Monday, 23 April 2012

Our Hanami Party

I've been doing lots of spring time wandering this last week, but the cherry blossoms have still been playing hard to get. They're most out not, but not fully, and since we've got a lot more wandering planned for this week, I'll save up my photos and you'll get a deluge later in the week.

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'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.


  1. Hanami is so much fun, even when you're freezing your butt off. :D

    Your comment about drunken behaviour in Japan is spot-on. Drunks in South Africa scare me, because they get out-of-control aggressive if not downright dangerous. Here in Japan they get silly. Maybe there's some fairy dust in the sakura that magically eliminates hostility ...

    PS: You are posting all your sakura photos before you gallivant off to Taiwan, aren't you?!

    1. I know, I like drunk Japanese people. They just laugh and fall over. I think Japan must put that happy fairy dust into the tap water or something, since nobody ever seems aggressive (with the possible exception of old ladies in the supermarket).

      I promise I'll post some photos before I go away on Saturday! If the sakura had been less slow I'd have posted some up last week, but my photos are no good really. The trees were pink but not flowering. They'll hopefully be used as the 'before' photo! I'm off on a cherry blossom hunt tomorrow, so you shouldn't have long to wait.

    2. I thank you with a very deep bow. Your river walk photos are stunning! ^^

      PS: With the very definite exception of little old ladies in supermarkets, in train stations, in trains and in any queue.

  2. Sure looks like you had a fun time. I am so envious of you guys having the chance to enjoy hanami (and pretty much everything else in Japan).

    1. It was really fun :) I love living here in Japan, and it was jealousy of other people living here that made me come! But I think living in Malaysia is pretty exciting too!

  3. This looks so pretty and also lots and lots of fun!!