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Spring is one of the most enjoyable and peaceful times to have a picnic. One of the best ways to enjoy the pleasant weather is to spend it with family and friends as school has just ended and people are taking their holidays from work.
The sakura are in bloom, so it’s a good time for a picnic. Photo by: Nikkei Voice
In Japan, this time of the year also happens to be when the sakura trees bloom.It’s called Hanami and they spend time with their family and friends watching as the sakura trees sway in the breeze. According to an article from PR Times, almost 70 per cent of people who take part in the holiday also have a picnic at the same time.
So, we’re here to help Canadians have their own Hanami viewing part with some uniquely Japanese products that will give you an authentic picnic this year.
Leisure is one of the most important parts of a good sakura viewing party and you want to make sure everyone is comfortable under the trees. Sometimes people use cardboard because it’s fit for rough ground and keeps your feet warm, but what if there was an easy, comfortable and portable solution? This blanket folds up into a bag making it easy to transport and a great way to ensure you’re able to find a clean space anywhere you go.
In Japan, hot Hanami spots usually get pretty full during the middle of the day. It’s a good idea to get an early start to get the best seats. Also it’s usually the job of a freshman in university or new employee at a company to reserve the spots for their sempais.
You can also make your own using these instructions, so follow this link.
On a Hanami picnic, people usually bring food they can share with others. Rice balls and sandwiches are usually the first things people chose, but you can also bring hot snacks like yakitori and soup too. It’s also quite common to bring bento-style lunch boxes. These boxes help you store the food and keep it fresh. As well, a rice ball that’s been wrapped in Saran wrap will always taste better than one that hasn’t been.
As well, people often make kushi-style foods, or food on a spit, that help keep your fingers clean.
A magewappa-lunchbox is a wooden container made from Japanese cedar. It is made in Akita, Japan and is a popular traditional craft. It protects the food from going stale and it’s also much lighter than a plastic container.
Additionally, you can bring a thermos with your rice ball or lunchbox. Zojirushi is a popular Japanese brand. They sell a number of stylish looking thermoses to keep your soup warm.
With good food, you need good drinks. In Japan, we bring beer, sake, and soju with us on Hanami. However, in Canada you might not be able to get away with drinking in public.
You can also make hot drinks using something like a Morian Survival Heatpak that reaches temperatures of 212 Fahrenheit or 100 Celsius. It comes in a convenient cardboard box with a polyethylene bag that holds the water. It is usually used in emergency situations, but is also convenient for picnickers who shouldn’t be starting fires in parks.
This foldable cup starts out small and with a touch can hold about a cup of water. It is a convenient product and also reusable unlike Styrofoam cups.
Usually, wooden chopsticks come with your takeout meals at most Chinese or Japanese restaurants. They are easy to use, but not reusable. You might be better off having your own chopsticks, often called “my-hashi” in Japan. There are many designs that you can buy. For example, there are hashi that can be sealed in a small container to keep it clean and there are also ones with popular anime characters.
With this paper dish, you can hold your food and a cup in one hand. Your other hand is free to throw Frisbees or hold a pair of binoculars.
In a situation where you can’t use a tripod, a GorillaPod can be helpful. It can fasten to tree branches, fences, and so on to help you get the best picture possible. It is a very flexible product, no pun intended, that can help you create good memories of your Hanami picnic.
To make clean up easier, you can also bring an aluminum can crusher to crush your cans. Place the can in the indent and step on the little frog’s head to crush a can. It makes the can a lot easier to recycle and can ensure that your plastic bags do not fill up too fast. It’s an ecologically good thing.
In your bento box, you may have a number of tasty treats to eat; however, it is a good idea to keep them separated. No one wants to get their fried chicken mixed with your nimono, so why not use an edible cup to keep them separate. This cup is also made from seaweed, so you can also eat it after you use it.
Although most of these products aren’t available in Canada, many of them can be found online.
Even if you can’t find all of the pieces we’ve listed here, the most important part of viewing the blooming sakura is to do with your family and friends.