The 10 Commandments of Cherry Blossom Viewing

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This is a blog about cherry blossoms. The best time to see the cherry blossoms is at the moment when they are at their peak bloom. This usually happens between April 1st and April 7th depending on the weather.

The 10 Commandments of Cherry Blossom Viewing:

1. Thou shalt go to hanami (cherry blossom viewing party) early, because if you go late there will be no park bench.

2. Thou shalt not be late, because if you are, the trees will all be full and you will have to stand in line for an hour to get a place to sit. This applies even during the week!

3. Thou shalt bring your own food, because the only thing sold in the park is beer.

4. Thou shalt not talk on your cell phone while sitting under a cherry tree, because it is impolite and also makes you look like a fool.

5. Thou shalt not litter; if thou must litter thou shalt hide thy trash so that no one will see thee doing so. Walk far away from everyone else before burying your trash in disguise of taking pictures of the cherry blossoms.

6. Thou shalt not wear high heels or sandals or anything else that will hurt thy feet

Cherry blossoms are one of the three most beautiful phenomena in Japan and also one of the three most enjoyed phenomena by Japanese. The other two phenomena are fireworks and snow.

Cherry blossom viewing season is in spring around end March to middle April, depending on the region, but before you go out looking for cherry blossoms, there are ten commandments to obey.

* Do not wear white clothes while viewing them (except wedding kimonos). White clothes must be changed into another color, otherwise it is believed that you will suffer some misfortune or illness.

* Do not eat food with chopsticks when standing under a tree. It’s believed that your life will be full of ups and downs if you do so.

* Do not take photos of full or half-blossomed cherry blossoms from above when facing the tree because it foreshadows poverty; instead, face the same way as the tree trunk for prosperity.

* Do not look up at cherry blossoms if you want your children to grow up healthy and wealthy; instead, look down at them for happiness in marriage.

* Do not deliberately touch or pick the petals of a cherry blossom; it’s believed that you will be cursed if you do so. It’s all

The full list of 10 Commandments can be found by clicking the “About” link at the bottom of the home page.

1. Avoid weekends and holidays. Cherry blossoms are meant to be enjoyed on weekdays when there is less foot traffic.

2. Visit during the day instead of at night to avoid crowds and for better lighting.

3. Bring a picnic blanket, a thermos of tea or coffee, and food that isn’t messy—condiments, paper napkins, etc.

4. Bring cash with you to buy your food and souvenirs from vendors near the Tidal Basin since there are no restaurants nearby.

5. Wear comfortable shoes because you will have to walk on uneven ground and grassy patches under the cherry trees (plus it’s good to wear sturdy shoes even if you’re going just for a couple hours).

6. Wear sunscreen because standing under the blossoms will leave you exposed to sunlight for hours (and in case you need one, bring a hat too).

7. Bring binoculars so that you can see the cherry blossoms up close and personal without having to climb trees or get on your tiptoes (although if you do bring binoculars, don’t forget also to bring your camera!).

The other day, my wife and I got into a fight. It was about cherry blossoms.

“When are we going to get there?” she asked.

“There’s no there,” I said. “It’s an expression.”

“Oh, so you’re saying that when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the whole world becomes one big cherry blossom viewing area?” she said sarcastically. “So all of Tokyo is now a cherry blossom viewing area? Are you nuts?”

I didn’t answer. She looked at me with disgust as if I were a panhandler on the street.

I stayed silent because I knew, deep down, that she was right.

The one thing that has always irritated me about the phrase “cherry blossom viewing area” is its lack of precision. The phrase suggests that if you go someplace to see cherry blossoms, you will see them everywhere. But in reality, this is not so. In fact, it is quite difficult to find an actual place where you can see lots of cherry blossoms at once.

It seems that for most of the year there is no one place where you can see many cherry blossoms at once–in other words, no real place to view

I visited the famous cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. last weekend, and I thought I’d pass along a few tips I observed that might help you get the most out of your visit. (I was also writing up a review for some friends who weren’t able to make it.)

Here is my top ten list of things to do:

1) Go early, except on weekends, when everyone else will be going early. The blossoms are at their peak about two weeks after they first bloom, and even then the petals fall quickly.

2) Go before breakfast or after lunch, when there won’t be so many people around. Unless you like crowds. In which case, go any time!

3) Go on a day when the weather is nice, but not too hot and humid. Cherry blossoms are delicate; if it’s too hot out they’ll wilt faster than they can bloom.

4) The National Mall holds the biggest concentration of cherry blossoms – but there are some stunning ones right around the Tidal Basin as well!

5) Bring your camera (and tripod!), but don’t expect to get a perfect picture unless you’re willing to wait around for hours. There will be too many

1. Fluttering petals are falling all around you and the world is an ecstatic riot of white and pink and deep red. You’ve never seen anything like it or anything so beautiful.

2. You’re sitting on a park bench, faces tilted up towards the blossoms, when you hear an odd sound, like a combination of a grunt and a groan. If you look over at the next bench, you see a gentleman in his late sixties, staring intently at his cell phone screen with the intensity of a child looking for hidden treasure in a pile of Christmas wrapping paper. The cherry blossoms, where are they?

3. You’re walking down the hill from your house to the subway station when you see a young woman sitting by herself on the steps of an apartment building. She’s wearing headphones and looking straight ahead, intently not-looking at her phone. You walk past her and look back and she is still there, not moving, lost in her own world. Where are they?

4. You’re in your office working diligently when someone from HR comes by with a basket full of pink-and-white petals to leave on every desk as part of their company’s “cherry blossom spirit.” You take one look

Cherry blossom season is upon us here in Japan, and with it comes the annual frenzy of hanami (花見), or flower-viewing picnics. The cherry blossoms are many things to many people: a harbinger of spring, an excuse to get drunk on cheap sake outside, the famous backdrop for a kabuki play or a snapshot of sakura-mochi-pounding festival. But one thing they are not is short. If you’re planning on having a hanami picnic under cherry blossoms this weekend, here are some pointers to ensure your outing goes off without a hitch.

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