Culture Shock: Japanese Cherry Blossom Picnics Weren’t What I Expected


We aren’t in Texas anymore. That’s for sure…

In Texas, laying a tarp on the grass carries risks. Fire ants are sure to invade, especially if there is open food and drink. Spring is like two weeks in Texas, then it’s summer. When I first experienced cherry blossom picnics in Japan, I fretted if it was safe. I was sure something would sting and bite me.

It took a while to accept that you can sit on the ground in Japan and be okay.


Duuuude, that’s cool.

You can also leave out open soda pop and bees and flies will not climb into it (at least in spring). If you leave an open coke can on the tarp, you don’t have to check inside for bees. More than a few of my friends discovered bees inside their drinks back in Texas.

In the Tokyo area scorpions don’t crawl into your house and drop from the ceiling (something that happened to my mom while she was sleeping). No rattlesnakes. No black widows.  Just giant hornets, but they don’t come out until summer.

I can’t put into words the wonder that I find into being able to do THIS:


In Texas, picnics are done at picnic tables. There is a reason it’s hard to put blanket are tarps on the ground. When I told my dad over skype, he was also, “directly on the ground? Sounds so nice.” 


Definitely not Texas

Now I love Texas. There are things I miss a lot about Texas, but not the creepy-crawlies. The fire ants, prickly-pears, and many pokey things are the ground are not missed. It’s safer to walk across broken glass barefooted than the grass in Texas.

I do miss Texas BBQ.  Japan tries, but they have a way to go. They also add seafood to their BBQ which I’m… not a fan of.

When my younger brother came to visit in Spring, he was also stunned about how safe it was to sit on the grass, tarp or no tarp. There are ants, but they leave you alone. They aren’t as aggressive.

You also definitely can’t see this:


And there is none of this:


There are many things I miss about Texas. I still can’t decide which is “home” in my heart, yet I do love this idea of grass being safe for bare feet. It actually makes going home hard because I forget to wear high socks and I am more careless with my food.

Last time I went to Texas I got a bad case of chiggers around my ankles. I got bit and stung. Living in Japan made me less cautious of things I knew growing up in Texas. Whether the nature or the weather, something is always out to get you in Texas.

I wish I could make my friends understand why I get so fascinated by sitting on the ground. They come from places you can do that as well. They’re always like, “So? Whats special about that?”

That you can do that.

I guess my love of this will always be a mystery to them.

This video sums up the cherry blossom season this year and has footage from my group’s picnic in Inokashira Park:


10 thoughts on “Culture Shock: Japanese Cherry Blossom Picnics Weren’t What I Expected

  1. This is beautiful, I love Japan and would love to visit some day. The Cherry Blossom were absolutely gorgeous and the Duck Carts were to cute! Thankyou for sharing and teaching some words!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay that’s not to bad the one boat I got on that looks more like a 3 wheel car, was about 30 minutes but we alternated with other family to make each ride 15 min each so I understand the feeling.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I get what you mean. In Singapore, the insects are always lying around in wait, and so I have never had a picnic before. I haven’t had my first hanami yet though, unfortunately, when I wanted to do the blossoms were already wilting. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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