The whole of Maruyama Park smelt like it was on fire, there were that many barbecues. That's the real meaning of Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties. Or maybe it's getting hammered in the trees. Or possibly looking at flowers with your colleagues... I'm not 100% sure.
The cherry blossoms have come and gone everywhere else in Japan, but here in Hokkaido we're always fashionably late. Or fashionably early when it comes to Winter. One or the other, rarely on time, that's for sure. So, perfectly timed for the big public holiday week of Golden Week the flowers arrive in Sapporo and everyone can go get drunk in the park and play badminton and space out and look at flowers:
They're very pretty. We also walked to Hokkaido Shrine, which was surrounded with festival food stands where we bought potato snacks and Bunny got a blue banana on a stick. Here's the path leading up to the shrine:
The Shrine was all decked out in preparation for May 5th celebrations, with huge great carp banners:
May 5th is Children's Day (sometimes Boys' Day) and there'll be a big celebration for that too. I'm not sure what the relevance of the carp is, I should probably look that up. Today - more park action, upon which I will report anon.