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 el 26 Mar 2009 por Ayumi Nakai


When the cherry trees begin to blossom, japanese all over the country celebrate by organizing picnics, games and karaoke sessions.

Cherry blossoms and Obento
Cherry blossoms and Obento
Cherry blossoms and Obento Yozakura (cherry trees at night) People enjoying Ohanami by the cherry trees Cherry blossoms
What is Ohanami?
The time of year many Japanese people have anxiously awaited is about to begin: Ohanami, the cherry blossom festival. Between the end of March and the beginning of April, cherry trees all over Japan begin to blossom, generally starting in the south and moving up north, depending on the climate in the different regions of the country. Ohanami means having picnics in parks and gardens in order to contemplate the beautiful blossoming cherry trees.

Ohanami is celebrated as a family, with friends, or as a company event, and includes a good Obento and Sake, as well as entertainment. It’s quite common to see company employees reserving the best spots under the cherry trees days in advance. Ohanami goes on into the night and is called yozakura, which means cherry trees at night.

The Blossom Forecast
The weather department announces the blossom forecast (or sakurazensen) every year and this is important for people who wish to enjoy Ohanami. A couple of years ago, the forecast was mistaken and many hotel and restaurant reservations were cancelled.

At present, the weather department estimates when the cherries will blossom by comparing information from previous years to information about current weather... So, the result is not always precise. However, a private forecast company called weathernews, has succeeded in competing with the weather department.

They have created an online community were people exchange information about the cherry trees’ blossoming in each region. Between 10,000-20,000 users subscribe each year, and many of them upload photos of cherry trees and post their comments, reporting on the situation in their own region. Each year, in early March, the company analyzes all the information provided by users and announces the dates cherry trees will blossom all over Japan to all their subscribers. It seems the analogue method is even more reliable.

Typical Ohanami Games

Pocky shock is a game shaped like a Pocky, a traditional Japanese sweet (chocolate sticks). The game consists of removing one little stick at a time... you’ll be out of luck if they all fall together.
Kuro-hige. Take turns sticking swords in a barrel and whoever makes the pirate inside jump loses.
Yakyu-ken is a traditional game, but it’s very perverted. It’s the classic Rocks, Papers, Scissors, only the person who loses has to remove an item of clothing. The final loser is the first to strip naked.

A classic that always livens up Ohanami. Cheerful songs that are easy to dance to usually triumph and are a sure hit at picnics. Here are some examples:

Yeah! Mecha-holiday - Aya Matsuura
Ague-ague every night - DJ OZMA

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