Inku
Japan Society of Fairfield County
2012 Sakura Matsuri with Mill River Collaborative

Miz Liz Stiltwalker On Saturday May 5, the Japan Society of Fairfield County held its biggest event ever, the first, of what we hope will become a major annual event, Sakura Matsuri at Mill River Park in Stamford.  This event was only possible because we were able to team up with the Mill River Collaborative.  They are responsible for both redeveloping Mill River Park and producing events to be held in the park.  Fifty five years ago Junzo Nojima started planting cherry trees in the park near his home as a thank you to the community that saw him through the difficult times of World War II. The park is being redeveloped now.  A few of the original Kwanzan cherry trees were spared  and will be joined by __ clones of the original trees as well as __ Yoshino cherry trees and __ cherry trees to create the largest cherry grove in New England.  Our program was MC'ed by Yoshi Amao and Saori Goda.  Vernon Beck gave a brief introduction to the traditions of Sakura Matsuri or Cherry Blossom Festival.  This year is the Centennial of the gift of Cherry Trees to the United States from Japan.  Masakazu Kigure, Consul at the Japanese Consulate in NYC, Milton Puryear, Executive Director of the Mill River Collaborative, and Harry Sakamaki of JSFC opened the event with a traditional Japanese Kagami Wari in which a barrel of sake was broken open.  Our program is listed here:

Stage Performances:
11:30 - 11:40 Opening Ceremony & Sake Barrel Opening
11:40 - 12:00 Karate Demonstration........................Seido Karate
12:00 - 12:20 Shamisen Performance.......................Kicho-Kai
12:30 - 12:50 Dance Performance………………...Samurai Sword Soul Dance
  1:00 -   1:30 Iaido Performance……….................Shidogakuin Iaido
  1:45 -   2:10 Japanese Taiko Performance……….Taiko Masala
  2:15 -   2:35 Aikido Demonstration.......................Aikido of Fairfield County
  2:40 -   3:00 Kendo Demonstration.......................Shidogakuin Kendo

Workshops:
Tea Ceremony at 11:30 - 12:30, 12:50 - 1:45, and 2:10 - 3:00
Kimono Dressing at 11:30 - 1:00 and 1:30 - 3:00
Throughout the day workshops ran continuously for:
Origami, Sumie, Dr. Robot, Water Yo-yo,  Facepainting,
Manga&Anime, and Japan Aid for the Earthquake-Tsunami.

     A stilt performer greeted our guests as they entered from Washington Boulevard and we enjoyed two jugglers, all from "Miz Liz". 
 
     We thank our many members who helped us celebrate Sakura this year, setting up, cleaning up, and handling the logistics.

Stamford Advocate's coverage of Sakura Matsuri
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