Monday, April 21, 2008

Japan Town Cherry Blossom Festival 2008

On Sunday our family took a trip to San Francisco for the annual Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival. I'd never been to the festival before, but really wanted to go this year since Japanese culture is also of interest to me. This was the first time Aidan rode on a bus! The only down side to the whole experience was the bitterly cold wind. The only place we found for the parade that was available was in the shade of a tall apartment building. We froze ourselves but it was worth it.

Aidan is a big Totoro fan, and his daddy bought him his first Totoro doll from the Kinokuniya bookstore in the Japan Town Plaza. Unlike the Kinokuniya bookstores in Bankok, this one is almost entirely all Japanese books, most popular being Manga with English.

Traditional Japanese dancers. I've always loved the patterns of their costumes.

Taiko drummers. There were several groups of Taiko Dojo drummers. I think of drumming as a masculine pursuit, but that has now changed. Most of the drummers I've seen live or on TV have been women and they are fantastic! Aidan loves the drumming, and who knows, he might take it up when he's older.

In my opinion, this was the highlight of the parade. The Cosplay group!!! Cosplay is short for Costume Play, and fans dress up like their favorite Manga characters. There is a HUGE following in this country, and there are many Cosplay conventions attended by these fans. One of the things I loved about going to this festival is seeing how many non-Asian people are into Japanese culture, Manga included. In this parade, overall, there were probably 1/3 of the participants who were not of Asian decent. Most of the fans in Cosplay are younger - teenagers up through early to mid 20s. What a cool thing to be into! :)

More Cosplay kids. Wish the picture could be clearer, but you get the idea. So fun!

Aidan's highlight was seeing Totoro on the float. The only missing character from the parade was Ultraman. Maybe next year?

Hanging out in the Peace Plaza after the parade, we saw this character. I don't know what this poor kitty's name is, but Aidan really loved playing with him.

While Golf went to get some change for the bus ride back, Aidan and I hung out with all the Cosplay kids. If I didn't have to keep such a close eye on him, I would have talked to some of these guys to find out more about them. Since I used to be into raving years ago, I have an appreciation for sub-cultures of young adults who might be considered freaky by society. Anyway, a little while later Aidan was more than thrilled to see that Totoro had arrived on the scene and he spent a long time playing with him. The person in the suit was fantastic about playing and the other folks nearby got a big kick out of Aidan giving big hugs and dancing with Totoro!

1 comment:

Mel said...

Aidan is too cute for words! I can't believe how tall he is and he's not even 3!! Looks like a fab day out :-)