Hana (花) ; a flower, Mi (見) ; to look
Putting it together, it means to look at flowers in Japanese.
Despite it meaning to look at flowers, this word ‘Hanami‘ is actually a word that is specifically used during the Cherry Blossom Season (a.k.a Sakura flowers) , where people gather under the blooming Cherry blossom trees and have a little picnic while enjoying the beauty of the flowers. Even though it means to look at flowers, however people would naturally think of cherry blossoms when they hear the word, Hanami.
My first encounter with cherry blossoms was about 6 years ago when I first moved to Tokyo. Having heard people around me rave about how beautiful it is, I had very high expectations when the cherry blossom season (and hay fever season) finally hit Tokyo sometime in April.
Well, guess what?
I was not disappointed at all!
It was such a wonder to see flowers growing around tree branches rather than leaves. Instead of green leaves, it was just a sea of white – pinkish hue flowers filling the trees! As the wind blew softly, the petals from the flowers making its dance debut in mid air before falling with a soft thud on the ground; making it really special and romantic at the same time.
Something that you can’t leave out while doing a Hanami is sipping on your favorite choice of alcohol. The traditional choice used to be sake but these days you see people choosing their favorite drinks from canned beer to fancy looking champagne poured into plastic disposable champagne glasses (yes, this is a thing in Japan!). With the pretty flowers towering over people and people glowing with rosy flushed cheeks from the drinks consumed, this could be one of the best feelings one will feel other than the fact that it could get chilly and your bottoms start aching from the cold hard ground.
During many of my Hanami experiences in Tokyo, more than often have I seen people getting drunk and passing out from all the alcohol consumed. It does make me wonder if people are actually interested in the flowers itself or the selection of food and drinks available, hah!
So has this attracted you to come and see for yourself what I tried (my very best) to describe to you? 🙂
Bring along a picnic sheet, some bubbly , snacks and a garbage bag (we will explain why in a future post) and you will be good to go! 😉
The Cherry Blossom season is also a symbol of new beginnings in Japan.
The start of a new school year, the beginning of a new stage in life for many, the beginning of a new financial year for many Japanese corporations.
This season could be a good season to roll out the new and exciting things you have up your sleeves in Japan!
Please have a great weekend and we will be back next week! 🙂