Sunday's weather forecast called for rain in the evening and not during the day so Yoyogi Park was packed to the gills with locals and gaijins alike riding on that forecast. I was actually hoping that the forecast would deter other hanami'ers but even when the rain came early, it took a while for people to pack up and leave. I guess most of them were hoping it would blow by since the clouds overhead weren't too ominous.
Cosplay / reyazu
The weekend before when we were walking through Ueno Park, we saw a dude dressed in a frog costume. Coupled with the few cosplayers around the Bridge of Harajuku, and the Devil Man we saw running around the Yoyogi Park earlier in the afternoon, we figured we'd fit right in dressing up as Stitch and Doraemon.
Cosplayers seem to be a dying breed in Japan. Of the three times I've been to the Bridge of Harajuku, where cosplayers supposedly gathered, there have been at most a handful of them around. Hell, during one of the days I took photos with some, half of them were Brits! In addition, only a small portion of the local cosplayers were keen on taking photographs with tourists which is perplexing since they know that bridge is in all the tourist books so naturally, if you are going to be there, expect tourists taking photos of you. If they want to get dressed up and not be bothered by tourists, there are plenty of other areas in Tokyo to hang out.
With that in mind, Kev (dressed as Stitch) and I (dressed as Doraemon / Xiao Ding Dong) played our part, taking photos with any stranger who came up to us. Hell I felt more Japanese than some locals since they were the ones requesting photos. Or maybe we looked ridiculous enough to the locals to warrant all the attention.
Whatever the case, at one point some guy in a Cherry Blossom hat came up to us and started speaking to Kev in Japanese. After a few exchanges we finally figured out we were all Americans. Turns out he was a Temple undergrad from Hawaii. He then proceeded to walk all over our tarp in his shoes while greeting the other Law School folks, leaving mud stains everywhere, silly Americans.
When it finally came time for us to call it quits (the strong-willed parties relocated under trees), we were stopped a few times for more photos with locals before we finally got to the Bridge of Harajuku. There we were again requested to pose for photos by some acquaintances we bumped into. When everyone went their separate ways (bar, cafe, home), Kev and I walked a block away to the Golds Gym in Harajuku. Boy that was a scene, checking in with our costumes on. I have to commend the ladies at the front desk, they didn't bat an eye or smile at all. Now that's discipline. We did get some strange looks in the locker room though.
Check the Hanami Party in Yoyogi Flickr Set by Kevin for additional photos, and remember, check back next time when we do this right!