Sakura, farewell


Despite the cold wet rain of Saturday, we ventured out to the Sakura Matsuri, a Japanese Street Festival downtown.

Samurai saw in the elusive beauty of the fragile cherry blossom a symbol of their own fate, an early death at the height of their powers.

Well, it was hardly that depressing an afternoon, but it did have a certain wistful quality as we dodged the rain, trying to worm through into the tents to see what was going on. Paper-making, magic, bizarrely tempting groceries, cute little cellphone holders with embroidered bunnies. And all of it very wet.

Eventually we made our way to the main stage, where an amazing duo called AUN was performing – twin brothers Ryohei and Kohei Inoue playing the taiko drums with ferocious enthusiasm and wide smiles, backed by a sort of techno-lounge sound. Described by the Festival as “Japatronic Taiko Drums,” I was completely mesmerized and almost started dancing in the rain their beats were so infectious.

But our stomachs were growling, so it was off to the food tents to see what we could feast on…

Thai food, Chinese food, and Japanese delights. If only it hadn’t been raining we would have tried a lot more, but settled for some satay, gyoza dumplings, and chirashi – eel and spicy tuna.


We huddled under an arcade of some governmental building and noshed down. The girls at the nearby sushi tent continued their plaintive chorus, “Everything’s five dollars! Please get some now! We’re cold and we want to go home!”
Our fingers were freezing as we finished our food. The last echo of those hypnotic beats faded away. The rain continued to fall, the manga and anime vendors packing up their wares as we headed home.

As a fitting end to a celebration of the fleeting beauty of perfection, we spent the rest of the afternoon watching schoolkids murder each other in the brilliant Japanese film “Battle Royale”…

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