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The greatest slurping you’ve ever seen.
You’re so bad man. You’re so bad.
I’m so disappointed. I’m so disappointed about you.
Maybe he can do it.
Oh come on.
Like that! See that?
Last chance.
I don’t how I’ve got through four years of living in Japan without making a video
about Japan’s biggest annual event.
An event that sees 60% of the population getting involved and taking part.
Whilst the Japan meteorological agency tracks it and forecasts it on tv,
as it travels from Kyushu in the south, all the way to Hokkaido in the north.
And it’s not hard to see why, when the wind blows and the Cherry blossom petals fall through the air
like snow, in a scene reminiscent from an indy video game.
Now I’m not the sort of person to normally care about flowers,
but even I get swept up in the excitement and the atmosphere of Cherry Blossom season in Japan.
First off, there are two Japanese words you need to know.
The first is Sakura and that literally means Cherry Blossom.
And the second is Hanami, which means flower viewing.
And those are words you’d do well to rememberif you’re ever in Japan.
in Spring because you’ll hear them and see them everywhere, everyday
Sakura is a major symbol in Japanese culture, I mean if you look at the back of a 100 yen coin
you’ll actually see it stuck on the back.
This year my friend Ryotaro and I threw ourselves into the Hanami festivities
by visiting one of the best viewing spots in north Japan,
a town called Shibata, 30 minutes south of Sendai
famous for its staggering amount of Cherry blossom and beautiful scenery,
where we tried various cherry blossom related sweets,
enjoyed the local food and just generally made fools of ourselves…
...mainly Ryotaro.
Here he comes.
Look at that.
What have you got here?
Cherry Blossom tea.
Cherry blossom tea?
Yeah look at that.
Is it good?
Let me just try it.
Ah it’s alright. It’s a bit salty actually.
Yeah. I think this is salted cherry blossom.
Salted cherry blossom?
In hot water.
Actually I lied, it’s not tea.
Let’s have a look.
How is it?
Oh my lord.
I thought there’s cherry blossom in there, it’ll taste nice.
Nope. It tastes like sea water in a cup, with some flowers in.
That’s what we’re talking about.
Lots of people are looking at me so I need to pretend... In Japan you always need to show appreciation.
But I can’t.
I can’t. Oh god.
Here we go again.
What a poser.
Is it alright?
It’s good to see you’re so youthful,
despite your incredible age.
What about this…
...incredible age! Shut up!
You know there’s a reason I chose to live in the countryside.
Look at the view. It’s absolutely brilliant.
I have a weird obsession with mountains,
I think it’s because in the UK we don’t really have any.
The only place you can see mountains is on wikipedia…
…that’s the only place.
We don’t have books.
No seriously I prefer the countryside to the city big time.
I know I live in Sendai which is a city.
The 11th biggest city in Japan. But still.
In Sendai it’s 20 minutes to get to this kind of view. 20 minutes to get into the country.
In Tokyo it’s more like 2 hours.
The reason I can’t live in Tokyo is because I can’t get this easily.
And also we’re only 90 minutes away from Tokyo and we’re here.
See. My friend who lives in Tokyo, I can get into Tokyo quicker by bullet train from Sendai,
than they can from the outskirts of Tokyo.
So, if you want to live in Tokyo, don’t. Live in Sendai.
That’s the moral of the story.
So what have we got here?
So we’ve got sticky rice on a stick.
Sticky rice on a stick?
That’s right.
That’s a lot of stick.
Give me the run down on each flavour.
So what have we got here?
So that’s the sticky rice and it’s got a Cherry blossom jam.
Cherry blossom jam?
That's Ok, that's good! And this one?
And that’s sesame paste.
Sesame paste.
Have you tried that one?
I’ll give that one a miss.
Oh really?
This one?
That’s Zunda! Have you heard of Zunda?
Zunda! It’s like a dance…
No it’s not.
Oh wait thats Zoomba isn’t it.
It’s a green soy bean paste.
And that is the world famous red bean paste.
World famous. And I actually quite like red bean paste.
This one?
Soy sauce Jam.
Soy Sauce Jam.
It’s quite sweet as well though.
Well I think I’m going to start with this one. It’s the most appealing.
It tastes like
Cherry blossom?
I don’t know how I know the taste of flowers. I just do.
Have you tried flowers before?
Yeah I eat flowers all the time.
I’m going to give that a 9 out of 10.
Seriously? That good.
See what I mean…flower taste.
This is what we call cherry blossom taste.
Cherry blossom taste…
…alright that makes more sense.
This bit here the rice mochi, the rice that’s been ground up and battered to hell, tastes really good.
It’s like chewing gum that’s edible
and better than chewing gum.
That doesn’t sound good.
No it doesn’t.
I’m really bad at food reviews.
I knew that.
Thanks Ryotaro.
Yes black paste.
Black paste.
It looks a little bit strange.
The word appealing doesn’t spring to mind.
The sesame is quite salty. And the mochi is quite sweet. So its a combination of salt and sweet. And that is good.
Yeah I really need to work on these reviews of food don’t I.
Yeah you’re really bad.
It tastes like a sunshine lollipop rainbow.
That doesn’t make sense.
I’m going to go home after this today and read a book on how to describe things.
There's a small mountain in the middle of the town
and to get up it there's a cable car
But it feels less like a cable car, more like a submarine.
As it submerges through dozens of cherry blossom trees at the side of the mountain.
Cherry Blossom Submarine!! Yeaaaah!!
Whilst we were bumbling down the street we saw a building with some friendly locals
putting on a traditional Japanese Tea ceremony display.
Of course we jumped to the chance of some free tea.
In the UK we don’t put this much effort into preparing tea.
We probably should.
I always feel quite nervous in these scenarios. It feels very serious…
Yeah I know.
…And religious.
My friend in Hong Kong her name was creamy.
I’m trying to keep a straight face after you tell me that.
My friend’s called Creamy.
I’m trying to keep a straight face. Oh my friend’s called creamy. My friend in Hong Kong.
Ruining the atmosphere of the tea ceremony with your ridiculous creamy friend.
This is where we’re going to have lunch.
I mean, the soba is not yet here. But look at that.
Wow there’s an Owl. And then a Samurai sword.
And then a samurai armour.
What’s the significance of the owl?
I have no idea.
Traditional Japanese owl.
No it’s a lamp.
Have you ever worn samurai armour?
Yes I have.
Have you ever fought in battle with a sword?
Maybe my ancestors.
But not you?
Not me. It’s in my blood though.
Do you reckon you’d know how to wield one if a situation arose.
Ah definitely.
You’d be able to pick it up and take someone on.
Well it’s in my blood. Automatically I’d know.
That’s right. That’s how it works.
That’s how biology works.
The name of the whole set is the dish of the lord.
The dish of the lord. What do you say in Japanese?
I thought you were Japanese.
I thought you were a real life Japanese person.
Now that is a feast fit for a lord.
That’s right, so I’m sitting like a lord.
I’m just rubbish at sitting.
There’s quite a lot of noodles though.
It is actually. It’s got tempura, rice as well and sashimi.
Can you eat it all?
Yeah yeah. Of course. It’s very nice.
I think I can.
I hope I can.
Well you will.
I will.
There’s so much cool stuff here.
A big meal like this in Japan its always very exciting because you don’t know where to begin.
Should I start with the sashimi. Should I dig into the noodles.
Or should I eat the fish.
Or the battered… more fish.
It’s like I don’t know where to begin. It’s very exciting.
You kind of go in between each one.
That’s right.
It’s really fun.
That’s true. European dishes they come one after another.
Well if this was the UK, you’d just get a big plate covered in stuff.
There’s something quite cool about having 25 dishes all in front of you at once.
And then you miss the rice. Whilst trying to look good on camera.
I feel like I’ve won the lottery.
See my description skills are going up aren’t they.
Well they’re getting worse actually.
Alright how would you describe it then?
What the soba?
Just the meal.
Just the meal. Well. It’s the dish of Lord.
It is the dish of Lord. But how would you describe it?
How would you describe it in a nice original away. That isn’t just “oo it’s delicious”.
Describe it.
Describe it?
It’s amazing.
No. More unique.
It’s amazing. Incredible. Wonderful. Unbelievable.
No you can’t just use adjectives. I want a metaphor or something.
A metaphor?
Or a simile. It’s as good as…
It’s a lot better than how Chris has described.
That’s rubbish.
It’s not rubbish. It’s true.
Show me you’re the man.
Oh no.
You tried to make the sound. It should come naturally.
One more.
1, 2, 3.
The greatest slurping you’ve ever seen.
You’re so bad man. You’re so bad.
I’m so disappointed. I’m so disappointed about you.
Maybe he can do it.
Oh come on.
Like that! See that?
How long you been in Japan?
It’s not important.
How long you been here?
I nearly put it in the tea.
I nearly stuck it in the tea.
You’re so confused man.
Oh it’s all going wrong.
Ok last chance.
Last chance.
So we’ve just had lunch. We’re pretty full. And now you’ve spotted a bakery.
Yes I did.
What is this?
So this is a bread right.
It’s bread.
It’s bread. And here is a cherry blossom flower.
Right, in the bread?
In the bread.
And they’re trying to sell this Cherry blossom flower as a specialty.
Ah very lucrative, very clever.
A lot of foreigners in Japan always have this vendetta against bread in Japan.
But I think it’s alright. I don’t really taste the difference.
Like over here this is shokupan, which is just bread.
It tastes just like bread in the UK.
What’s maybe different compared to the western bakeries, is we have lots of bread with something in it.
Yeah it’s quite popular in Japan to have something in the bread right?
That’s right so for instance this one…
Curry Doughnuts.
Yeah, so there’s a curry paste inside.
Right that does sound, quite…not good.
Curry with doughnuts.
It’s not on my list of things to do.
You should try it.
I try not to judge a book by it’s cover. But I am going to judge it by it’s cover this time.
You are!
Curry Doughnuts…
Cherry Blossom season is one of the best times to visit Japan.
It starts in late march in the kyushu in the south and ends in late April in hokkaido in the north.
If you’re in Tohoku, or fancy a day trip away from Tokyo,
I highly recommend checking out Shibata and it’s 1,000 cherry blossom trees.
It’s definitely one of the most impressive sights I’ve seen in my time in Japan so far.
The town is easily accessible from Sendai station - its just 30 mins on the JR Tohoku Line
to Funaoka Station in Shibata.
And if you’re coming from Tokyo, you can reach Sendai
in 90 minutes by bullet train from Tokyo station.
You can find more details on how to get there in the description box below.
Shibata also has a night time illumination
although if you go it won't be as cold as when we went.
It’s 6.30 in the evening. And you know what’s happening?
I’m freezing. That’s what happening. It’s snowing. It’s the middle of April and it’s snowing.
That’s right. The flowers are falling, but at the same time the snow is falling as well.
Thanks for watching guys, we’ll see you next time.