The Cherry Blossom (sakura) are in full bloom right now and it is quite the sight to see. The pale pink and white blooms can be seen on almost every street and are a beautiful contrast to the other greenery. Of course, like all things in Japan, this season is to be celebrated and celebrate they do. Over the weekend we took part in a massive Hanami party, which is essentially a picnic in the park under the sakura - but it is a picnic on crack. Literally hundreds to thousands of people gather in parks accross Tokyo all day and into the night with friends (old and new) to eat, drink and hang out.
There was a park by our hotel and we were impressed with what people had going on. People put down tarps to sit on along with blankets to fight off the chilly night air. Along side that was baskets of food and cases of beer and wine. And from the looks of it, people would come in the morning to hunt down the best spot and then stay well into the night.
On Sunday we were invited to attend a Hanami party with Sayuri. After seeing the parties that had taken place near our hotel, we figured we knew what we were in for... we were mistaken. We knew this was one of the larger parks for Hanami parties, and when we got there the only description I could come up with was that it was the Hanami Woodstock. Literally thousands of people in this enormous park under thousands of sakura trees. It was actually quite remarkable and beautiful, but we were not prepared for the sheer number of people. Getting to this party was quite the adventure -as it was near Harajuku, which was an adventure in and of itself.
Unfortunately, it ended up being a pretty cold day in Tokyo, so I don't think we were able to enjoy ourselves fully, but I could definitely see how it would be a great way to hang out with friends and family. If nothing else, I know that crowds do not deter the Japanese and they take every opportunity they can to celebrate.