Cherry Blossoms by Night

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Well, Spring is everywhere at the moment even if it did rain for all of Thursday, and in Japan that means cherry blossoms – Sakura. People are out and about celebrating the arrival of spring with ‘Hanami’, hard to define, a sort of celebration though. After a long, cold winter, where even Yokohama saw some snow, the white and pink flowers are out on the trees and Spring is definitely in the air.

A new friend I made by the river

A new friend I made by the river

A friendly bar along the river in a tent

A friendly bar along the river in a tent

I must admit, I feel that Japanese people are just a little too obsessed with the cherry blossoms. There’s no product that isn’t more marketable with ‘Sakura’ in the title. It’s a common girl’s name. Advertising uses the cherry blossom image a lot. Lots of manga incorporates it. But for Hanami, it is celebrated by people going out at night with night stalls set up selling all kinds of food, games for the kids like ring-toss and shooting-parlour games, and small tents that double as bars. Here are some of the photos I took last night when out not too far from central Yokohama.

Kids enjoy catching their own gold fish. Apparently not for eating!

Kids enjoy catching their own gold fish. Apparently not for eating!

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Cooking with fire!

I was hoping to sit down and eat and drink, but the consensus appeared to be that we would drink, eat and walk which wasn’t quite so easy. Still it made for a very pleasant evening out. But I started to realise that when you are with the in-laws you don’t get the chance to sit back and enjoy at the pace you’d like to. It’s nobody’s fault, they are busy, there’s work after all and dinner to prepare and all that. Still, it would have been nice to grab a chair and chat and meet some people.

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But you know, such is life as a great Aussie once said. Thanks for reading everyone today – tomorrow I will be back on the culture shock bandwagon as it were talking about my experiences dealing with it in West Africa. Until then, may the journey never end!

(Yes, I have a catchphrase now!)

 

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