April 15, 2012

Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival

Today my family went to the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival. Unfortunately, this year's festival seemed to be much smaller than the last time I went, in 2010. Many of the booths and attractions were spread out among various random buildings and there were almost no signs or useful directions to get to things. We spent a good deal of time bumbling about trying to find our way.

We weren't able to see any of the stage performances, simply because we couldn't find any, because the main stage looked like the performances were scheduled one at a time at least an hour or so apart. We didn't have the patience to sit there and wait with a fussy toddler. I would have loved to see some koto or dancing, but sadly I didn't see anything anytime soon on the schedule. It used to be that there would be an emcee on stage announcing the performances one after the other - I wonder what happened this year.

The Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival association really needs to release their schedule beforehand so that festival goers can plan their visit. I see that most other cherry blossom festivals do this. I just now found out that there was a special performance of a rare Japanese instrument called kugo that I would have loved to see.

But, despite that, we enjoyed going to a festival together as a family, my son's first time going to a Japanese matsuri.

My son, Bryan, and I dressed in yukata. It was very warm today, so we were very comfortable!

Mommy and baby's yukata! I don't know the main flower on my yukata, but there are also small sakura on it, and my geta have sakura pattern. I wore a zinnia flower in my hair, and the bag has a flower that I don't recognize.
I made this bag about 12 years ago, when I was still in high school (geez I feel old). It is made from the pant leg of a 1970s ladies embroidered polyester suit set. I liked the bee embroidery very much and wanted to reuse the fabric into something I would use.

The cherry blossoms are almost gone in my town, but an hour north in Seattle we found that the trees have more blossoms.

First order of business when we got to the festival was to get food! The main food attraction this year was yakisoba from Fujinomiya Yakisoba, visiting from Shizuoka Prefecture. However, I had to get my favorite meal, gyudon.
After we ate, we looked at the displays. I apologize for the blurry pictures, my digital camera is temperamental.

Yoroi, samurai armor

Chiyogami dolls by Kuniko Mancini.

I always look forward to visiting my former zokei bonsai instructor, Setsuko Evans, at festivals. Zokei bonsai are fake bonsai trees made of rice paper, silk, drift wood, and other items. The zokei bonsai she displays at festivals are the ones that are created by her students. She showed me several new trees and some of the new techniques the classes have been learning.
My camera would not take a good picture :-( A double cherry blossom bonsai.

This isn't a bonsai, but uses the same zokei techniques. The intricacies of the chrysanthemum petals is really impressive! I wonder how long it took to cut and shape each silk petal~

You can see the zokei bonsai that I've personally made here at my old blog. There is one bonsai tree missing from the photos, a camellia tree. My former instructor still has it from borrowing it years ago to show at a festival, and every time I see her at festivals she reprimands me for not taking it back from her! Oh gosh, I keep forgetting to schedule a time to pick it up, I'm sorry!

There were a few kimono displayed on dress forms. I was too slow to get a picture of the furisode, she had just begun to undress it.

Dressed in uchikake

Display uchikake.

Tree branches decorated with origami kusudama. This green and red one is very cute!

Mizuhiki zaiku by Haruko Shimizu. I love this kabuto! You can purchase her book on Amazon.

Mr. Tatsuhiko Konno is a sword polisher and martial artist.

After seeing the displays, we went outside so baby Bryan could walk around some. I love this picture of him holding hands with daddy, I wish the shadows weren't so harsh.

He sat down and took off one of his sandals. He has such a mischievous grin while daddy fixes it for him!

Baby Bryan was able to see some taiko drumming! When we went to an Asian New Year event, Bryan watched an Okinawan Taiko dance performance, and he loved it. Today, he watched the taiko performers with great interest.

This is Inochi Taiko. They were really good, I hope we get to see them again!

More pictures of baby.

I was approached by people a few times to have my picture taken. A man that works at the University of Washington asked me to stand here for a photograph under some blossoming trees. I hadn't realized the Space Needle was directly in the background!

My obi didn't fair too well at the end of the day.

We stumbled around some more, sort of bummed at the lack of things to see or do. Then we happened upon another building at random that had more taiko performers and a small handful of booths.
I found two other girls wearing yukata! I felt like I was the only person wearing wafuku (except for someone doing tea ceremony). I don't know if they wore their own yukata, or if they got the yukata from the dress-up station inside the building we were outside of.

The yukata dress-up station. Blurry pictures, geez I need a new camera..

I tried to get a picture, but it turned out blurry. I really liked the pearl and crystal decoration dangling from the center of her obi.

Ikebana displays. I don't know anything about flower arrangement, but I do like the shape of this one.
I think this one is cherry blossom.

Another taiko group, this one is The School of Taiko.

Baby knocked out after a long day!


  1. You two look so cute together! Looks like you had lots of fun ^_^

  2. You both look lovely in kimono!

    Do you have small drums for Bryan at home? Lily is a taiko baby (both my husband and I played taiko) and she looooves drumming! So she has a few small tribal drums around here. I am also looking to get her a set of bongos now that she's bigger and less likely to destroy them!

  3. Sometimes Bryan will drum on plastic dishes with a pair of chopsticks.
    I have a taiko video game in storage, I've been meaning to unpack it and let him play with it!

  4. What great photo streem, it looks so cosy.
    Baby Bryan "knocked out" is too cute

  5. I enjoyed to see Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival^^
    You two are so good dressed in kimono!! How about your husband^^??
    For my family, similar case often occurs. When we go to a festival or a event, only my husband doesn't wear his kimono or yukata. I really want him to wear, but it's OK. He has a lot work for get ready instead of me (caring for Akari or etc...). I'm in a mess about wearing my kimono and letting Akari wear her kimono. Very busy^^;

    BTW, I'm happy your family enjoyed the Festival!!!

  6. Thank you Kaori! My husband only wears kimono sometimes, and he used to be too busy to go to festivals with me. But now he has time and is excited to go to festivals. I hope he will wear yukata to a festival this year. I even bought him a jinbei, in case he would rather wear jinbei!