Hanami At A Distance



It's a different Spring for us all. It's a time of uncertainty that has many of us thinking about the things we're missing. That's a natural inclination, I think, and it's alright as long as we don't allow ourselves to dwell. We're all experiencing some level of grief over losses, whether they're experiences, people, or places, and we should allow ourselves to feel those emotions. They are real and they are valid.


But we can't fall into the trap of remaining there. There are wonderful things right in front of us-sometimes we just need to get a little creative and see things through a new lens. Literally.


Friends in Japan, this one's for you.


This goes out to all the expats and locals doing their social distancing like champs, missing out on this spectacular time of year. The sakura are everywhere! They're blossoming in pillowy clouds throughout parks and streets, showering the sidewalks in their delicate pink petals. Normally we'd be out in the crowds, picnicking below them, walking along Naka Meguro's river walk with signature pink champagne and cotton candy cocktails in hand, traveling around Japan, all in the name of hanami ((花見, "flower viewing" is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers). This year is different.


Thankfully there are numerous people who have been sharing images from viewings past, and if you're so inclined, you can enjoy a virtual hanami via several amazing photographers. I'd love to share some of my favorites with you and tell you where you can find them via Instagram and/or their websites. This way, while you're indoors doing your part, you can still enjoy the beauty of the season from the comfort of your living room, bedroom, balcony-whatever floats your boat. Just make sure you have a bubbly libation to accompany your viewing!


Many thanks to these talented women for their permission to share these images. Please note you can click on their names to go straight to their Instagram accounts, enjoy their grid and stories filled with sakura, and just an FYI, each first picture is the photographer in their natural element. Enjoy!



@thewanderingcam

Photo credit @thewanderingcam


Naomi, also the founder of the marvelous Tokyo Brunch Club, was one of the first Instagram accounts I followed after moving back to Japan. An Australian expat, I find her photographs to be incredibly romantic no matter the season. Humble as she is kind and talented, if you enjoy her Insta account (and you'll love her stories!), you'll enjoy her travel photography blog as well, The Wandering Cam.


Photo credit @thewanderingcam

Photo credit @thewanderingcam

Photo credit @thewanderingcam


@hanamiphotogrphay/@lisainjaapan

Photo credit @bruna_luise


Meeting not long after she and her husband came to Japan from Australia, Lisa holds a special place in my heart. She's absolutely dynamic, and after spending a lovely winter afternoon leading my children and I around Yoyogi Park taking beautiful pictures I'll forever cherish, I felt an immediate kinship. There's a whimsical, dreamy quality to her images, her portraits capturing the soul of each person, but I often find myself drawn to the little creatures as they flit among the pretty sakura. She does portraits, just FYI, so if you're interested reach out to her at Hanami Photography.


Photo credit @hanamiphotography/@lisainjapan


Photo credit @hanamiphotography/@lisainjapan


Photo credit @hanamiphaotgrphy/@lisainjapan


@juliexjapan

Photo credit @juliexjapan


Julie is lovely fun! Incredibly sweet (with a penchant for decadent treats), her Instastories have a combination of everyday living, yummy foods, and inspiring images. I first met her at a gathering of the Tokyo Brunch Club, marveling over her dangling egg earring. It was a statement for sure and one that was telling. Like her pictures, she radiates authenticity, embracing each moment she photographs. I really enjoy her sakura images as they come from varying prefectures across Japan-places I may never be able to travel to due to time. Through her I get to live a little vicariously. You can find her on Linktree and on her YouTube Chanel, OMUNOMU, where she talks about sweets and snacks from around Japan.


Photo credit @juliexjapan


Photo credit @juliexjapan


Photo credit @juliexjapan


@bruna_luise

Photo credit @bruna_luise


Bruna is as beautiful as she is magical behind the camera. We've never met in person but have chatted back and forth on Instagram, and between both mediums I feel like I've been given a glimpse into her heart. It radiates in every picture. Her images of sakura are beautiful, but it's her photographs of families, friends, engagements, couples, that show the dynamic of love on many levels. It always makes me swoon (and sometimes get a little teary-eyed). This Brazilian expat does portraits and destination photography at Bruna Luise. .


Photo credit @bruna_luise

Photo credit @bruna_luise

Photo credit @bruna_luise

Photo credit @bruna_luise


If you're craving that time beneath the pretty pink or gentle white blossoms of the season, I encourage you to visit these pages of lovely photographers. It's not the same as being beneath the trees but it's the next best thing while staying at home. Stay safe, my friends, be well, and take some time to stop to smell the virtual sakura.


I'll see you there!

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