The Sociology of Hanami (flower-watching)

Every year about this time of the year Japanese _ it seems every Japanese brings out big blue sheets of plastic to sit beneath cherry trees.
The practice of planting cheery trees in rows dates back to the Edo Period, where “hanami,” or flower-watching, started and is depicted in ukiyoe scrolls.
The springtime party was a big equalizer for a culture dominated by the bustling “iki” merchant class _ so different from the stuck-up somber divisive nobility of the previous eras.
Beneath the trees exploding with blossoms, people sit flat on the ground as equals, eating, singing, talking in big voices, drinking, reveling in their equality, practicality and vulgarity.
The branches are foaming with pale pink blossoms, some petals wafting with their sweet scent likes pieces of chiffon.
In contrast, the food smells bad, poorly made sushi, fried chicken and noodles.
Canned beer is guzzled, and the talking is loud.
Only in a strictly hierarchical society would the symbolic equalizer of hanami be so highly valued.
Japanese thrive on the democratic myth of hanami.
Although the purpose of these gatherings is to look at flowers, no one bothers to ask if anyone is really looking.
It is unclear whether people are just pretending to have a good time or they are really having a good time.
Everyone knows there is no such thing as equality in Japan _ a nation where the dumbest man is superior to the most qualified woman, and status is won by seniority and inheritance and personal ties _ not performance or productivity _ and language and mannerisms are defined by where one stands in strictly defined rankings.
In fact, the lowliest one, like a woman or the newly hired recruit at a company, has to go early and mark out the hanami spot beneath a tree with the blue plastic to make sure no other group takes that spot.
Some equality.
The picnic continues into the night.
Too drunk, some people are barely able to stand.
Lovers of group behavior to the max, Japanese come out in hordes during hanami season, the two weeks or so when the cherry trees are in bloom.
No matter that the crowds sitting, in some parks, right next to each other like a commuter train, are nothing but a blight to the scenic landscape.
If you question hanami, if you are not having the ball of your life, you are not a true Japanese.

survival of the fittest and the apex predator

in the animal kingdom, the strongest members of the species not only survive, they also get to mate or spawn and so they have the best chance to leave their genetic makeup and characteristics to future generations.
that is why females choose to have sex with powerful, rich, big, strong men.
in those Discovery Channel videos, male lions fight each other to decide on a winner that gets to mate.
in tuna, the males swim viciously over the eggs at the speed of a sportscar to spawn and so the strongest and fastest tuna get to leave their genes to legacy.
loser tuna are also swimming in the group and leaving their trails of sperm over the eggs but all too late because the eggs have already been fertilized by what the bigger and stronger male tuna spurted out.
and so it is forever the instinct for the female’s own survival and her offspring/eggs and the survival of the species to seek out the strongest.
but the human being may be one species capable of reversing that.
what could be more inhumane than being the most powerful predator?
isn’t it more desirable and attractive to be giving and humble, to sacrifice and accept honorable defeat instead of aggressively winning at someone else’s cost?
why must we be tuna? or a lion?
why shouldn’t being a loser be sexy?
to the enlightened liberated human female?