Hanami is a really good time! At the end of March, and through the beginning of April, the sakura (cherry blossoms) bloom in Kyushu. Starting in Southern Japan, the entire country watches on the news as the “Cherry Blossom Front” raids Nihon from Okinawa to Minami Kyushu to Hokkaido. It’s a fleetingly beautiful week and a half of bare branches full of white, pink, and almost magenta flowers.
However, the Japanese LOVE to drink and be merry, so they have Hanami (sakura viewing parties) where everybody gets together and barbeques, drinks, and generally has some good clean fun.
This year, I was lucky enough to know Go-chan and his wife, Ai-cho. They are great people who love to have parties, so they organized something like a singles party for all of their friends to mingle. “How romantic would it be to meet your future ball-and-chain under the cherry blossoms?” they joked.
We ate lots of barbequed meat and veggies, drank lots of beer and chuhai (a very sweet, fruit flavored alcohol, akin to Smirnoff Ice–also something I will NEVER drink again due to the massive headache that ensued WHILE I was drinking it. It didn’t even have the decency to wait until the next morning!) and we mingled, just as Go-chan and Ai-cho hoped.
When that party was finished, there was the nijukai–the afterparty! We stayed until 11PM on Sunday, drinking and eating delicious Chinese food, cooked by our wonderful Chinese friends.