Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Philly Moms: Picnicking under cherry blossoms: What are you doing April 11?

Picnicking under cherry blossoms: What are you doing April 11?

Original post to Philadelphia Moms Blog.

Cherryblossoms My daughter is obsessed with everything Japanese.

She’s studying Japanese in high school, she reads (and writes and draws) manga, she cosplays with her friends, and her favorite food is onigiri.

Four years ago her obsession led us to Fairmount Park in Philadelphia for the annual cherry blossom festival celebrated under the pink and white flowering trees. Now, it wouldn’t seem spring for us without it.

This year Sakura Sunday takes place April 11. As in past years, the event is slated to include traditional Japanese drumming and tea ceremonies, demonstrations of swordplay and martial arts, a cherry tree planting ceremony, J-pop performers, artisans and vendors of Japanese wares both traditional and unconventional, and of course, food -- Japanese and unabashedly Western (BBQ anyone?)

You can tour Fairmount Park’s Shofuso Japanese tea house, or make sure to see each of the enormous kites/windsocks that decorate the grounds near the horticultural center, or just wander through trees in various stages of blossom and marvel that Philadelphia has such a long history of friendship and exchange with Japan.

It really is an experience. And for a $5 donation per adult (kids under 14 don’t pay), it’s about as cheap as you get for a full day of entertainment.

We take a bento box full of onigiri I make to my daughter’s specifications and sit under the cherry blossoms to eat, pretending we are in Japan. (We haven’t been there. Yet.)

Honestly, we spend a lot of time trailing behind our daughter and her cosplaying friends as they sample every aspect of Japanese artistry on display. And while they wait for the stage to be freed up for their cosplay display. Last year the somewhat bemused father of one of my daughter’s friends commented that the trailing after our daughters was only just -- given how we make them trail after us to museums and landmarks and wherever else we feel they should accompany us.

Just so.

Only, I’m guessing I enjoy this much more.

But be forewarned -- lots of people like spending time under the cherry blossoms. I don’t know what the official attendance tallies stand at, but it’s always teeming with families.

Oh, and take your camera -- you’ll thank me later.

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