obviously enjoy their beauty, to a lot of people, hanami really only means one thing...having a drunken picnic in a park with your friends. People have hanami parties with friends, family and work colleagues, and blue sheets (these seem to be essential) spring up everywhere. The parks are ridiculously crowded, but that's all part of the fun - it's Japan, so people are generally polite, friendly and tidy, even when they're rolling around drunk. Despite the weather being distinctly overcast, and it being rather too cold for a picnic, we thoroughly enjoyed ours yesterday, and I'm almost sad that we're going to Taiwan next weekend so we can't have another one!
Here's a collection of the photos of the day!
Juggler collecting money for the rebuilding effort
Our food...it's a testament to our collective cooking skills that the bought food was left pretty much untouched while we all devoured everything homemade!
There was a procession of dancers and musicians, just adding to the festival atmosphere
Just for variation!
Date Masamune, Sendai's founder. This costume pops up at everything!
The Japanese half of our hanami group!
Friends, flowers, food, alcohol. All that's needed for successful hanami!
Lanterns sponsored by Kirin Beer, naturally.