Saturday, April 12, 2008

Catchup post 8: Hanami Post 1, Ueno Park, Thursday, March 27

On Thursday May 27th, I woke up early with cherry blossoms (Sakura, さくら,  桜,櫻) on the mind. I decided to go, by myself, to Ueno park before heading back to school for English camp by noon. Ueno park is well known for its 1,000 cherry trees, its zoo, and the Tokyo National Museum, The National Science Museum and the National Museum of Western Art, a concert hall, a Toshogu shrine, and Shinobazu Pond with its Benzaiten shrine.

It gets very crowded every day, but especially during the hanami (sakura viewing, literally: hana = "flower" and mi(ru)= "to look, see, or watch", はなみ, 花見) season. You can get a tarp and sit under the cherry trees along the walkway and have a nice party with your friends, family, or coworkers.

A sidestreet of the main sakura walk. The main walk is the one on the right of this photo, with the small blue patches on it. The trees were very cool and old. And there were just so many.

I felt quite at home, everyone, Japanese and foreigners alike, was taking picture after picture of the beautiful cherry blossoms.

I don't know if you can distinguish this, but near the bottom of the photo are hundreds, if not thousands of people's heads. And why the photo is mostly of the sky.

Hanami is just one time of the year when Japanese people are allowed to have frivolity on their minds at any time. And this year the Tokyo blossoms corresponded with the short break between semesters in Japanese schools. How lucky for the students!

This was early in the morning before it got crowded. It's about 8 a.m. in this picture.

Even birds enjoy the season.

I don't know what that says. I think they were advertisements, honestly, because they didn't all say the same thing, and the kanjis for sakura and/or hanami don't appear.

It was really moving to see so many cherry blossoms. I understand why it is a popular theme in Japanese design and art.

Photo time! Even little trees, so long as they bloom, get attention.

It was like fields of flowers made of snow. Such a wonderful analogy, I know, but I really liked them.

I think this is the tori gate line for the Toshogu shrine in Uneo park. Toshogu shrines venerate Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the last shogunate of Japan. 

I see flowers!

It was barely 10 a.m. and I already saw many people who were quite drunk. I don't know if they intended to keep it up all day or not, but the party started early.

Me and the cherry trees!

By 11 a.m. the park was very crowded, and not very enjoyable.

Sleeping under the weeping cherry. 

Flowers and branches.

Everyone in Japan loves the sakura.

Everyone also loves octopus balls....

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