Monday, 9 April 2007

Happy Hanami - 花見!

Hope all of you in Japan got a chance to get out in the sunshine (or the drizzle) and enjoy the cherry blossoms before they rained down upon us this week. The sakura trees around town and along the river have been in full breathtaking bloom for the last fortnight but with all the rain and too much to do, I didn't get a chance for a hanami (blossom viewing) picnic until Saturday.

Our delicious hanami spread.

Check out our spread: inari sushi, simmered pumpkin, edamame, green beans with pork, pesto pasta salad, fried squid, baguette and cheese, pickled daikon, alcohol and juice in all their varieties, fruits and a big chocolate cake. Even after four hours of leisurely grazing we couldn't finish it all.

The park (Inariyamakoen in Saitama-ken) was full of families, co-workers, friends and couples chilling out with a few drinks, playing soccer and badminton, singing, dancing and even practising tai-chi. In the afternoon one of the candidates for the upcoming election and his campaigners did the rounds, screaming their 'yoroshiku onegaishimasu'es.

Hanami at Inariyamakoen

The sakura were holding up well, but as we ate, chatted and played cards we were covered in gentle shower of blossoms. By yesterday, the trees were bare and the ground was covered in a soft pink carpet. Thankfully the bakeries and sweet shops are still celebrating sakura matsuri, so I can hold onto the memories for a few more days with sakuru mochi or cherry blossom flavoured choux cremes. Mmmm.

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