Wednesday, 1 April 2009

PostHeaderIcon Good Japan: Hanami


I suppose I should write something nice about the country I have decided to stay another year in. I don't really hate Japan but it isn't as fun when I write about positive things. Still, let's give it a show with Hanami (花見)which translates as flower viewing. However, it really refers to this time of year in Japan when the さくら(cherry blossoms) explode into life.

Japan is covered in Sakura trees and so when the flowers come to bloom the whole country has a scattering of pink as far as the eye can see. They are very pleasant to look at and I especially like driving around my local area and admiring them. However, the more enjoyable part of Hanami is the numerous parties which occur under the trees. The parks are covered in blue sheets (buru sheeto in katakana English) and people gather to share food and drink beers. It is a very nice atmosphere and I do quite admire Japan sometimes for the tradition and continuation of these festivals. Sure... people back home will maybe have a picnic in the park occasionally but it would be nice for there to a more entrenched culture for festivals etc back home.

This year has been a little bit cold for hanami and I had one last Tuesday with my English class which was a little rubbish. However, I went to Matsuyama last weekend with my ichiban tomodachis and we got pretty drunk over the two days. We chilled out in the park on the tatami mats and drank beers and ume-shu (plum liquer). We then headed up to the castle on chair lifts to drink more under the trees. We seemed to amuse a lot of Japanese people by 1) being foreign 2)drawing on ourselves 3)being drunk and 4)dancing to Daft Punk. It was excellent. I love 花見.

Interesting note: The cheery blossoms are very short lived and die after about a week. The sakura have a very deep and strong meaning for Japanese people. I'm not generalising because they all tell me this themselves. Their short lived beauty is meant to symbolise life and such. It is very much part of the "samurai spirit" as the young men would go off and die in a blaze of glory. Also, it was used quite a lot as a propaganda "tool" in World War Two because of this.


Hide said...

I visited your blog for the first time and I enjoyed your articles.
I moved into NY from Tokyo 2years ago for my husband job.I am missing Sakura and Hanami so much!!!!

Ahoy hoy said...

Hello. Thanks very much. I moan about Japan a lot but don't be offended, I quite like it.

Hide said...

Please don't mind.I understand it.I like NY so far,people are friendly and it's exciting city.But still, I sometimes feel hard because of language or culture.It's not easy to live in other coutries.Enjoy your stay in Japan!!!

Ahoy hoy said...

I find the language more of a problem than the culture. If anything, I like people doing things that differ from me. It's just stressful when I struggle to do simple tasks like... make a Tsutaya card. The failure and shame.

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About Me

I am a 24 year old Scotsman currently teaching English to Japanese schoolchildren. I live in a small town on the east coast of Kochi prefecture.