Shhh! Secret Life of a Princess

Random, provoking thoughts from a self-confessed princess :: with focus on motivational learnings from the media. I hope to inspire everyone to be the best they can be

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Japan's Sakura Flowers in Singapore

Japan does not give you the impression of a laid-back, easygoing and leisure-seeking society. In fact everything in Japan is about commercialization and monetization that it has one of the most fastest going transactions and economy in the world. You could find the most workaholic and egotistical people in Japan as compared to other countries. So, it is with wonder that every once in a year, people from all over Japan would let go of their inhibitions to participate in the most beautiful season in their country called hanami. Hamani, or cherry blossom viewing party held in Kyoto's Maruyama Park sees thousands of people throng the park just to sit under a canopy of sakura trees. In Kyoto, the cherry trees reach mankai or peak blossom sometime in late March or early April and once they do, their moment of glory is brief, lasting only a few days. And it is with these moment of glory that travel agencies around the world monetize this event to turn it into a tourist attraction. The ritual of hanami sees men from all walks of life clutching a large blue tarpaulin, a bento lunch box and a bottle of sake, most also with a pack of cigarettes. Each uses their tarp to stake their claim, defending their turf while they slowly get intoxicated under the blooms of the sakura.

I was not as lucky as my friend who made a trip to Japan recently to witness this beautiful event. However, I was partly lucky to get a feel of the event when The Central in Clarke Quay, Singapore decorated their river with fake but quite believable Sakura trees to attract passer-bys to their Japan inspired theme party. There was even a Sakura flavored gelato (with a pastel pink color) sold at Azabu Sabo which is located next to the Sakura trees deco. Families, relatives and couples flocked to the booth to get a taste of Japan and I find it fun to pretend for a while that I was actually immersed in the fragrant aroma of Sakura flowers in Japan. There was a couple of mixed race, a family of Chinese and Caucasian and a typical Singaporean couple taking photos using their camera phone which added to the colors of the place. The colors of Singapore. And the best part is my friend who just came back from Japan's hanami narrated the whole story to me, delighted me in her wonderful adventures. This is what I call travel on a budget. :)

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