People in Japan love cherry blossom, especially standing or sitting under it and getting drunk just enjoying its intoxicating sight and perfume, which activity is called “hanami” 花見 (literally “flower-watching”).

Cherry blossom is rather later this year than usual. Must be global warming. Wait. Maybe global cooling? No, that idea was dumped in the ’70s. Climate change. That’s it. Must be.

Last year, the cherry blossom was in full bloom, or “mankai” 満開 for entrance ceremonies the first week of April.

Sakura - cherry blossom - blooming on a Kansai campus, April 6th, 2011

Sakura - cherry blossom - blooming on a Kansai campus, April 6th, 2011

This year, full-bloom is this week in many parts of Kansai. Last week, Mike Rogers and friends had a hanami-party beside a Tokyo river, proving that you don’t need a whole lot of cherry blossom to have a great party.

But where to go to see the blossom at its best? Dates vary with geography and type of cherry tree.

Here’s the answer:the “hanami” app for iPhone and Android!

the "Hanami" app for iPhone and Android

the "Hanami" app for iPhone and Android

日本全国1000か所以上のお花見スポットを収録。開花状況ひとめでわかる。

via 無料のiPhone&Androidアプリ「お花見ナビ2012」- お花見特集2012 – Yahoo! JAPAN.

“1,000 + hanami spots in the palm of your hand. See the stage of blooming at a glance.”

(In Japanese only, maybe.)

One of my earliest memories in Japan is visiting a friend in April. Walking around the small town with his wife and his two young daughters, we came to a field with a big old cherry tree in it. We wandered over, sat down, popped the sake bottles, and just enjoyed watching the petals flutter down and the children playing in the warm sunshine. No blue sheets, no karaoke, no drunken shouting. Just the magic of the blossom and the sunlight playing on open hearts.

For some great photos and a little culture, and all in English, please visit


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