Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hanami in SE1

We missed many things leaving DC. Friends obviously but also the onset of Spring. And in DC that means just one thing: cherry blossoms. The city goes crazy for hanami - the Japanese love affair with all things floral, especially the cherry blossom that bursts forth on the trees lining the Tidal Basin. (The trees were a gift from the mayor of Tokyo in 1912.) DC being DC, it takes its hanami homage very seriously: there are parades, sushi celebrations, kimono fashion shows and more. Luckily the trees played ball and the blossoms coincided with the designated National Cherry Blossom fortnight - I hear some years they are a little less obliging. 

Now Bermondsey is no Washington and Reverdy Road is hardly the Tidal Basin but it does boast some pretty spectacular cherry trees of its own (not sure of the origin, but am fairly certain they weren't an official gift from the Japanese). Spring is a little later in London than DC so the blossoms took a little while to get going, but were all the prettier for the wait. We've apparently missed a trick though: hanami is traditionally a time for an all-day or all-night party beneath the blossom. I hardly think Bermondsey's St George's Day celebrations will pass muster. Next year perhaps.  


danyulo said...

Ohhhh Hanami!!!
I miss it so much!
I didn't know there was such a lovely history about Hanami in DC.
Back in Japan, we just get drunk under the Sakura blossoms with enormous amount of Bento lunch boxes.
I hope we can do this in SE1 once!? xxx

Hanami in London said...

Hi there! Nice to see your post as I was convinced I was the only one who cares about hanami in this city! I couldn't even interest any Japanese I know here in a hanami picnic. Had to wait for my friends from Moscow to come.