Ohanami Japanese cherry blossom viewing

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Ohanami Japanese cherry blossom viewing

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 21 2009, 13:57

Ohanami Japanese cherry blossom viewing

A season of great festivity in Japan is rapidly approaching. As winter gradually gives way to the warmer days of spring, and the gloominess of the shorter days and thick coats and influenza lifts, Japan is slowly and fleetingly transformed into a bright and uplifting sea of cherry blossoms.

Once a year, the Japanese cherry blossoms offer a refreshing change to the daily routines of commuting to work on crowded public transport and dining after work in smoky izakayas(Japanese style pubs). From the windows of trains, offices and homes the masses of pink blossoms can be admired from the days of the earliest blooms to the all-too-short Mankai? (full bloom) followed by the slightly melancholy time where the trees shed their blooms in a flurry of petals, hurried along by the strong spring winds.

The Heian era poets used to write poems about how much easier things would be in spring without the cherry blossoms. Their existence serves to remind us of the transience of our own lives, and this symbolism is not lost on the modern-day Japanese, who have their own particularly Japanese way of enjoying the brief cherry blossom season. The ohanami. Literally this means flower viewing,but lest this conjure up images of sedate walks along blossom-lined avenues of trees, the reality is much more surprising for the uninitiated.

Ohanami usually is a great excuse for a party .Groups of workers(sometimes known as salarymen) or friends gather together in the early evening after work or on the weekend on large sheets of blue tarpaulin under a clump of blossom-laden trees and drink copious amounts of beer and Japanese sake. Various seasonal foods are also consumed, including dango, a skewer of three chewy riceballs dipped in sauces. When everyone is relaxed and the party in full swing, there is also sometimes an opportunity to really let one's hair down and sing with a portable karaoke machine. The riotous noise from neighbouring groups of ohanami partygoers all singing different karaoke songs, lubricated by plenty of alcohol, with the underlying theme of enjoying the blossoms overhead, makes for a truly unforgettable experience!


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