Monday, March 27, 2017

At the MATSURI Japanese Festival - by Vijaya Schartz

Damsel of the Hawk, standalone in
the Curse of the Lost Isle series
find it HERE
Since 1984, The Arizona Matsuri festival celebrates each winter Japanese culture and heritage, traditional and modern. The two-day event held at Heritage and Science Park in downtown Phoenix features the sights and sounds of Japan, art, crafts, music, dance and much more...

This year, I left my car to avoid parking jams and took the light rail to downtown Phoenix. Since trains are so prominent in Japan, it got me and my friends in the right mood. As if riding the famous Shinkansen minus the speed. Despite its futuristic looks, however, the light rail is no bullet train.

Having lived in Japanese communities in Hawaii and traveled all over Japan, I'm always glad to refresh my memories of the people, the culture, and everything Japanese, including the language.

The crowd came, and we had to make our way through lines of people, especially in front of the food tents.

So many things come from Japan, we tend to forget. From sushi, sake and beer, to anime, cosplay, bonsai trees, kimonos, and martial arts, we have adopted many cultural aspects of Japan. This is what we saw.

Kimonos are always popular. Some of these were real works of art, hand made, in rare silk, and intricately embroidered. Also popular the delicious foods, the tea ceremony, and the big drums. Did you know the ladies used to stick all kinds of implements inside the obi belt of their kimonos. At the festival, I saw many drumsticks sticking out of them.

This is a lovely picture of my friend Sue (on the left) with the group of Japanese folk dancers, getting ready for their appearance on stage. Notice the fans sticking out of the obi belts.

And here is yours truly, flanked by two formidable samurai in full armor. The sun and shadows of the overhead lattice and vines make it difficult to see them in all their splendor.

Of course, there was much more to see and do. I attended a storyteller show about the Shinkansen, introducing all the principal cities of Japan with their tourist attractions and culinary specialties. I also attended several martial arts demonstrations of Kendo, Aikido, Karate, and many others.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this special day.
Who knows, maybe someday I'll write a novel set in Japan, or in a Japanese-like futuristic society.


 Vijaya Schartz
 Romance with a Kick
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