April is always such a busy month for me….I think it’s mainly because my birthday is in April, so I’m always doing stuff for that, plus it finally starts to get warm again around that time, so shoots begin cropping up….and the privateer festival of course….and there’s also the annual national cherry blossom festival (or sakura matsuri if you will) in DC. When I went through my archives I saw to my dismay that I didn’t even cover the festival the last time I went, though I did cover when I went to DC to view the blossoms in peak bloom only a week or so prior. Last time I went, in 2013, my crew spent a good chunk of time down by the tidal basin and by the trees themselves, which though they were past the peak, they still had a lot of lovely blossoms.
I got a lot of attention for my yukata that year; several Japanese tourists asked for pictures with me which was kind of fun, and I even got featured on NHK’s facebook after they saw me in my outfit and pulled me aside for pictures.
This year was a bit different. The peak bloom and the actual date of the street festival happened to line up just about perfectly, and it was a gorgeous day. The crowds were the largest that I have ever seen them, but yet the festival is still only restricted to the same few blocks. I also felt like a lot of the more Japanese traditional type merchandise was not as prevalent as it was in past years, same for the food. I honestly felt a little disappointed to see some of the more traditional fare seemed to be fading away and replaced kitsch pop culture stands which all seemed to sell the same thing. I like anime and manga as much as the next otaku, but it honestly seemed like multiple stands in a row all had the exact same stuff.
One thing I was excited about is that there was a Beard Papa stand at the festival! I love Beard Papa intensely; I was first accquainted with them while I lived in Japan, and would on occasion pick up some of their delectable cream puffs for a sweet treat. ^_^ Unfortunately the cream puffs at the festival were so popular the booth sold out by mid-afternoon, but the good news is a Beard Papa location is coming to DC! Hooray!!!!
I’m totally going when they open.
The crowds were a constant struggle, but it was to be expected with it being such a gorgeous day. The throngs of people were so much that we didn’t even eat at the festival this year…not necessarily a bad thing, because we ended up at Sei Sushi Restaurant and Lounge Downtown and it was AMAZING. Every single bit of it was delicious and beautiful. The dessert was so yummy, we dove right into it and I didn’t even remember to photograph it for this entry!
So visiting Sei is definitely not a decision I regret and want an excuse to go back….but I will tell you that walking around DC all day in a yukata and zori is certainly tougher than one would imagine. My feet were absolutely KILLING ME by the end of the night. But I got to see a lot of friends, and even ran into a few I hadn’t expected to see, so it was a great day.
If nothing else, I am glad I went, if just to capture this shot of the Washington monument with the blooms…..
One of these years, I really do need to check out the actual shows with more than just a passing glance. I also was informed there is a fashion show which I amazingly somehow never heard about before, so that would be cool to look into.
Until next time…..