This afternoon I was in Japantown for the last day of the Cherry Blossom Festival. The most crowded area was of course the food booths, with especially long lines for the takoyaki & the BBQ ribs. I waited in shorter lines for lumpia & an unagi bowl. For some reason the cultural exhibits were crammed into the JCCCNC building instead of the Kabuki Hotel. Besides enjoying the washi paper dolls & admiring a 300-year-old bonsai tree, I took in the parade. It was the usual assembly of dancers, community groups, politicians & beauty queens. The largest contingent was a group of people proudly dressed as their favorite anime characters. Everyone looked very happy to be there.
Beauty queens from Hawaii sat among giant boxes of panko & taught on-lookers the shaka.
The Grand Marshal was 98-year-old Keiko Fukuda, the highest ranking female judo master & a student of the man who invented the sport. She is so small that all I saw was the top of her head
Her Co-Grand Marshal, Hello Kitty, had no such visibility problem.
As always, the parade ended joyously with those sake-swilling guys in loin-cloths.
§ 44th Annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival
April 9, 10, 16 and 17, 2011
San Francisco's Japantown