花見 Hanami – Flower Viewing

28 03 2009

I just realized I haven’t posted in a number of days and the number of views I’m getting on the page has tanked to zero :'(.  I guess I was too absorbed in Idolmaster :P.  So, I’m going to describe a fairly common Japanese tradition.  This is a practice largely akin to how North Americans go to observe fall leaves I guess. The hanami is just a great excuse to go on a picnic with some coworkers and enjoy yourselves, which is perfectly fine in my book!

The date that the sakura’s are fully open in Japan are announced by the Japanese Weather Observatory a couple of weeks in advance to the actual event.  This year the date is in March 20th.  It also corresponds to the date where Kyoto will be impossible to enter :P.  I”m currently reconsidering my plans to attend MikuFes because of this.  Also, contrary to what is shown in drama and manga, sakura are for the most part very very white, with a slight tinge of pink.

Sakura Blossom

Sakura Blossom

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In anime and drama, you always see these magnificent lunchboxes prepared by the female characters for the protagonist.  Alas, I am not a protagonist so I settled with going to the supermarket with all my coworkers and we had the following for lunch.  Please don’t ask me to name what I ate, because I have no idea either!  But, it was delicious.

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Supermaket Lunch Boxes

Idle banter, great food, great scenery, and of course great beer is to be enjoyed during this festival.  It’s definitely alot of fun to just chill with your friends and acquaintances and just enjoy the scenery.  Unfortunately, the park I was at, 知多半田 chita handa park, was suffering from a severe bout of cold weather.  The sakura’s did not fully open, and all of us were left half freezing :(.

My Supervisor's Dog Attempts to Attack our Lunch

My Supervisor's Dog Attempts to Attack our Lunch

Park Scenery, noticably devoid of blooming sakura

Park Scenery, noticably devoid of blooming sakura

Well even though the Sakura weren’t quite blooming, the festive atmosphere certainly was.  There were a huge number of stores open hosting carnival like games (picking up fish with paper nets, etc.) and of course tons of yakisoba, taiyaki, and takoyaki stores as well.  You can see two of them in the picture above.

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Sakura Tree

A bonus to the park was that it doubled as a free zoo.  Peacocks, flamingos, monkeys, etc.!

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Well afterwards, we all went and made merry at Karaoke for 2 hours at Big Echo.  Gosh was that expensive, next time I’m definitely going back to my usual spot :P.

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8 responses

29 03 2009
Yuki Phnx

Ooh! that zoo makes me think of the one in Waterloo Park!

Idolmaster? The game?

29 03 2009
bluemage

Sounds like you had a lot of fun, even though the sakuras didn’t really bloom. But the food in the picture certainly looks good.

29 03 2009
aaroninjapan09

@Yuki Phnx: Yup Idolmaster the game. It’s actually far more amusing than I thought it was going to be.

@bluemage: I definitely did have fun, hanami seems more about the atmosphere than anything.

29 03 2009
robostrike

Sakura trees are starting to bloom and you were able to see the prelude of the conforming falling of pedals at 5cm/s. It beats not seeing them at all here in Waterloo T_T

30 03 2009
Yuki Phnx

you can always make a trek down to west toronto at high park. the sakuras are usually in full bloom at the beginning of may.

actually, where will u be next term? me and a couple of friends r thinking of going together

30 03 2009
meronpan

hanami is still high on my list of things to do. loooove sakura and though i did spend a brief amount of time eating some snacks in ueno park with some friends… it wasn’t the full blown stake out an area, bring out all the food and chill for a couple hours experience that i wanted. (still lovely though ^^)

i notice some sakura are very very pink… i guess maybe it’s a different species of tree or something? for whatever reason they’re a lot more rare than the white/sliiiightly pink ones. (in the places i’ve been)

30 03 2009
aaroninjapan09

@Yuki Phnx: There are sakura in Toronto? :O That’s certainly news to me.

@meronpan: I asked around at work, but apparently the white sakura is far more popular than the pink :P. For some reason, the ads and anime and drama always have it as much. It’s a running gag among the Japanese people that the pink sakura are due to digital image editting though!

I’m going to see if I can be in kyoto when the petals fall. Really want to see pink blossoms.

5 04 2009
Yuki Phnx

Mmhmm

It’s in the park right outside High Park station on the Bloor line

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