The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Monday, March 31, 2008

Blossom Viewing

I think hanami, or blossom viewing, season in Japan is, in its own way, the closest thing the Japanese have to our Christmas. The reasons for the celebrations are totally different, the approach is different, the activities are different, but it's a special season that creeps up on you every year, when you sit back and take a minute to reflect on the good things in life, and how lucky you are, and how quickly time goes by. For us, Christmas has heavy religious meanings, but it's also the festival of lights, a time when we really appreciate the beauty of a silent landscape shrouded in snow. For the Japanese, hanami is a time to appreciate the beauty of the cherry blossoms, which come quickly and fade just as fast. Cherry blossoms symbolize the brevity of life; the tree is the most beautiful just as its petals begin to fall off; just as the flowers start to die.

Anyway, it's also a time to get together with friends, get a tarp and some food and lots of booze, and then go and sit in a park and get totally shitfaced. Because Japan is such an extraordinarily peaceful place, there's rarely any trouble or rowdiness. So it's really a very pleasant time, actually, especially if you're 'faced yourself.

My friends and I got together on Sunday for a hanami party. Actually, two of them planned it and took the extraordinary step of going to the park at 9:30 am to secure a good spot on the lawn. That meant that, by the time I got there at noon, they were already wankered, or whatever those damn Brits and Aussies say.

Apparently, a helicopter from the Asahi Newspaper was flying by taking a photograph just as I got there. That photo above is of me, (plus a whole bunch of other onlookers). It was on the front page of the Asahi Daily News this morning. Quite a nice souvenir of hanami this year, I must say.

Note: I had planned to zoom in and show you exactly where I am, but the photo I stole from the Asahi website seems to be really low quality or something. I'll see what I can do. In the meantime, you can speculate as to which one's me. Hint: tall, balding, pale.


At 12:56 PM, Blogger Zambo said...

Hey Buddy.

I tried to locate you in the pic, but it looked a lot like a LEGO sculpture when I zoomed in...

It seems like you're having fun out there.

Talk to you soon!

Your Pal,


At 5:10 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

Hey Zambo,

Thanks for the comment. Yeah, it's funny - I looked at that photo on the office computer, and Microsoft Photo viewer (or whatever it is) must have been set to automatically smooth adjacent pixels together. So the picture was blurry (there was no additional information, certainly) but the fuzziness made it easier to see where I was. When I look at that photo at home, it looks like a Lego sculpture, as you said. Try to see if you can turn the blurring on. Or maybe just squint.


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