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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Oshogatsu in Olympia

Pine tree bonsaiI popped in on the second annual Oshogatsu --  Japanese New Year's festival at the downtown Olympia Center on Saturday January 26. Display tables, including one from the the Japanese consulate, and another from the the Olympia Bonsai Club lined the entranceMichael from the Japanese consulate updated me on some of Tokyo's newest neighborhoods allowing me to revisited some memories of living in Japan over thirty-five many years ago.

A bright red arched bridge marked the entrance into the main hall where Japanese dancers, musicians and martial arts masters performed. Food vendors sold snacks. A stocky man  used a machete to hack coconuts shaping them into self-contained natural juice containers.

A mini-museum exhibited a variety of artifacts including geta - wooden platform shoes and childrens' zori. A gallery room displayed artwork and Japanese-style crafts by local artisans.

A highlight of this year's event was the planting of seven sakura, cherry blossom,  trees that were sent to Olympia from Washington D.C. One hundred years ago Japan gave  thousands of sakura to the U.S as a sign of friendship.

Waiting their turn

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