Published: May 16th 2008April 6th 2008
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a botanist? To have that passion for whatever you do in life, all directed towards, something like flowers? Yeah, me neither.
Past the requisite lilies on those certain days of the year from various boyfriends, I just haven't been one of those. You know, Those. Those, being people like your 55 year old, unmarried aunt. Or the suburbian grandpa that gardens next door and always tell you hows his so-and-so's are coming this season. Maybe I am all the way towards one side of the spectrum, but really, flowers I have never been that crazy about, at least not enough to know all the species, blooming seasons, what they "mean," etc. For some reason the old neighbor in Dennis the Menace comes to mind, does anybody else know....?
Anyhow. For something like 5 unpredictable days in the Japanese springtime, the country transforms itself during Sakura. And these flowers, mind you, are impressive even to me. Their blooming window varies around the different regions in Japan. Luckily, I had a weekend trip to Tokyo near the tail end, which we have decided is even more breathtaking than the blooming itself. This
is when you get the white/pink/magenta blossoms carpeting everything over your head, and at the same time, tornadoes of petals flying all around you as they fall. It's something else.
During Sakura the Japanese get together in parks, lay out these crazy bright blue plastic mats, bring lots of booze and snacks, and contemplate the passing of time. No really, thats what they are supposed to be doing.
Somehow I did find myself at this party, called a hanami, at Yoyogi Park and in our particular party I met 1) a Japanese horror film producer, 2) a Japanese model, 3) a bunch of Japanese bankers (OK, not cool), 4) a Japanese events planner for Christian Dior, 5) more people in fashion. The entrance of the park hosted a pretty big gathering around a group of Japanese Elvis impersonators dancing to music in full black leather and sunnies. All I needed was a samurai and a sumo wrestler, maybe Pokemon and I think this could have passed for the classic Japanese experience. I mean I think this could be a great idea for tourism operations to look into.
There are more photos below