You can't have a blog about living in Japan and not write about hanami. The cherry blossom season is short lived which makes it all the more special. This year, many politicians urged the public to refrain from celebrating too much in light of the national disaster. This basically meant "Hey, please don't get too drunk this year. There are people suffering." Very true, but it didn't stop the crowds from gathering and it seemed like a pretty normal hanami season to me. My Japanese friends felt that the country could use a distraction and I have to agree with them. Despite the crowds, hanami season is very peaceful and a great time to reflect on the things that you're thankful for.
Nakameguro Canal at night. This is the "cook kids" hanami spot in Tokyo.
Every year I try my hardest to catch a single petal from the air. They say it's good luck and I'm a total luck whore. I had never been successful in catching one until this year. Or so I thought! Blammo tricked me into thinking I had caught one when really, he had secretly planted it in my scarf. I eventually did catch one on my own but I must say, it was awfully nice of him to help me cheat my way to it.
This was my first time to Ueno Park for hanami. Last year, I had a picnic in Shinjuku Gyoen, the other popular park for hanami in Tokyo. It was super duper cold and windy. My parents and sister were visiting and the weather really showed up for them. We had a nice day strolling through the park and reveling at all the beauty.
Uh oh! Someone bought the Hipstamatic app for her iPhone!
And someone also finally learned how to use the macro setting on her camera!
I also visited Inokashira Park in Kichijoji for the first time for one last final hanami picnic with coworkers. It was a great excuse to buy this 3-tier bento box that I will probably never use ever again and cute collectible sake one cups. I made minced chicken onigiri and various veggies wrapped in pork.
Others bought food from a nearby Seiyu, a Walmart subsidiary and go-to store for Western food and candy.
Inokashira Park is adorable. It has a little river flowing through the center lined with cherry blossom trees. There are buskers and cute cafes inside the park that add to the whimsical atmosphere.
I found this cute set of sakura themed sake one-cups at the grocery store and couldn't resist. One-Cups are normally associated with drunk homeless guys in the park. It is literally a glass cup full of cheap sake. You just pull off the aluminum top and party. They're pretty awesome and you can get higher quality sake in one-cup form with collectible glasses too.
Here are some really kawaii ones with Yoshimoto Nara characters.
Sake is one of those wonder alcohols that I can somehow drink without getting too weird. I still get red and I still get drunk, but it's a more sustainable kind of drunk. And the hangovers are much easier to shake off. Most other kinds of hard alcohol lead to me passing out in public like this lucky chap.