Or How All of Japan Goes Slightly Bonkers
We didn't schedule our trip to see the cherry blossoms. We figured we'd be too early. Plus the prices go way up. But somehow we lucked out and hit Tokyo just as hanami (cherry blossom viewing) went into full swing.
Inokashira Park is in the Tokyo suburb of Kichijoji, near where some of our friends live. This was a Tuesday afternoon:
Here we are with our friends, Jeff and Mutsumi.
Wednesday we went to Ueno Park. The first thing we noticed was all the street food! Here's the yakisoba man in action.
This man is making something similar to taiyaki, except that instead of being fish shaped, this confectin is panda shaped.
One vendor was even selling gigantic turkey drumsticks (sorry, didn't get a photo). Here's chocolate covered bananas: And grilled whole fish. And who can resist grilled, skewered crab kamaboko? We couldn't. And, of course, there was takoyaki (octopus balls).
And then there were the cherry blossoms! Everywhere!
And everyone is in a great mood!
Corporations stake out areas for parties and the alcohol is flowing freely. Yet, we never saw any real obnoxiousness and for the entire day we were there, I think we saw maybe 2 policemen, looking bored.
The next day, at Shinjuku Gyoen Park, the festivities were more subdued, because alcohol isn't allowed in the park, and they were doing checks at the entrance gate to make sure you weren't bringing anything in.
We felt very fortunate to have seen the cherry blossoms.
Finally, we thought you might enjoy a video and photos we and our friends took at a Tokyo restaurant. In case you've ever had any doubts about the freshness of Japanese seafood, take a look at this.