Lazy Tokyo Meetup 2: Electric Hanami Boogaloo
posted February 14, 2017 12:09 AM   RSS | iCal | +googleCal

Sat March 25 at 7:00 PM, FOOD&TIME ISETAN
Shinagawa Station, 3 Chome-26-27 Takanawa, Minato, Tokyo 108-0074, Japan (Map & Directions)
Our last little meetup went well, so we might as well tempt fate and try it again. We knocked around a few ideas over beers last month, lets hash them out in the comments and see what happens. Next Update: We have a new plan!
Meet at DevilCraft Hamamatsucho around 7 then head to Atre Shinagawa. Eat, consume some craft beer or Blue Bottle coffee if desired, then go outdoors and hit a park or two for some early hanami. While doing that, I would suggest we embrace Ghidorah's nightmare scenario of "just randomly go up to people in parks and make mefite jokes, leading to horrible embarrassment." We can do this. Please, click the Yes or No buttons. Thank you!

March 12 seemed like the best date that everyone could agree on last time. Did everyone (including those who weren't there and therefore couldn't possibly have known about it) keep their calendars open? OK, we've moved on to March 25 or 26, and aiming to get a solid date by March 12th.

Beyond the date, I think we tossed around various ideas such as: hanami, too early for hanami, meet in a non-peak-hanami park and just call it hanami anyway, do something to bring the whole family, or default to the standard food-beverages-chat-in-a-bar format.

So, we need a time of day, location, and something to do.
(Planning these meetups is super easy for lazy people like me as long as I don't actually decide anything, huh?)

posted by Gotanda to Meetup (31 comments total)

Thanks for jumping on this. The only thing that I would be concerned about would be weather. Is it going to be warm enough by then? Is the 26th out? I know it's a bit later, and pretty much in the middle of the projected flower worshipping, but chilly hanami weather is a bit nicer than frigid early March weather, especially for outside stuff.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:15 AM on February 15, 2017

And yeah, I think it'd be keen if we had a more family friendly thing, blankets, park, potluck, that sort of thing gets my vote.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:16 AM on February 15, 2017

Either way. March 26 is fine by me. And, yeah much less likely to be bone chilling.
Keeping my decisive streak going.
posted by Gotanda at 2:59 AM on February 15, 2017

We have a couple blankets, some cooler like things, and I'm definitely willing to bring snacks. For me the question is where? I don't know hanamiable parks in Tokyo aside from Ueno (crazy crowded), Yoyogi (see Ueno), and Shinjuku Gyoen (no booze allowed). Granted, there's not likely to be a secret awesome hanami spot in Tokyo that isn't known by half the city, but what options are out there?
posted by Ghidorah at 2:41 PM on February 15, 2017

I looked at a sakura forecast calendar that says March 26 should be first blossoms, with peak enfloweration around April 2 this year, so March 26 might be less crowded than the following weekend.

In my experience, it's always colder at hanami than you expect it to be, so I would advise everyone to dress more warmly than you think you need to.

As for location, unlike Ueno Park, I've never found Yoyogi to be too crowded, other than the long lines for the toilet. Yoyogi also has the advantage that I almost always run into people I know who are at other hanami parties.

A more off-the-beaten-track location is the canal-side path between Yotsuya and Ichigaya stations, which has the advantage of being central and having good transportation from those two stations. Also, Aoyama Cemetery is quite nice, and is also quite central - more spacious than Yotsuya but less well serviced by transport.

I would also be up for an indoor event, or a short picnic followed by a bar.
posted by Umami Dearest at 7:24 PM on February 15, 2017

I've got a gig that night, so it's a little tight, but if any of you Mefipeople wanna come to it, after the meetup, it's free. At What the Dickens in Ebisu (lotsa pints on tap, pub food, etc). Details are at my website here. Cheers.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:44 PM on February 16, 2017

I may or may not be able to go on March 26 -- I won't know for sure until around February 25. If I can go, I'd rather go with 3/26 than 3/12.
posted by Bugbread at 8:45 PM on February 16, 2017

Sounds like the 26th is better. The tricky part is where. Looks like flapjax' gig is 14:00-17:00 so a lunchtime picnic would work well for those who want to go catch that. How about Nakameguo Park? Not far from Ebisu? Lots of sakura along the Meguro river.
posted by Gotanda at 4:51 PM on February 18, 2017

Wait, uh, I've been dumb. The 26th is no good for me, Punkspring calls. Sorry for the confusion.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:39 AM on February 19, 2017

So, uh, even if I can't make it (and really, I feel pretty bad about suggesting the 26th and then remembering that I can't make after almost a week had gone by), Mrs. Ghidorah (who worked in Nakameguro last spring) had to suppress a shudder when I asked her about Nakameguro in Hanami time, in that it's one of the more popular/shoulder-to-shoulder Hanami spots around. For the close to Ebisu thing, Yoyogi is also pretty close, though likely just as crowded. Aoyama Cemetary is gorgeous, though yeah, a bit of a walk from train stations.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:12 PM on February 21, 2017

Sundays are difficult for me (as opposed to Saturdays) but I'll be able to make more of a decision closer to any set dates.
posted by lesser weasel at 5:15 PM on February 23, 2017

I'm willing to bet Gotanda is mostly busy with work stuff, but it would be a shame for this to die on the vine. I have a sneaking suspicion that if this event manages to come together, it will make it that much easier to get something lined up for golden week or summer. On the other hand, I can see it being harder to get that running if this fizzles.

So, well, I can't make it on the Sunday, but who can? Sunday, Nakameguro, potluck lunch, head over to see Sam play after sounds like a pretty decent meetup.

If the Sunday is the problem, is that Saturday any better? I couldn't make it anywhere until at least 5, but I'd be happy to join a hanami already in progress. Or would you all prefer a different weekend? A military weekend? (Sorry, Star Wars moment)

Let's try to keep this alive. Even if I can't make it, I'd rather be jealous I couldn't attend instead of sad that it didn't happen at all.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:17 PM on February 27, 2017


Ghidorah suspects correctly. I'll be back in Tokyo from the 5th. And, on/off line until then.

OK, so maybe Nakameg isn't the best idea. I remember it being not so packed one time, but it was probably unseasonably cold. Can't count on that. The main thing is to get a date. There are a ton of places.

We have 5-6 yes-maybes. Starting to sound like the Saturday is better. It is fine with me. Anyone else prefer Saturday? If we can get a date firmed up by around the 12th, that should give time to plan all the delicious foods and beverages, or to just default to a bar. (We could pick one that allows us to walk past cherry blossoms?) But, would be nice to get outdoors for a bit.
posted by Gotanda at 1:33 AM on February 28, 2017

Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend that weekend. Sorry!
posted by Bugbread at 8:34 PM on February 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yay/rats. I'm on a temp assignment in Japan. But leaving the 17th.
posted by ctmf at 8:48 PM on March 3, 2017

25th would work for me.
posted by fyolnish at 7:17 PM on March 11, 2017

Been pretty quiet here. It seems most people are busy. Aim for Golden Week?
posted by Gotanda at 2:52 PM on March 13, 2017

The meet up must live!

I'll be free in the evening, and intend to find a group of mefites who have been admiring hanami, and drink with them. Barring that, I'll just randomly go up to people in parks and make mefite jokes, leading to horrible embarrassment. Please, save me from this, even if it's only just a small handful of us getting drinks from a conbini.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:52 PM on March 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

So, mini meetup evening of the 25th? Who's in?
posted by Gotanda at 11:39 PM on March 17, 2017

I'm in. Any interest in the Shinagawa Atre fancy schmancy food court? There's an Antenna America satellite shop and Guzman y Gomez shop as well. Failing that, something izakayaesque? Conbini beers and walking through Ueno Park?
posted by Ghidorah at 4:35 PM on March 18, 2017

The Atre food court is quite popular, so I'm not sure about the logistics of being able to sit together as a group, even with their big shared tables. (It's also pretty noisy there.) Then again, maybe the group won't be so big....

If it's an izakaya, I would once again recommend ZenyaRen in Otemachi, because it's quite large, and uncrowded on weekends. And Craft Beer Market is right upstairs if anyone wants a nightcap afterwards.

(And I would be up for an evening indoor drink on the 25th.)
posted by Umami Dearest at 8:29 AM on March 19, 2017

I am becoming a big fan of GyG, and it is time to just call this thing done. And, I would suggest we embrace Ghidorah's nightmare scenario of "just randomly go up to people in parks and make mefite jokes, leading to horrible embarrassment."

Meet at Atre Shinagawa at 5:30. It is crowded and loud, but there is also really fast turnover and we may be a very small group anyhow. Eat, consume some craft beer, then go outdoors and hit a park or two for some early hanami.

We can do ZenyaRen when we actually have a large group.
posted by Gotanda at 12:42 AM on March 20, 2017

I'll be there, but my shift has changed, and I'm working to 11-7, so I'll be a bit late. If you guys have moved on from Atre, just post in thread, I'll come find you.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:37 AM on March 20, 2017

Or, should we just start later? It looks like it will be a very small meetup....
posted by Gotanda at 7:32 PM on March 21, 2017

That works fine for me. Even if we don't actually meet up, let's act like we did and concoct crazy tales of adventure so everyone else feels bad about missing out!
posted by Ghidorah at 1:31 AM on March 22, 2017

Unfortunately things came up on my end and I won't be able to make this one. :(
posted by lesser weasel at 10:57 PM on March 23, 2017

Wwell, Gotanda, it looks like it might just be the two of us. Drop by Hamamatsucho around 7, drink with me while I polish off my staff beer, and we'll head off to taco land. How's that sound?
posted by Ghidorah at 7:16 AM on March 24, 2017

Micromeetup for tales of adventure. Or, at least scheming to plan one that lesser weasel, bugbread, umami dearest, and a few other folks can join in on next time. 7 at Hamamatsucho is is!
posted by Gotanda at 5:42 PM on March 24, 2017

You've got the patience of a saint. I'm wondering if there's ever been a meetup as heavily modified as this one. This has gotta be pretty record breaking for two people to meet up and get some drinks, right?
posted by Ghidorah at 6:07 PM on March 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

There's a fine line between saintly patience and demonic stubbornness. Discuss.
posted by Gotanda at 9:39 PM on March 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Well, that was a lovely evening of discussing Wittgenstein over a game of backgammon. Thanks, Gotanda, for setting up such a lovely evening.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:09 AM on March 25, 2017

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