Like every year we’ve met in the big Osaka Castle Park (大阪城公園). When I arrived at 10 am, the whole place was already swarming with people in a festive mood. When I say ‘whole’, I really mean the whole park. Due to a little confusion (on my side I might add), I had an almost complete walk around the park, before I finally found our favorite spot which we use every year. Ironically, it gave me the opportunity to see the entire area for the first time and I have to say, it’s a great place. Apologies to Yusuf and Derek, who were on the spot from 7am and I was supposed to switch with them so they could take a break. Next year, I’ll be on time. Promise.
One thing I was worried about was the weather. Last year’s Hanami was little bit chilly and I was hoping that it won’t be the case this time around. However, my worries haven’t been met. We had a sunny day with warm temperatures and occasional fresh breeze. Just like it should be in the beginning of April. Ideal weather for a picnic.
The best thing about these ‘get together’ events like Hanami is that it gives students the rare opportunity to meet and have English conversation (英会話) with other students and teachers from different Smith’s schools. And this doesn’t apply only to students. During the day I was mingling around, trying to speak to as many people as possible. I was glad to find couple of our students from Kyobashi (スミス 英会話 京橋) sitting with a group of students from Smith’s Tsukaguchi. Later in the day I was again sitting with Kyobashi students joined by couple of people from Smith’s Otsu. This is what it’s all about! Meet new people, enjoy a beautiful scenery and speak English in a friendly environment.
There was also time for games. Two particularly shy participants at the event were two little sons of one of our student. They were ‘caught off guard’ by the huge number of strangers around them all speaking English. But once a ball appeared on the scene, they both decided to join the party. Suddenly, nothing could stop them from having a ‘kick about’ with their dad and few strangers using some funny language. I hope that next year Edward won’t forget to bring his hacky-sack so that we could see some of his slick moves like last year.
Apart from talking and playing with students I was also happy to catch-up with teachers and school owners from other areas. Hanami is the only chance I have to see them and find out what’s new on their end. Well, it seems that they’re all doing good. There were certainly no complaints. Glad to hear that they’re still enjoying life in Japan as much as I do. It’s a shame I don’t get to see you guys more often.
The festive atmosphere went on for the rest of the day. At around 4:30 people were slowly starting to leave the place and by 5 o’clock all students were gone.
It was a great event with beautiful weather, delicious food, cherry blossoms (桜), English conversation (英会話) and happy people. I had a superb time and by the look on everybody’s face I’d think that it’s safe to say: ‘Like everybody else!’
See you next year!