Sakura/cherry blossoms are a huge deal in Japan. When they make their rolling arrival every year, moving in a line of blossoms from south to north along the island chain, they are greeted by blue tarps, barbecued meat, and ample amounts of booze. The parties are referred to as Hanami, and they are energetic, explosive events that often lead me to confuse the word "Hanami" (cherry blossom party) with "Hanabi" (fireworks).
Unfortunately, the archaic, turn-of-the-(last)century, repressed sensibilities of our public policy here in Canada means that the only booze flowing at Canadian Hanami events is clandestine in nature. However, if you're in it purely for the sakura, there are few better places in Toronto to take them in than High Park.
This is no secret, which means that the park is taken over for a week and a half by people wielding these:
You can't click a shutter in the place without winding up with three photographers and an engagement shoot in the background.
Being someone who loves people but has little patience for photographer pissing matches, the zoo of glass can sometimes leave me feeling that sakura photography has become rather cliché.
This clichéd feeling lead me to resort to video, rather than photos, when the Toronto Japanese community organized a massive picnic in High Park (entitled Sakoolah) a week ago Sunday.
I wasn't initially that titillated when Lindsay expressed interest in taking some sakura pictures in High Park last week. However, I wound up really enjoying the shoot, and part of the credit for that is owed to Lindsay for being such a willing and cooperative model. Here are the results from the shoot.