Let’s party! April in Japan is a Sakura festival “Hanami”

Sakura(Cherry blossom in Japan)Hello! I’m Mishi! Finally, winter time is going away and spring is coming! Personally, I don’t like cold weather! Winter time is for me to hyphenate! I just woke up. (;・∀・) …..

Anyway, today I want to talk about April in Japan! This season is busy in Japan because they start a new life in April. Do you know that the Japanese start new school and new work(if you are a student of high school and college, you will graduate in March.)? It is different from western way, huh? Many countries start in September and this is a big difference.

Speaking of April in Japan, there are some events that I want to introduce you to. As you see the picture above, this season is for sakura(cherry blossom) and there are many festivals for it.

Well, let’s start taking a look at what kind of events Japan has in April. ⊂(^ω^)⊃

 

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April in Japan is time to have “Sakura festivals”

 

 

Sakura in JapanWhen Japanese starts a new life it will be in April, it is always started with the Sakura(cherry blossom). Have you seen those scene on anime, drama or a movie? Sakura(Cherry blossom) is a symbol of starting a new life in Japan! When you start a new life, you know you will experience many new things. Those could be that you meet new people, go to new places or a new environment. For welcoming new people at work, at school, or at a new place, they throw a welcome party, right? Japanese do that too but it is different from what we do!

This welcome party is called “Hanami” in Japanese. Actually, it doesn’t have to be a welcome party, It can be a just party if they don’t have new people at work. Hanami means watch flower in English. In this season, Hanami = watching Sakura = eating foods and drink under Sakura (゜д゜)<

Do you want to say, how did you get that formula? This formula has history!

 

History of Hanami

 

April in JapanHanami was started in the Heian period(794 AC). People who are noble, in case you didn’t know, back then those people had an education and manners even though no schools. People who were noble used to write and read poems which are Japanese way. It is like singing, to be able to do that was noble, it was a person’s status of old times, that was their education! Those people started Hanami under Sakura trees as singing poems, reading poems, and eating food.

On the other hand common people = basically people who used to do agriculture also did Hanami under Sakura trees. But their purpose was different, they used to throw parties under the sakura trees for wishing that the next year they could harvest good, also thanking for this year’s harvest. For them, Sakura was the sign of starting to seed a field. Do you know Hideyoshi Toyotomi? His parents were peasants but he concurred Japan in Azuchi Momoyama period(1590 AC). What a jackpot!!!!! He took 5000 people of his to do Hanami at Yoshino mountain(in Nara prefecture). That is a famous story of Hideyoshi Toyotomi in Japan!

Time has passed many years, it has now become the Edo period(1603 AC). Hanami spread around to common people more! At this era, Japanese entertainment grew and common people could enjoy watching those easily. That is why Hanami got popular with those people too. They could do breed improvement of the Sakura so that they could get to see sakura everywhere!

 

What do they eat at Hanami?

 

Hanami foodsJapanese eats all kinds of the foods so there are not special foods for Hanami. They bring many foods to share with the others under the Sakura trees.

For example, the popular foods are

  • Onigiri(Rice ball)
  • Karaage(Japanese deep-fried chicken)
  • Yakitori(Grilled chicken)
  • Dango(Japanese dumpling)
  • Sake and so on

You can get to see the people who do BBQ too. It doesn’t really matter as long as they are delicious!

 

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Traditional Japanese food “Dango(Japanese dumpling)”

 

Three-color Dango

Sanshoku Dango

Dango is a Japanese dumpling and it’s a traditional food. Nowadays, they eat whatever they want to eat for Hanami but the history of Dango and hanami have been together for a long time. The person who started to eat Dango for Hanami was Hideyoshi Toyotomi(豊臣秀吉) too. He was a Daimyo/大名(feudal lord) who ruled Japan before. He used to throw a tea party as he watched Sakura trees and he came up with an idea to eat Japanese snacks for a tea party. He got many snacks from all over Japan and served visitors for his tea parties.

After a while, when in the Edo period(16003-1868), Dango store started to sell their Dango for Hanami season and this custom spread to the common people.

 

Sanshoku Dango(三食団子)

Sanshoku Dango is a three-color Dango. Usually, the colors are red, white, and green from the top. Those colors represent from the seasons. The red color is for the spring and it expresses the color of Sakura trees or the sun. The white color is for the winter and it expresses the color of snow. The green color is for the summer and it expresses for the season of fresh green.

But why don’t they use the autumn? This reason is because of the pronunciation of the autumn in Japanese. The autumn in Japanese is “Aki(秋)” and there is no autumn is “Aki ga Nai” in Japanese. This can also mean “Never get enough”. Now, you see “To eat Dango never get enough”. This is the reason why Dango is three colors!

Isn’t it interesting? But personally, I would like to eat more Dango so they could make a four-color Dango! (^(エ)^) Do you agree with me?

Anyway, Speaking of the colors, “Kohaku(紅白)” which is the red and white colors are for a celebration in Japan. The green color has an effect of removing evil spirits.

We understand what those colors represent. I give you the last trivia which is about the order of the colors. As you see the picture above, do you know why the order of those colors go like that(from the top, it goes to the red-white-green)? This expresses the order of how a flower blooms. Before a flower’s bud bloom, it becomes the red color, when a flower blooms up, it turns to the white color, and the flower falls, leafs grow up. It also expresses that how the season goes. The red color is the sun, the white color is snow on the ground, and the green color is a sprout under snow.

Those details sound like Japanese, huh? They care about every little thing and have the meaning for everything! They are really good at describing things! (o^ー’)b

 

Sakura has many kinds not only one!

 

There are various colors like white, pink, yellow, and green! There are different sizes of flowers too! A small one, a big one, also there are Sakura that you can smell! This is crazy! I didn’t even know! The kinds of Sakura are more than 600 kinds in Japan. so it’s impossible to show you all of them but I want to show you some of the most famous Sakura in Japan.

 

Someiyoshino(染井吉野)

 

SomeiyoshinoSomeiyoshino occupies 80% of Sakura in Japan! The reason, why it is so, is Someiyoshino blooms flower that is so pure but elegant and beautiful. It is also faster to grow up than the others. In the Meiji period(1868 BC), the government recommended Someiyoshino and planted it everywhere in Japan. That is why no matter where you go you can see many all over in Japan.

 

Shidarezakura(枝垂桜)

 

Shidarezakura(Weeping cherry blossoms)Shidarezakura represents from Kyoto and makes its own atmosphere. The color of the Shidarezakura is deeper than Someiyoshino. As you see the picture, this Sakura tree looks like weeping so it’s called a weeping cherry blossom.

 

Yaezakura(八重桜)

 

Yaezakura(double cherry blossoms)Comparing to the other kids of Sakura, Yaezakura has more Sakura petals than the other kinds. So, this Sakura tree is called double cherry blossoms.

 

Kanzakura(寒桜)

 

KanzakuraKanzakura blooms up in between January to March in Japan. “Kan” means coldness in English so you can imagine that this Sakura blooms up in the winter.

Which one is your most favorite? Now, every time you see sakura trees, you will want to check what kind of Sakura they are!

 

Summary

 

Sakuramochi(Japanese snack)

Sakuramochi

April in Japan is all about Sakura trees! ♪(* ̄ω ̄)v Everywhere you go in Japan, there are many Sakura trees so it would be great to feel the Japanese spring. You might want to pay attention to the Sakura trees to see the difference of each Sakura.

 

At last, this is called “Sakuramochi” in the picture! It looks so yummy! Have you tried it? I have, it is so delicious! While I was writing, I remember Sakuramochi so I posted this picture lol enjoy looking only!!!!

(*^-゚)/~Bye♪

 

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