Sunday, April 26, 2015

Festival in the City - Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival - Stage by roland luistro, on FlickrTwo weekends ago, San Francisco's Japantown hosted the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. I've always wanted to come and see it but it always coincides when I am on call at work.

This year, the on-call happened early on so I was able to see the opening day. I loved it!

The Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the first festivals that happen in the City every year. I think of it as the beginning of summer days. Though, summer in the city are normally fogged in, I still think it is summer. This festival is spread within two weekends so it is a long festival.

Mijo and I decided to go to the opening day which was the Saturday of the first weekend of the festival.
Another reason we wanted to go to this day is because of the Taiko drummer group called the San Francisco Taiko Dojo. They were scheduled to perform on that day.

Let me take you on a virtual tour of the street fair that day.

The streets in the vicinity of Japantown were closed to motorists. There was a long line when we got to Fillmore Street and Post streets. It was a very long line. I didn't want to sound too interested whiat the line was all about so I walked to the end of the line and found the Hello Kitty Cafe truck.  I don't really know what they were selling that day. All I heard was that they were opening a cafe somewhere in the Bay Area, maybe South Bay, and this truck is perhaps a promotional thing?

Cherry Blossom Festival - Hello Kitty Cafe truck

Here's the scene of the street fair. I thought there was going to be a parade but I was told the parade wasn't going to happen until Sunday of the event's second weekend. 
Cherry Blossom Festival - Post Street

What was there were the staff of the San Francisco Giants Baseball Pitch. 

Cherry Blossom Festival - SF Giants

Looking at the event schedule, I was overwhelmed with the list of activities during the two weekends.  Aside from the Taiko drum performances, there was an Ikebana exhibit, a Mandala exhibit, an unveiling of a new US Postal stamp that is Japanese inspired, Origami exhibit and a tea ceremony.

My favorite, Taiko drum demontrations.
Cherry Blossom Festival - Taiko drum demo

Finally, we reached the Japantown Peace Plaza where the Taiko performances have already started. The performances were scheduled between 12:15 through 1pm.
Cherry Blossom Festival - Japantown Peace Plaza

We stayed there for a while to enjoy more performances. Here's one of the performances that day.
I loved how the beat builds up to a climax. Even though the music is something other people might consider upbeat, somehow I find the beat and the sound soothing and relaxing. The beat takes me back to my travels to Japan.

After the performances, Mijo and I started walking along Post Street where I saw this Japanese anime quiz game being held. 
Cherry Blossom Festival - Sakura 360 stage

I also discovered another game that I have never heard of before. It is called Kendama. The object of the game is to catch the ball with a hole using a stick with three cups and a spike.  Mijo mentioned that they used to play with a similar toy in El Salvador called capirucho. I do not remember any toy I used to play with in the Philippines that resembles a Kendama.
Cherry Blossom Festival - Kendama exhibition

Here's a street performer that I enjoyed listening to.

It is also fun to see people dressed up. 
I don't really know what this get up is called but I'll call it J-pop.
Cherry Blossom Festival - JPop costume

Of course, traditional costumes were also present that day. 
These are two geishas texting.
Cherry Blossom Festival - Geisha texting

The Pocky truck was giving away free Pejoy.
Cherry Blossom Festival - Pocky truck

There was a sushi making demo. 
I think he was trying to sell a sushi maker.
Cherry Blossom Festival - Maki sushi maker

Mijo and I got hungry and decided to break for a late lunch at our favorite ramen place called Suzu. Afterward, we bought some sweets from Kissako Tea.
Cherry Blossom Festival - Kissako Tea

While walking around the event area, Mijo and I were snacking on freebies and food we bought.
Cherry Blossom Festival - Snack Cherry Blossom Festival - Pocky Pejoy Cherry Blossom Festival - Takoyaki

Cherry Blossom Festival - Suzu Noodle House Shiyo ramen Cherry Blossom Festival - Kushi Dango Cherry Blossom Festival - Matcha Monaka ice cream

Here are more Japanese displays inside Japantown.
Cherry Blossom Festival - Warrior display Cherry Blossom Festival - Carriage display

The highlight of our trip to Japantown was the Taiko drumming so we decided to head home we the thought of going back the following weekend. We didn't make it the following weekend so we missed the parade. Next year, I'll try to make it here again and check out the event for the entire two weekends. Maybe next year?


No comments: