Philly Cherry Blossom Festival 2012

We attended the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia (aka Sakura Fest) this past Sunday again this year!

The link for more info: http://sakura.japanphilly.org/

Per tradition, Megan made her beautiful bento boxes and yummy Japanese inspired food. This time I was an assistant to an Iron Chef! We woke up at the crack of dawn (aka 6am) to make the food as fresh as possible and allowing for cooling time.

One of the tasks I was given was to make flower-shaped cucumbers. Megan, who is also a Japanese minor, is writing her final Senior project for her language minor requirements about the “Science of Bento.” She told me that they often use cookie-cutters to make cute shapes with food. There is also a particular meat to veggie ratio and emphasis of color & display in a good bento.

Step 1: First I washed, peeled, and sliced the cucumbers.

Step 2: Center a cookie cutter on top of a slice of cucumber. Push down & pull off excess.

Step 3: Viola! An adorable flower shape!

Here is the bento all tied up, along side some extra food and fried plantains!

After meeting up with some more friends, we took the earliest shuttle down to the Horicultural Center by Fairmount Park. With ticket and transportation, it was only $20 plus a SEPTA token! When we arrived at the festival, the first thing we did was take a tour of the Japanese house.

Our tour guide was fantastic. First of all the rules were “shoes on rock, socks on wood,” therefore we were asked to removed our shoes when we entered the house. Our guide explained how Japanese houses were built to admire & revere nature. The house and garden were not meant to be separate units, as thought of in Western culture, but rather one integrative unit.

The pathway to the tea ceremony area was built purposely rocky so that people would walking carefully and cautiously on the stone slabs. It was really amazing to see how colorful and rich in texture each of the gardens of the Japanese house were.

A unique feature of the house we saw was that it had a tea house and bath house right next to each other. According to our tour guide, this was not a typical house layout, however, for purposes of the exhibit it was built that way.

On the way out of the tour, we saw one of the few cherry blossom trees in full bloom at the park. Sadly, because of the weird weather fluctuations of extreme warm weather followed by a freeze shock, most of the trees had lost their pretty flowers. Last year, we were graced with rows upon rows of pink & white flowered trees. Unfortunately, that was no the case this year. Thanks a lot global warming.

Afterwards, we had a lot of fun looking through the shop booths and getting free stuff!

We also watched many of the events during the festival, such as the kids martial arts demo and the prettiest pet in pink competition.

Of course we also participated in the events they hosted! Some of use made fish kites while others did some calligraphy! Sadly I stained my dress with ink (and it’s stuck there permanently), but nothing horribly noticeable, I think.

Some finished products!

Most importantly, we found a flowering cherry blossom tree (one of the few!) to sit under and have a picnic lunch! We tied our fishes to the tree to claim our territory!

Megan was the main preparer of the food, I helped as an assistant chef, while Kim brought some delish strawberries 🙂

We were so full afterwards! Look at those happy faces 🙂

Eventually, it actually got too hot & sunny to stay in the park (which was the total opposite of the doom and gloom rainy cloudy forecast for the day). We eventually retreated home and decided to end the entire night at a hibachi restaurant (discounted for the festival!). John’s parents and Aniket decided to join along 🙂

‘Twas an excellent Sunday, dubbed MegaDAYUM for the rest of the ages (aka Megan’s Damn Awesome Day).

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