Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hanami Sakua = Bloody good times followed by killer hangover!

My first Hanami Sakura was a truly amazing and I'm so thankful to Jo for inviting me. Before I met up with her, I went to Haraju station and people watched outside. Everyweekend, the bridge just outside of Harajuku station is filled with Japanese youth who all dress up in crazy costumes - superheroes from comics, baby dolls, goth charecters etc. - and parade about posing for the crowds of tourists who come there to snap pictures of the wackier side of Japan!

Also managed to take a quite look at the Meiji Shrine which is right around the corner from the station. Glad I did as there were a lot of weddings ceremonies going on and I had the opportunity to witness a traditional Japanese wedding party.

Headed over to Kichijoji to meet up with Jo, and I was SO excited I could barely stand still at the designated meeting spot. Jo was one of the primary reasons I was in Japan to begin with as I was so taken up with her discriptions of Japan and her many zainy adventures here, I just had to come see it all for myself! We'd been chatting with each other for almost 2 years now and I was terribly excited to be finally meeting up. And I was so not disappointed - she's just as lovely (and crazy) in person as she is online and I've had the best time with her over the past 2 days. We met up with a bunch of Jo's friends and went to the park and as we entered, I had a "jaw drop" moment. There were literally 1000s of people all over the place having little picnics everywhere. Every inch of ground was covered with groups of people - young, old, families, guys in business suits, gals in designer clothes - all eating and drinking (yes, you can drink in public here) and generally chilling out under the cherry blossoms.

Hanami Sakura liteally translates into "party to go look at the cherry blossoms". Hanami is party and Sakura cherry blossoms. Its a HUGE event in Japan and judging by the scores of people I saw all around, a very popular one as well! And I can see why! After all, who wouldn't like the idea of sitting in a beautiful park under a canopy of white and pink blossoms chilling out with friends or family and getting piss drunk in the process?? I certainly applaude the whole idea!

We were about 20ish people in our group and everyone had brought food and drink of some kind. Along the way random people joined in - including some drunk Canadians, some drunk Japanese, some drunk Brits.... well you get the idea.

Finally at about 10 pm we decide to pack up (only because it begins to rain) and head out to a bar. What kind, Karaoke of course! Many many rounds of horrendous singing later we (somehow) stumble home to Jo's place, get some late night food from the corner store and crack open a few more beers and don't go to bed until we're too sleepy and too drunk to keep sitting upright!

Suffice to say after the appaling cocktail of drinks I'd had (bubbly wine, sake, sochu, beer.....) I paid DEARLY for that today as I was Sick. As. A. Dog for all of today. Jo and I had planned to go sightseeing around Tokyo but all I could manage was to crawl from the bed to the washroom about 5 times to try and purge my sins.

We headed out to Shinjuku (Tokyo's entertainment district) at 5ish to meet up with some more blogging buddies and even along the way there I had to get off the train to get some air. I was *this* close to calling the whole things off and heading home when I FINALLY threw up all that crap that was in me, and immidiately started to feel better.

Meeting Beastie, Sigsy and Shiomi was another wonderful experience. Sigsy and Shiomi I know from blogging and Shiomi is Jo's friend. We went to this amazing little restaurant - Izakaya its called - and I tried all sorts of new kinds of Japanese food. Thankfully my tummy was behaving now and after having nothing but two bites of salad and tiny sips of water all day, I was quite ready to dig in!

I even got some prezzies today as Sigsy gave me a beautiful "Sayonara Doll" and Jo had earlier presented me with a packet of Hello Kitty pasta! In the course of conversation I found out that Sigsy is actually in my line of work - Corporate Training and coincidently her company is looking to hire! Huummm.... now that would be an interesting opportunity!

Many drinks, eats and laughs later, we had to reluctantly say goodbye but I will always have wonderful memories of meeting up with my blog buddies in Tokyo!

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