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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MAGNOLIA GROWS IN BROOKLYN……CROWN HEIGHTS TO BE EXACT! by Debra Lewis-Boothman

FRIDAY’ S CUTE PIC OF THE DAY on  crownheightsmom goes to Magnolia, the heart-stopping, cute-as-ever little 20-month old happy tyke  who along with her BABY  stopped me in my tracks on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon.

20-month old Magnolia

20-month old Magnolia

Meet MAGNOLIA . She literally brought the sun out today. In fact I think   her  cuteness is the  reason  the expected  snow storm for  Thursday went bye-bye!

I spotted the lil darling taking her baby out for a walk on Eastern Parkway. Along for the stroll was mum Natalie and dad Matthew. The  9-year Brooklyn residents  have been residing in Crown Heights for the past  three years.  Before  Magnolia came along the gorgeous couple  were  living in Do-or-die Bed-Sty!…

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Brooklyn is fast becoming the NYC borough young families are looking to start and raise their families.

Brooklyn is fast becoming that borough  young families are flocking to. Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Lefferts Gardens and Flatbush are the  new favorite areas for new renters and buyers. Don’t get me wrong there is still interest  in Fort Green, Bedford Stuyvesant, Ditmas Park, Sunset Park,  Park Slope and Boroum Hill areas .

Why the Crown Heights draw ? It  has Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Grand Army Plaza Library and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum  all at ones doorstep.

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Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Prospect Park

Prospect Park

Brooklyn Museum of Art

Brooklyn Museum of Art

japanese Garden  at Brooklyn's Botanical Gardens

japanese Garden at Brooklyn’s Botanical Gardens

Let’s not even begin to talk  culture. Brooklyn  is  a gumbo pot of cultures. It is the  epitome of what New York stands for.  For young families moving to Crown Heights you can walk down the  street and bump into someone from every caribbean island known to man, meet young hip  fashionable Hasidics, or a Korean  grocer   selling  the freshest fruits and vegetables this side of Chinatown, or even talk politics with the Yemen corner store owner . The cultures  my friend in Brooklyn are  infinite .

So as our little cutie pie Magnolia continues on her walk  here’s to wishing her a wonderful year and  hoping when she hits  her 2 year mark  on May 19 that she  stays as  sweet as ever for mummy and daddy .

Enjoy your walk  little Magnolia and take in all that your wonderful neighborhood has to offer. Soak it up!

Magnolia alongside mum and dad

Magnolia alongside mum and dad