Hanami Party in Shinjuku Park

On my very last day of my last visit, I was invited to a Hanami Party by Tohru, owner of my fave punk bar in the Golden Gai, Hair of the Dogs.

Hanami Parties are open-air picnics that happen when the cherry blossoms (or sakura) come out in spring. Far from being a wussy affair, people have all-weekenders and often get hilariously drunk (not that I’m advocating that, mind).  Japanese people just seem to let their hair down and REALLY enjoy the excuse to party.

Despite the fact I was flying out that night and had to get the limousine bus in a few hours, I made my way to the  park to say a last goodbye to Tohru and some others I’d met in the bar.  It was cold, and I used the subway to get most of the way from near Shinjuku Station to the west side. But make no mistake, there were blossoms everywhere, even in the cold.


When I got there, everywhere people were cooking, chatting, drinking, and generally enjoying the sakura season even if it was grey and chilly.

I really wished I could stay a while and relax, but settled for having a quick catch up with Tohru (with the mohawk) and friends. 

As I walked back, I noticed the homeless still there in the park in their little village of tarps, who live there permanently, unlike the temporary visitors with their tarps…but at least they had gorgeous sakura views that they too, surely must enjoy.