Hanami is the annual excitement of Japanese people over the blossoming of the Japanese cherry tree. Hanami「花見」can be translated into “looking at flowers”, specifically looking at the cherry blossom, Sakura 「桜」. The tradition dates as far back as the Nara Period (710 – 794), and over the course of the centuries turned into an annual people’s custom. This customary event involves sitting under the Sakura in admiration of its beauty and power as well as indulging in sake-rich feasts.
Hanami in Japan is synonymous with beginning and renewal, e.g. it marks the beginning of the rice-planting season. However, Hanami is also a synonymous with death, or rather the ending of life. The swift and explosive blossoming of the Japanese cherry tree, which finds an untimely end after a short period (approx. 1 week) is an analogy to a human life’s finite duration.
Nowadays Hanami is a socializing and partying event, which may be bewildering in its contrasts. This contrast ranges from the previously mentioned admiration of nature’s beauty over to exporting the inside of a families private space, e.g. living-room into a local park setting. Usually blue tarps on the ground sharply outline these personal parcels, which usually also abdie to the no-shoes-rule in order to “entered”. In that regard they are visually upholding a core-aspect of Japanese society, the Uchi-Soto. Impressive.