Anime Vice News

Anime Directors Talk "Hanami" - Flower Viewing

An Australian journalist gets anime directors (and others) talking about an old Japanese tradition.


花見: The first kanji is "hana," or flower, and the second is "mi," used in the verb "to see." It's read "hanami" and refers to a Japanese spring tradition: take a day off work, throw a tarp or blanket on the ground somewhere that the sakura (cherry blossom) trees are in bloom, and get roaring drunk. The practice can go on into the night, especially if the park you're hanging out at puts up paper lanterns for yozakura, "night sakura." It's an old custom, datnig back to the 8th century (AD).

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."



 An Ohka replica
 An Ohka replica
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?
Krison April 9, 2010 at 9:57 a.m.
Well, in Texas it is customary to park your car on the side of highways to take pictures of your little children in the fields of bluebonnets.  :)
 
Actually, the spring bluebonnets filling a field is a common picture setting in Texas.  And for good reason.  For a month or two out of the year, our normally dead looking fields (browned by the sun, or the cold of winter) and highways are blanketed in blue (often mixed with the red if Indian paintbrushes and the purple of wine cups and the pink of pink evening primroses).  In the 70s or 80s, Lady Bird Johnson (wife of President LB Johnson) started seeding the flowers along the state highways so they would cover the state.  I doubt they measure up to cherry blossoms, but it's about all we've got to make living in Texas worthwhile.
metalsnakezeroon April 9, 2010 at 10:20 a.m.
This was very enlightening.
 
I usually go to the Sakura Matsuri at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden every year to see the sakura fully bloom.
John_Martoneon April 9, 2010 at 2:29 p.m.
@Kris:  Yeah sure, the bluebonnets are pretty awesome... but I don't think we set up blankets and get rip roaringly drunk around them. I'm also super glad they grow strongly around the highways, makes driving a much more visually strong experience.... for two months
 I&squot;m also a big fan of the red "blue bonnets"
 I'm also a big fan of the red "blue bonnets"
Krison April 9, 2010 at 2:38 p.m.
@John_Martone: 
Hm....I don't know.  Back in my home town we have a sort of festival called Bluebonnet Days.  I don't think anyone goes out into the bluebonnet fields and gets ridiculously drunk amongst the flowers, but I'm pretty sure the weekend festivities involved lots of bar-b-ques.  And where there's bar-b-ques, there's lots of alcohol flowing.
Yeah, it really makes Texas look nice for a couple months; as opposed to looking completely dead the other 10 months out of the year.

Dig Deeper into Hanami

A Japanese tradition of sitting under sakura (cherry) trees while they're in full bloom and the petals are falling. Usually during this time the Japanese drink and essentially have a big spring party.

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