I know I am a newbie in the San Francisco/Bay Area and I must say that upon my miraculous journey, I have discovered many new things. Grab a raincoat during the summer because it rains, the tenderloins is not a high class steak restaurant, the BART may smell like piss but it gets you around, etc. This past weekend (and the week before), I have learned something new that I plan to attend every year- and that is the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival!
Located in the heart of Japantown in San Francisco, the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of culture and diversity in the Japanese American community. Staying true to traditional events, entertainment for the event features Taiko drumming, Japanese food bazaar, arts and crafts, martial arts, folk dancers and more! With over 200,000 people in attendance, this celebratory event brings different ethnicities and cultures together in a positive way.
I only attended two days of the four day festivity (two weekend long event) and it blew my mind! I would have to say my favorite activity was eating! I had a taste of every food item I could get my hands on! My favorite one was the Teriyaki burger hands down! For only five bucks, this delicious beef burger slathered with homemade teryaki sauce was a festival on its own... in my mouth! I also enjoyed the traditional sushi, lumpia, and spam musubi! If you plan to attend this event in the future, make sure you have cash on you because you are going to eat!
Another reason in going to the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival was to see my good friend James perform with the SF Taiko Dojo. Words cannot explain the skill, patience, and precision that goes into Taiko drumming. The physical strength and concentration of beating these huge drums that create a thunderous, yet serene and relaxing sound is something that I commend each individual for. I was mesmerized and I highly recommend that you see these talented artists perform at least once in your lifetime. I was in tears by the end of their number and I was so proud of James and the SF Taiko Dojo team. If you want to see for yourself, then YOUTUBE IT! Seriously. It's amazing.
I also went to the parade on the last day to support James and the taiko team, but it was such a hot day that I couldn't bear to stand there or else I was going to faint. I was very sad that I missed George Takei as the Grand Marshal. I would have loved to see him since I am such a huge fan of his work as well as his contribution to the LGBT community, but I was drinking cool ice water at the food bazaar and I missed him on the float... sad story.
So in conclusion, you absolutely must attend the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival and experience Japanese American culture at its finest. YAY!