Monday, April 03, 2006

Cherry Blossoms...Finally

tsurumai park
Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.
Unseasonal weather mid week delayed the arrival of the blooms but by last Friday they were well on the way to being fully out or "mankai" as the locals put it.

In fact there is a very precise scale used to measure the percentage of blooms on a tree.A tree with 30% blooms is sanbuzakai, a tree half or 50% blooming is gobuzakai,80% is hachibuzkai while a tree with 100% blossoms open is mankai.

Essential equpment for hanami or cherry blossom parties includes a blue plastic sheet or tarp on which to sit,bentos or boxed lunches and a grill on which to cook soba noddles or even seafood.And of course beer and sake.
I was lucky enough to attend two such parties over the last weekend.One was a chilly night affair in the grounds of Nagoya Castle while the other was in Tsurumai Park on Saturday afternoon.Warmer but more crowded cheek to jowl with groups of raucous salarymen and family groups.

It reminded me of nothing more than the penguin colony in March of the Penguins.Very noisy and territorial,squatting and defending your area from the encroachments of other party goers.
Actually, the best spots are taken early.Reserved and staked by covering the area with a blue tarp or plastic ground sheet.Often a person remains behind to guard the site from possible claim jumpers.If its a company party I've been told this onerous and at times chilly job falls to the newest and youngest workers who must remain vigilant and are later joined by their more senior colleagues

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