“So hey, Amanda wanna hit up the convenience store, buy lots of snacks and booze and take them to the park, and then sit under Sakura trees, soaking up the afternoon soon and getting buzzed?”
I love hanami — the Japanese tradition of picnicking in the park while the sakura trees are blooming. This year I had an unforgettable time playing drinking games, talking and just generally shooting the shit with friends. This is the stuff lifelong memories are made of, and will probably be one of my fondest memories of my time in Japan when I leave. The afternoon started with a scenic hike through the park to get to our spot, and of course I was snapping pictures like a pro the whole way.
We found a nice clear spot, set up a tarp and got our drank on.
I don’t think I played the drinking game right though, because I was just drinking constantly, whether it was a penalty or not. It was the perfect day for a hanami. The weather was warm, the sky a benevolent blue, and sunlight and warmth just infused us all with this good feeling, you know? Or was that the booze? Nah, it was definitely at least partly due to the atmosphere. We drank and played and talked as the afternoon sun set behind us, and as the last few straggling rays of sunlight leaked over the horizon we packed up to head to yasukuni shrine. On the way out I got a beautiful shot of sakura trees with the river as a backdrop.
In front of yasukuni shrine there were a lot of street vendors and crowds of people, and I felt this wonderful mood of festivity. The torii and entrance to the shrine stood at the end of the street like some kind of indulgent parent, watching children playing. I ate what was probably the most delicious yakitori I’ve had since I moved to Japan, and the night ended at an izakaya in Shinjuku.
It’s times like this I really love my life in Tokyo.