Hanami, sometimes prefixed with the honorific "o-"
(resulting in O-hanami, but changing the meaning
not at all) is a particular type of party
that happens in Japan
when the sakura
are in bloom
. Any public park
worth its salt
will be covered in falling pink petals
, and if this isn't an excuse for a party
, I don't know what is.
The idea is, you get your picnic lunch packed, with lots of food and as much sake as you can afford, get your family and/or friends together, pack your portable karaoke machine, put a blanket down on top of the lovely fallen petals, and there you stay, eating, singing, and getting drunk, for as long as it's fun.
Parks tend to get very crowded during prime hanami season, but nobody really notices because Japan is inherently crowded anyway.
The word "hanami" is composed of two kanji, "hana", which means flower, and "mi", which means "look" or "see". Hence a translation of "hanami" could be "flower-viewing."