I went to three Hanami parties in a row. I figured “Hey, I can only do this in Japan” so I just kept going. I learned pretty quickly that Hanami is only about looking at cherry blossoms for the first 1-2 minutes upon arrival. “Watching people get drunk” would be a better term for the activity but Yoparaimi (酔っ払い見) doesn’t really roll off the tongue.
After work on Friday we had a Hanami party in the lot behind our office building. The best part about the location was that you cannot see any sakura trees. I mean, they didn’t even try to incorporate the sakura part of the tradition into the party. In fact, they moved the party inside the outdoor warehouse because it started to rain after work. So our entire branch was enjoying our Hanami party surrounded by parts used in the construction of ship parts. On a related note, the people at my branch make delicious yakisoba.
This Hanami party was put together by Brewster and Mountain Bike. I left the dorms early with Mountain Bike and Princess to help prepare for it. The best part about this party was that we BBQ’ed in an American-ish style; marinating the meat before cooking it as opposed to the Japanese way of cooking it and then drowning it in sauce. We did the Hanami inside of Imabari Castle where there actually were Hanami to see, but again looking at the flowers took up roughly 0.5% of our time.
I spent the last half of this party chasing around kids making sure they didn’t hurt themselves. I’m really surprised that so many children make it to adulthood.
The final Hanami party was held at Matsuyama Castle and was hosted by the English teaching school that Mountain Bike attended a couple of months ago. Mountain Bike, Princess, and me biked to Imabari station and then took a train to Matsuyama. While there, Mountain Bike discovered the glory that is Sangria wine. In his drunken wanderings he spent a good deal of time playing with a nearby dog. Upon his return he proudly exclaimed “I am satisfied with dog!”
The return trip was a bit awkward.