Sakura Shindigs

dsc04637Each year, around the middle of March, the people of Japan stop what they are doing, put away their troubles and collectively obsess about when the cherry blossom trees will bloom.  The nightly weather reports on TV  include updates on the progress starting from the southern most tip of Japan and moving northward, the newspapers print at least a story a day about them (sometimes two) and almost every daily conversation will include some mention of them.  This year’s prediction for Tokyo was full bloom on Saturday March 28th but due to a cold front the week before, the bloom was delayed by 6 days.  This past Friday, the city of Tokyo started to party and they are just about wrapping it up as I type.  I don’t know the actual number of cherry trees in Tokyo but its difficult to walk one block without seeing one.  For example, we have a huge beautiful blooming tree right in the parking lot of our building.  The big thing to do to celebrate the season is to have an O-Hanami party in a park where there are lots of trees.  You set up your blue tarp (it has to be blue) that you buy at the convenience store, you bring all your friends, lots of beer and food and you basically camp out for hours under the trees until it gets very late and you get very drunk.  Its really an incredible sight to walk through a park at night and see every spot taken with parties.  This year, we were invited to a roof-top o-hanami party at my friend Kyoko’s house.  The roof of her house overlooks the Aoyama Cemetery which is a very famous spot for cherry blossom viewing.  Annie and I went and were treated to delicious japanese treats while spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon with friends.  We were the only Americans there but we were happy to be included.  Later that night, Tom and I celebrated with our friends in the park closest to our house.  We set up camp with yuzodkas (vodka and yuzu juice which is delicious) and some finger food.  It started to drizzle but we were all dressed up for a party that night and we didn’t let it rain on our parade.  After cocktailing, we were off to celebrate our friend Neta and her husband Karl’s 40 year anniversary in Japan (they have both lived here for 20 years).  The theme was 70/80’s or Japanese dress up so we decided to dress up as Harajuku girls.  It was really fun, lots of dancing to the music of the 70s and 80s – lots of laughs.  Happy Spring!

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