Why bring this up now? Well, author Andreez Bergen, an Australian journalist(/photographer/musician/etc), pulled together an interesting post-- thoughts from various Tokyoites, including a bunch of anime directors (which seems kind of random, but spiffy). A few choice quotes:
Naoyoshi Shiotani ( Tokyo Marble Chocolate):
"...the sake you drink, surrounded by pink cherry petals dancing in the air, is somehow tastier than usual."
Kou Matsuo ( Red Garden, Yozakura Quartet):
"A lot of people use hanami as a sort of bonding ceremony to welcome freshmen, by making it a big drinking party. I guess that’s because there are many people who cannot bring themselves to open up to others, unless they are spoon-fed the opportunities."
Hiroyuki Morita ( Bokurano, The Cat Returns):
"Trees that bloom amidst leaves aren’t that uncommon, but in the case of cherry trees, the blossoms dominate the whole leafless tree."
Fuminori Kizaki ( Afro Samurai, Basilisk):
"There was a rocket-powered kamikaze aircraft, or a manned cruise missile, named ‘Ohka’ (meaning cherry blossom) that was employed by Japan during WWII, and so the ephemeral image of cherry blossoms that begin to shed their petals as soon as they come to full bloom sometimes reminds me of the young souls that died in battle."
Manabu Ono ( Dragonaut, Saki):
“We often go for a hanami party with the members of our studio. I always hope to go for a hanami again with the staff of the shows!”
These are just bits and pieces, so you should hit up the original article for the full quotes. It's kinda fun-- there's a lot of romanticism going around. Man, if it were legal to drink in public parks, I would do a hanami every year. (Except around here I think I'd mostly find ume, plum flowers, not sakura.)
How about you?