Japan: What’s the English word for hanami?

Me: I don’t think there is an English word for hanami.

Japan: What? How unlucky.

Me: I think if we had to translate it, it would just be called “Sitting in the park under cherry blossom trees drinking beer, eating snacks, taking photos and feeling happy that winter has finally ended”.

Japan: That’s a mouthful. You should just call it hanami.

Me: Probably. Why do you like it so much?

Japan: I love the colours of the blossom.

Me: Isn’t cherry blossom always pink?

Japan: I love the colour of the blossom.

Me: Pink?

Japan: Yes! It’s so, er…

Me: Pink?

Japan: Yes! And only for a couple of weeks in spring.

Me: Right. Pink in spring.

Japan: Yeah. I can’t believe you don’t have hanami. No pink in spring in England.

Me: Oh, we have blossom.

Japan: What?

Me: Yeah, plenty of blossom.

Japan: Really?

Me: Yep.  Pink, white, yellow, all sorts.

Japan: So many colours. I love it!

Me: Some gardens look really nice.

Japan: Gardens?

Me: Yeah, gardens.

Japan: You mean botanical gardens?

Me: No, i mean –

Japan: Herb gardens?

Me: What? No, just-

Japan: Madison Square Garden?

Me: No, just people’s gardens. You know, the back garden.

Japan: Wow. That’s amazing. You don’t have to scramble around competing for a patch of grass in the park, sit under some pink leaves, get drunk and queue for an hour for the toilet because you can just come home from work, crack open a beer and perch in your own little corner of wildlife and watch the spring and the pink leaves.

Me: Or the yellow or the white.

Japan: In the sunshine.

Me: Ah…

Japan: What?

Me: Well, maybe you can do that if it’s sunny but it’ll probably be drizzling.

Japan: Eh?

Me: Or snowing if the weather’s being particularly weird.

Japan: ….!

Me: If you had back gardens and unpredictable weather in April, hanami wouldn’t even exist.

Japan: So, i only have hanami because everybody lives in gardenless tiny apartments or squashed houses and i only have about two weeks worth of pink blossom and sunshine before the weather starts being abrasively humid, meaning everybody can lounge about with impunity getting drunk with mates, colleagues and family until the pink falls of the branches and everything returns to normal again.

Me: It would appear that way.

Japan: Fantastic. I love hanami. I can’t wait ‘til next year.


April 30, 2012. Uncategorized.

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