When you see the flag of Japan flying at the Missouri Botanical Garden, you know something exciting is happening!
We have been meaning to go to the Japanese Festival for the last few years, but something always got in the way. This year (the 40th anniversary of the Japanese Garden), however, I was determined that we were going to be there, and I am glad we were!
We got to see a cool bonsai demonstration:
And also a cool ikebana, or floral arranging, demonstration:
When we went outside, we found an amezaiku artist. Not just a candy craftsman, he also did magic tricks and oragami…he made Chickadee a frog!
The koinobori (carp windsock) display is apparently a big deal in Japan, and they were everywhere!
The festival processional included an Omikoshi (a portable Shinto shrine), a Bon Odori (summer festival dancing) group, and a Dashi (a portable float with a drum pulled by children from the Japanese language school).
We saw the art of Koma-Mawashi (top spinning). Dr. Tada can turn just about anything into a top!
The opening ceremony was held in the beautiful Japanese Garden, Seiwa-En. While we were there, we heard the taiko drums (my favorite part!) and witnessed the kagamiwari (opening of the sake barrel).
We went to a large-scale calligraphy demonstration (Shodo), by Seiran Chiba in the Garden’s theater:
While we didn’t get a good view of the ice sculpture as it was being made, we did get to see the finished product!
One of the best parts of the day was seeing Luck Eisa and St. Louis Okinawa Eisa perform their beautiful drum and folk dance routines.
And a highlight of those performances was the Shishi-Mai (lion dance)!
We also saw a karate demonstration:
I was amazed by the crowds at the Garden. Everywhere we went, whether at the demonstrations, shopping in the market, or at the food tents, there were masses of people, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as we were!
This is a huge event. I had no idea there would be so many things to see, and yet we didn’t get to see even close to everything! There were also cooking demonstrations, a kimono fashion show, a rakugo performance, gaku music, and a candlelight walk in the Japanese Garden after the sun went down. Hopefully, we’ll get to experience some of those things next year…and we also know to bring more money, so we can try some of the amazing Japanese food that was being prepared in the “food court!”