Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival 2015

Seattle's 40th Annual Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival took place April 24th through 26th at Seattle Center. I attended April 25th and spent the day immersed in cultural arts and performances.

Tea Ceremony by Tanko Kai

Masaye Okano Sosei Nakagawa provided narration as the tea ceremony took place, explaining the movements and sharing unique facts.  The host (Teishu) was Haruko Nagai and the guest (Kyaku/Shokyaku) was Jennifer Altman.

Before the ceremony, the guest takes a moment to admire the tokonoma which traditionally displays a scroll and flower arrangement.  The scroll for this demonstration translates to "In this silence, we are together." and the flower was Clematis.

While matching themes or materials are generally avoided, they can appear for special events like this where three tools used in the tea ceremony had a cherry theme, including a bamboo chashaku (tea scoop) that was covered in cherry bark.

I was surprised to learn that nijiriguchi, the short tea room doorway that must be entered by kneeling, is only used in 4 1/2 mat or smaller tea rooms.

The audience was treated to the same matcha used in the tea ceremony, Joraku from My Green Tea.

Uguisu Chorus

Uguisu-kai performed several beautiful songs as well as a traditional dance.

Okinawa Music and Dance

Okinawa Kenjin Kai and guests treated us to a lively taiko performance along with traditional Okinawan dance, song, and music performed on sanshin.

Fujima Ensemble

The day's events ended with a lively traditional dance and music performance.

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