|Ueno Toshogu Shrine|
|Sakura zensen aka "cherry blossom front"|
It's that time in Japan--Sakura (cherry blossom) Season. The whole country goes mad for hanami, which means "flower viewing" and almost always refers to cherry blossoms. In a nutshell, at worst it's an excuse to cut loose and get drunk sitting on blue tarps in a park.
This year the blossoms opened really early in Tokyo--on March 16, nine days earlier than forecast. Yes, of course there is a cherry blossom forecast. There is cherry blossom everything--Starbucks and other coffee shops come out with special sakura goods, sweets, and coffee drinks.
are a metaphor for the transient and fleeting nature of life. Personally, I like the meaning behind hanami, but I think it's really over-commercialized, akin to Christmas in the United States. Regardless, it's an occasion that's so distinctly Japanese!
|Joining the throngs in Ueno Park|
|Somei Yoshino trees are the most popular--they look like clouds|
|Yoyogi had much more of a party atmosphere then Ueno (it's in a younger part of town)|