Sakura Matsuri: Japanese Culture Celebrated in New York

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Japanese culture has become a popular fascination among young people all over the world. Some are more interested in historical aspects involving the way of honorable samurai, the matriarchal society of geishas, and the art of tea ceremonies. Other young people are more enthralled by Japan’s popular aspects in anime and manga, street fashion, and music. This fascination is openly celebrated several times during the year in the form of events and conventions. One of the most popular and beautifully captivating events in New York I’ve been to is ‘Sakura Matsuri’ in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

For seven years I grew up without a brother or sister, so naturally I looked up to my older cousin. She was very interested in Japanese pop culture such as manga and anime, and thus got me into it as well. Once I was old enough to research Japan on my own, I immediately fell in love with Japan’s fashion, art, music, and wanted to learn the language in hopes of one day studying abroad. Today I still have this goal, but unfortunately am not as involved into anime as much as I used to be. Being overwhelmed with school work while trying to find my place in life makes it harder to make time for outside pleasures, but I attempt to attend local events when I can such as Sakura Matsuri.

Dean Street FOO Dance performing a Butoh Dance in the Osborne Garden.
‘Sakura Matsuri’, Japanese for ‘Cherry Blossom Festival’, is celebrated every year in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. This past weekend was my sixth year attending. It’s hard to judge the exact time when the cherry blossom flowers will bloom. Unfortunately, this year’s prediction was a few weeks late. Regardless, the event was tons of fun and a great experience as always. Sakura Matsuri allows me to escape from the stress of reality and immerse myself in a culture so different from my own. It educates those who don’t know much about Japan’s historical traditions, introduces every-day people to the foreign ideas of anime and cosplay, and deepens the connection further for those who are familiar with both sides of the spectrum.

Some of the demonstrations at this years festival included taiko drumming, manga artists, j-pop bands, tea ceremonies, samurai sword fights, a cosplay fashion show, bonsai demonstrations, minbu folk dances, a kid’s workshop, and a puzzle plaza. Sakura Matsuri brings a unique experience to the community by blending aspects from traditional and modern Japan in one, great celebration. I highly encourage anyone to attend.

 

 

Image Credit: Carole L. Teabout

Bianca Teabout was born and raised in the suburbs of New York. She studies Filmmaking, Japanese language, and Visual arts at Sarah Lawrence College. She is interested in all forms of art from storytelling, to drawing, to painting, to sewing, to jewelry making, to music, and more. However, her main focus right now is Animation, a way to combine all her interests into one medium. She is well known for wearing whimsical clothing and a her slight obsession with all things cute and pink.

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