Hanami is the Japanese cultural tradition of viewing and cherishing each moment of the cherry blossom season. Last Saturday, April 4th, JSSL (Japan Studies Students Leaders) held the 1st Annual Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival) on campus to celebrate Japanese culture and the colorful cherry blossoms. It was just a perfect day for welcoming the spring, and to enjoy hanami with the cherry blossoms on campus.
Visitors to the Sakura Matsuri enjoyed a range of performances from traditional Japanese music and dance to concerts by Willamette and TIUA students. We also had taiko drumming, shamisen instrumental music, koto music, origami and calligraphy workshops, and traditional toys and demonstrations of martial arts for all ages. In addition to those performances and workshops, people tasted popular Japanese festival food: onigiri (rice ball), soba noodles and chocolate banana. Also, in order to help people in Salem learn more about Japan, the Salem-Kawagoe Sister City board and JASO (Japan-America Society of Oregon) came as exhibitors, and had a table and promoted their dedication to enhancing mutual understanding between the people of Japan and Salem. Salem and Kawagoe city in Japan entered into this sister-city relationship in order to deepen the understanding and friendship between the two cities through programs in such fields as education and culture. It contributes to the relationship between Willamette University and TIUA (Tokyo International University of America), because TIU is in Kawagoe.
The Matsuri welcomed a number of performers for the first time, including taiko group “Takohachi,” Shamisen player Miwa Holman and her son Minato, and Koto players Miyoko Maeda and Yasuko Fields. Also Miyoko’s husband Makoto displayed traditional Japanese arts and crafts such as kimono, kamishibai, and a fisher flag. Visitors enjoyed their dramatic performances so much. We all would like to thank our guests! We also appreciate CCTV (Capital Community Television) for their support in promotion and recording. They cheered up the Matsuri for sure. We are especially thankful to all the volunteers who helped out. You made the Matsuri happen!
The 1st annual Sakura Matsui was a huge success with all your support. JSSL is hoping that we will be able to hold the Sakura Matsuri in future years. We also wish more and more people could be involved, not only from the Willamette Community, but also from the local community.
We thank you all for coming! See you next year!
Visit website for more information about each institutions.
Willamette University http://www.willamette.edu/
The Salem-Kawagoe Sister City board http://www.cityofsalem.net/CityCouncil/BoardsAndCommissions/Pages/Salem%20Sister%20City%20Advisory%20Commission.aspx
Additional video from Sakura Matsuri. Takohachi’s performance.