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Do As Tokyo Does Hanami 2010
(Entered Apr. 04, 2010)
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Depending on who you ask, hanami (cherry blossom viewing) is either:
a) a celebration of the beautiful yet fleeting and ephemeral qualities of life; a spiritual search for the perfect sakura blossom (you could spend the rest of your days searching for that flawless flower and it wouldn't be a wasted life, if you know what I mean.)
b) a celebration of beer, sake and portable karaoke machines.
Whichever the case, one thing tends to hold true. Parks across the nation are transformed into carnivals as the hordes decend to admire the ubiquitous pink blossoms. When Tokyoites swarm an area, that is usually my cue to leave, but this year I thought I'd suck it up and join hanami fever, with the goal of getting some good photographs.

hanami shinjuku gyoen 2010

Shinjuku Gyoen is probably your best bet if you're not in the mood for endless elbow rubbing. It's not too crowded due to it being super massive, and there being a small fee to enter (200 yen). Bringing your own alcohol inside is prohibited, as are sports equipment and karaoke machines.
I went there this year with Kumi and two of her friends.

hanami shinjuku gyoen 2010 girls

Do not make the mistake of going to Yoyogi park which transforms into a sea of people, or worst of all, Ueno park which basically becomes a seething black hole of humanity which if you foolishly step over the event horizon, you can never escape from again.
A solid wall of sakura petals.

hanami 2010 shinjuku gyoen

Bring a blue tarp to spread out and sit on like everyone else and his uncle does. Not sure why they all have to be blue though. I'm surprised one of those tarp companies doesn't sell a light pink version just for this time of year, they could probably make millions.

hanami 2010 shinjuku gyoen

The weather was pretty chilly today though, so the girls (being girls and Japanese), got cold quickly and we left after about an hour to go warm up in a cafe. Still, one hour is really all you need when looking at pink flowers right? Happy hanami-ing!


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