Friday, April 13, 2012


This past week has been insane--to say the least!

2 major events of the past week included お花見 (ohanami), the picnics and sakura (cherry blossom) viewing that take place all over Japan when the precious bloom. Japanese people--and everyone really--love sakura. Although there are other flowers that bloom beautifully all year round, people especially cherish the sakura due to the brief period they're in bloom. The other major happening was starting work at my 4 schools.

One of the most popular spots to do お花見 is in Ueno Park, in the heart of Tokyo. People typically celebrate お花見 with festival food, homemade or store-bought bentos and, of course, alcohol.

Being super excited for my first お花見, I arranged for a group get together at Ueno Park. Several people warned me that it would be much to crowded to walk in, and having a group of 20+ people would require a miracle.

And a miracle we got.

The weather was perfect for 花見 minus the fact that there was a bit of a chilly wind. We arrived at Ueno Park around 10am even though I had arranged for all of us to meet at 3pm. Arriving early was definitely a great idea as we got to snag a spot right by the entrance of the park and right in front of the rows and rows of blossoming cherry blossom trees.

Here's a picture to give you an idea of just how many people love sakura.

Sakura is really a universal treasure of nature. As we walked through this giant mass of people, we heard languages from all over the world, including several dialects of Chinese, English, German, Hindi and--of course--Japanese.

お花見 in Ueno is really a full-out festival. There were food vendors selling traditional Japanese foods and I was lucky to have 2 amazing cooks also come and join the 花見 picnic.

My favorite food would be the infamous yakitori though. This was grilled to delicious perfection and topped with shichimi, it's the best hot snack anyone could ask for. I was so excited for it that I accidentally got shichimi all over my camera in the process.

If you manage to do 花見 in Ueno Park, it's also a great chance to get some sightseeing done too. There are several museums and Shinto shrines within the park, so while it was a good way to while away the hours while waiting for others to arrive.

After fighting the crowd and visiting a few shrines, it was finally 3pm, when we were scheduled to meet up. The group was mostly friends from work training, but friends from college that were in the area also made it. The turnout was great, and it made all the snacks and drinks all the more delicious (*´ω`*)

We were having so much fun that, at one point, a mini TV crew from 日本テレビ came to check out what was going on in the foreigners' corner.

We ended up staying so long that the lamps in the park also lit up, which gave another beautiful unique view of the sakura.

All in all, it was an incredible first 花見. Friends from hours away took the train in to join us, and I was able to see people I hadn't seen since college. Thank you to everyone who came♥

On another note, I officially started work this week, and let's just say that bingo will make any class happy. I'm always so surprised by how large the elementary schools here are. Even if I wasn't trying to bike an hour to work, I'd probably get plenty of exercise just by climbing the stairs. The staff are also all very nice, and some of them are very eager to speak in English. The older ladies like to also ply me with treats (you won't catch me complaining!). At one of my schools, one of the teachers was even learning Chinese and tried to practice with me.

Whew, that was a long post, but it covered pretty much everything that happened this week. I'll leave you with one more picture of a cherry blossom before signing off.

Till next time~!


  1. You lucky bumsies! So much food! Did you appear on TV then? By the way, please give me some yakitori! 

  2.  Come get it yourself!