Posted by: smlacava | April 22, 2009



 Cherry blossom season is upon us (or was). The forecasters predicted Japan’s Cherry Blossom season to start the weekend of the 28th and go until about the 7th of May. Unfortunately(or maybe fortunately), we had a cold spell the week before the 28th and the forecast was pushed back a week.

Cherry blossom season is a BIG deal in Japan. You may have heard of the cherry blossom festival that takes place in Washington, D.C.. Well, the festival in Japan is even bigger. The weather bureau is the one to forecast the coming of the season.

(By the way, Ueno Park ((the first park they go to in Tokyo)) I was there during Cherry Blossom season!!!)

As you can see from the video, cherry blossoms are a big deal in Japan. Even the news detials when and where the best cherry blossom viewing place is. The reason they do this is because the Japanese have another tradition. They celebrate, or take part in, Hanami. Hanami is flower (usually Cherry Blossom) viewing. A proper Hanami, though, is done when having a picnic and drinking sake with friends and family, while admiring the beauty of the Cherry Blossoms.

On the 28th of March, my family, friends, and I took part in Hanami. My family had told me their plans of holding a BBQ to celebrate the cherry blossoms about a week before. I asked them if I could bring friends and they said they would enjoy hosting a few of my friends. So I invitied Stoja, Jasmin, and Mariska to our BBQ/Hanami. Saturday morning, the family woke up early to make Onigiri. Onigiri is a rice ball, sometimes filled with meat or fish, and sometimes plain. You make it, kind of like you make meatballs.

Here’s a video that details how to make O-nigiri very well! Though we made onigiri plain, you can put almost anything into it. We also cut up a variety of vegetables to be cooked. My family then drove a small distance to the park we would be celebrating Hanami. A few cherry blossoms were beginning to bloom and we made sure to sit under the best tree. Than, my okaasan drove me back and we hopped on our bikes to pick up my friends. We then biked back to the park.

Once we got there, my family’s friends were there as well. They had already set up the BBQ and had begun cooking. The whole day was so much fun. It consisted of lots of eating, laughing, talking, and playing. The weirdest thing we had to eat, though, was cow tongue. My host father came up to me showing the meat. It looked like regular beef. He asked me if I knew what it was, and I said beef. And he said, no, laughing (the Japanese love having foreigners try their ‘weird’ food). He said it was cow tongue! Knowingly, though, we ate it. Wasn’t half bad.

We also played a lot with the kids. We played a game called Oni (an oni is a little demon), kind of like hide and seek. Instead of there being a person designated as a seeker, that person is called an Oni. Then they run around and try to tag others. We also taught Rena and friends how to play Monkey in the Middle. I think they really it. We really enjoyed it, at least!

The BBQ lasted all day, ending with an answer and question session. My host father’s friend and he sat down and asked myself and friends to introduce ourselves. So, we went around and introduced ourselves. We then asked my host father and his friend to introduce themselves. They did so and we found out they have been friends for 35 years! We were shocked. Then, my host father’s friend said he was a chiropractor. Stoja, in her introduction, had said she practiced Aikido in Japan. He asked her if she had any pain. She said she sometimes did. So, he made her lay down and he proceeded to crack her neck and realign it. He then did the same thing to all of us. It was amazing!

So, that was our BBQ/Hanami. It was so much fun! And I can’t wait to make some onigiri when I get back home!

As always, love and miss you all!


P.S. – I’ve updated three times today. So please make sure to read my first update of the day, Haru Yasumi – Nara.



  1. HI Steph,

    Just a thought – do you have an external drive that you can back up all of these pictures on?

    I know you are uploading these pictures to photobucket but if something happens to photobucket (although unlikely) or your account gets deleted or removed and you aren’t backing them up – whew – it would be bad!!

    Anyway, looks like you are still having fun – that’s cool!!

  2. Hi Steph,
    Enjoyed reading your update when I got back.
    Enjoyed the video and pictures. Not sure I would be as brave as you and try the TONGUE!! UGH!!
    I’m sure you will be glad to return home to all of us. We will be glad to have you home. The time really did go by fast.
    Enjoy the rest of your time in Japan.
    Love you, AJ
    Hope to see Gramsy this week.

  3. Konnichiwa Stephanie…Great blog! Great country! I surely miss it and it’s nice that you seem to be enjoying your journey…it’ll be great to exchange stories about Japan when you get home.

    Btw, I’m your new neighbor from down the street. I’ve met most of your wonderful family and looking forward to meeting you too. Take care and enjoy the rest of your stay.

  4. […] The next day we devoted to traveling to various Cherry Blossom parks and temple viewing. It was one of my favorite days, but again, the people!  I think it was because we went to one of the busiest parks in all of Japan during Cherry Blossom season, Ueno Park. We got there about 9:30/10 am. We spent a huge chunk of the day just walking around, gazing at the cherry blossoms, and enjoying the weather. If I could do it again, though, I would stake out a place to sit and have Hanami too! […]

  5. I know I am a little late with this but I am trying to catch up with everything since I came home and enjoying reading all your updates and pictures and those cherry blossoms are beautiful and I am so glad you are having so much fun.

    take care love you gramsy

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