Tag Archives: hanami

Traditional Hanami Party

Remember when I said Japanese people play hard? We met up with Akiko after dinner at about 8 PM. She said she got off work at 6. As 11 PM rolled around, we met up with Marie and headed to a new spot. Midnight came and went, and Michelle and I excused ourselves and headed back to our hotel a little after 1 AM. We said our goodbyes for the moment as we were planning to meet up the next day for a picnic.

Noon the next day we met up and were immediately handed drinks. At first I thought I could get used to this, but when we asked what time Akiko and Marie went home, they said they went home at about 6 AM. I don’t think I can keep up.

We were celebrating the cherry blossoms with shared food and drink. Everyone’s looking at the camera except for me.

Everyone likes taking photos of the cherry blossoms, even the locals.

Guess which snack we brought to the party?

Yay for new friends! They even gave me a beer to go. I love Japan!

Yoyogi Park

Imagine a place, where space is a rare commodity. You live in a tiny apartment. Work is a small office. To get in between the two places you are crammed in a subway car, pressed up against your neighbor. This is Tokyo. There has to be a place for you to unwind before you snap. That place is Yoyogi Park.

Just outside the park some kids were modeling their latest fashions.

At the entrance to the park, kids are playing double dutch.

Then you turn and see these people. Rockabilly music is blaring and they’re dancing relentlessly.

This guy seemed to be their leader for the day. He had the tightest jeans and the biggest hair.

They dance so hard that their shoes are taped up with black tape. When we left the park four hours later, they were still dancing.

This group performed nearby, but didn’t hold down the tough guy attitude.

We were very fortunate to be in Japan during cherry blossom season. It’s a huge deal in Japan. In order to celebrate they have hanami, flower viewing parties, which consists of picnicking with friends, sharing food and drink. Yoyogi Park is one large park where some of these picnics unfold.

There are people everywhere! Unfortunately the cherry blossoms were nowhere to be seen, because it had been a little too cold.

Business men and women also gather to see non existent sakura.

While most of the people in Tokyo stick closely to their circle of friends and are very quiet outside this circle, some were welcoming.

This is Dodge-bee, a game where you try to get as many people as possible to jump with a huge jump rope.

There was a man, blowing bubbles for the kids.

The park is also used to practice and perform just about every imaginable type of performance. Here is a group doing some color guard routine.

This was some type of dance routine. It was mostly confusing.

There was a drum line going on in the park too. They played on for 30+ minutes while people danced around and had a good time.

If you don’t have a drum, just bring a guitar and join this group.

This seemed to be the only professional performance group, doing some interpretive dance while painted gold.

Our trip to Yoyogi Park made us love the people of Japan even more. Everyone did their thing, and no one jeered or taunted anyone else for being different. If such a gathering of people with diverse interests ever came about back home, you’d have some kind of hobby war with skaters fighting dancers. Japanese rule. I’m only talking about the Japanese in Japan. I have Japanese friends in America, and they are assholes.