“In the cherry blossom’s shade there’s no such thing as a stranger.”

I am in Tokyo. It is cherry blossom time. The city celebrates. Because it is cherry blossom time not because I am here.

Hanami or watching flowers is a big deal and seems to be a wonderful reason to sit under flowering cherry trees and get shit faced.

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!


I get up very early and head to Ueno park – renowned for its cherry blossom. It is fantastic. Even at 8:00 in the morning people are hunkering down under a long avenue of very blossomy trees to have a great day. They play mah jong. They play cards but most of all they drink and have a great time.

I do not want to concentrate too much on the drinking as in my tradition this leads to raucousness and fighting. Not so in Japan as everyone seems to be in extremely good humor.

The trees are very beautiful.

8:00 in the morning

I stroll through the blossom and come to a lake. I watch birds. It is a beautifully sunny if chilly day. There are a lot of people on the streets. The Tokyoans are polite, happy and – God bless them – quiet. No boom boxes, no one shouting at children, no adolescents squabbling.

Originally, the purpose of hanami excursions was to ponder the transient nature of life, as the cherry blossom blooming season is so short. This concept ties in with Buddhist thinking about the nature of life. However, today, these parties are more about having fun and eating food while enjoying the beauty of the cherry blossoms than pondering deep thoughts.

On my way out I stumble across this:

I love Tokyo

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