JAPAN DESCENDED UPON BROOKLYN WITH CHERRY BLOSSOMS, TAIKO DRUMMING AND AN URBAN TEA CEREMONY AT THE SAKURA MATSUKI FESTIVAL ……BY Debra Lewis-Boothman

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I was in my mid teens when Sakura Matsuri started at the  Brooklyn Botanic  Gardens. Back then, the faces attending were mostly  of Japanese origin and they   came out in droves  to celebrate the blooming cherry blossom flowers and rejoice in the planned Japanese cultural programs and activities.

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Miu Soda in traditional regal mode

In recent years, the  two-day weekend festival has become more popular  and has grown by  leaps and bounds attracting people of all races, nationalities and cultures. The impact of its popularity is  felt in the buildup of  traffic as more and more people   come to the borough and  as attendees join lines snaking along  Washington and Flatbush avenues .Many come dressed in their favorite  anime costumes or opt to wearing  traditional Japanese kimonos.  The mostly open -air outdoors celebration  gives those attending a taste of Japan with  sword fighting displays, Taiko drumming exhibition, manga artists and much more.

Seeing  such an  assortments of Japanese culture, food and arts made for a  breathtakingly  beautiful afternoon spent amongst the  cherry blossoms.

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For many, myself included,  attending  the annual Sakura Matsuri festival signals,  that  Spring  has finally sprung.

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7-year old Kai amongst the blooming flowers at BBG

One of my very best friends, Asako, hails from Japan. I remember talking to her years ago about  her country’s  most cherished flower and her saying that  in Japan they  have  Sakura Hanami parties  throughout the country . Getting  dressed up  in cultural garb  like a Kimono and  attending Cherry blossom viewing she says is a serious thing there, where the blooming flowers are watched carefully  and celebrated by all.

I am most proud that this festival occurs  in my Crown Heights neighborhood with the BBG being a hop, skip and a jump from my doorsteps.My kids especially got a blast  seeing all  the  beautiful flowers in  bloom in an assortment of colors. Taking in the festival this past weekend was a  joy from seeing the many families in attendance to  seeing the  festival goers decked out in  traditional Kimonos and others in their  favorite Japanese inspired costumes. The $25 admittance fee definitely  was worth every penny .

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Hip hopping with the one and only Akim Funk Buddha and Chihiro ‘Cute Beat’

Crownheightmom.com is definitely looking forward to next year’s  festival.

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Kameko takes a rest while taking in the colorful flowers

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An attendee at the Cherry Blossom festival

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The Taiko drums were played loudly and beautifully

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The Japanese Hill and Pond Garden

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