For several years, it has been on my mind to attend the Denver Cherry Blossom Festival (aka: Denver Sakura Matsura) but for whatever reasons, I have been unable to do so. This year, armed with a new camera and my friend Marc’s desire to improve his camera skills (which are already pretty impressive IMO), we decided to attend the festival on Sunday. Besides, my new Japanese teacher, Miwa-sensei, is a member of Rocky Mountain Sankyoku, who were playing on Sunday.
We arrived a little early and it wasn’t nearly as crowded as I thought it would be (I’m not sure how crowded Saturday was though). We meandered through the various outdoor tents with the various vendors. I had to stop by the Big Sumo shop and picked up a couple of shirts (I blogged on my web purchase here). The owner was there and remembered talking with me on the phone. He also remembered my anime website, which amazed Marc. I took a good picture, but you’ll have to read the last paragraph to learn what happened to that.
The first event on the stage was the Denver band, which didn’t appeal to me. That’s not a slam on them, but I’m not at a Japanese festival to hear American music, no matter how good. So we ducked into Pacific Mercantile Company (the Japanese grocery store which I’ll blog on it later) because I wanted to show Marc some things. Inside, a Japanese girl in her 20’s was handing out samples of tacoyaki. Since Marc had sworn not to eat octopus, I made sure not to let him know what this was and we tried some. I’ve seen tacoyaki mentioned frequently in anime and manga, so I was keen on trying it. It was OK, but not something I’d be clamoring to have again.
Before we left the store, I made sure they had some melon pan in the freezer because I rather like that and wanted to make sure to get some before we left.
Even though it was lunch time, neither Marc nor I were hungry. I regretted that we’d eaten a late breakfast before coming. That was because inside the temple were all the food vendors selling Japanese foods. Oh well, I’ll know better next year.
Marc and I caught the DBT Dancers and Taiko with Toni and Friends (taiko is pretty cool I have to say). This group consists of four people, including a young teenaged boy who had some mad yo-yo skills. I didn’t know one could improve with taiko, but they did as some members of Denver Taiko got on stage for one piece to jam. That was pretty sweet I have to say. Too bad I couldn’t catch the full Denver Taiko, who played on Saturday. I did pick up their CD though.
I ran into Miwa-sensei and introduced her to Marc (using my limited Japanese skills). We met her American husband and talked for a bit. Marc and I then decided to check out the photo exhibit of local Japanese history which was pretty interesting.
Because it was such a hot day (and I got burned pretty good on my neck and part of one shoulder) Marc and I went under the temple to the beer garden to cool off with some water (you can’t seem to drink enough water on a hot, dry summer day in Colorado). An older Japanese man kept singing on the karaoke machine, performing a combination of Japanese and English songs.
By 2PM, it was time to return to the heat because Miwa-sensei’s group to play. They performed two songs. She’s very skilled at the koto. I felt one of the shakuhachi players should have been better positioned with the mic since at times, the mic couldn’t pick up his playing. I closed my eyes and found the music very relaxing. This kind of music, which is very traditional, isn’t something I’d just want to have playing while at work, but I could certainly listen to it with my eyes closed while trying to relax.
The festival was fun but not as big as I’d hoped. There were a lot of Japanese people around, and hearing some Japanese spoken was pretty cool. Because both Marc and I were tired (working night shift means being up during the day can be tough), we took off after Miwa-sensei was done, after I made a pit-stop to grab my melon pan.
I got home and plugged my CF card into the slot on my monitor. Most of my pictures looked pretty good, and so I went to copy them to the HD where I store images. I accidentally chose “move” rather than “copy” but I thought, “Oh well. As long as I don’t get a BSD, I’ll be OK.” Sadly, that was not the case. The move appeared to be successful in that I could see files apparently being moved to the directory I had established. Unfortunately, the files simply vanished into thin air and because I’d done a move rather than a copy, my CF card was cleaned. I did a search for my files, but alas, nothing. I can’t tell you how frustrating that was as I now have to depend solely on Marc pictures (and thanks to Marc for allowing me to use them). I’m still upset with myself.