Miyazu festival's tasty attraction
Traditional treats at Japanese celebrationSALLY KIDSON
Nelson's long-running Cherry Blossom Festival which celebrates Japanese culture is back this Sunday.
The annual event is timed to coincide with the blooming of the delicate blossom in Nelson's Miyazu Park.
This year the Nelson Japanese Society will also put on demonstration of making sticky rice cake or mochitsuki at the festival.
Mochi, or pounded rice cake, is traditionally eaten at New Year which is in the dark depths of winter in Japan.
Yumiko Uda said the group had decided to do something different this year.
It usually held demonstrations of the Tea Ceremony at the annual event.
Yumiko said that though tea ceremony was a famous part of Japanese culture it was quite a reserved and polite event.
The group had decided it would be a good idea to try the mochi making because it was more casual, more energetic and more like an event that would be held at a Japanese festival.She said it was fun and a bit more like a performance. There was a mochitsuki demonstration at the first Nelson Japan festival in 1997. Yumiko said there would also be a chance for the public to sample mochi.
The 12th Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates 37 years of sister city friendship with Miyazu, Japan.
It is organised by Nelson Miyazu Sister City Association and Nelson Japanese Society. Dan Tipping will MC the event.
Nelson Japanese Society president Yukiyasu Uda said those who wanted to experience Japanese culture and food should come along. It would also be a chance to hopefully enjoy the cherry blossom, which was in full bloom at last year's event.
There would be a number of different food stalls at the event.
Numbers attending the event continued to grow and last year between 2000 to 3000 people attended.
Yukiyasu said there were about 200 people registered in the Nelson Japanese Society, but there were more Japanese people living in the region.
The blooming of the cherry blossom is an important event in Japan and eagerly anticipated each year, with updates on its arrival and spread up the Japanese archipelago broadcast with nightly forecasts on TV.
People meet and hold gatherings and picnics under the cherry blossom, or sakura, called cherry blossom viewing parties or hanami.
The festival runs from 11.30am to 2pm at Nelson's Miyazu Park on Atawhai Drive.
A number of different events are planned for the Nelson Cherry Blossom Festival:
11:30am: The festival opens with a performance by Rai Jin Taiko Drummers and speech by Mayor Aldo Miccio. The drummers will perform until noon.
Noon: Akiko Miyamoto and Roger Sanders will present a puppet show of a traditional Japanese folktale- Momotaro, Peach Boy. This is followed by Mochitsuki, pounding the rice
12:40pm: the public can watch the Kendo club Shoshin Kendo carry out a display of sparring with bamboo swords.
1pm: Akiko Crowther, Master Calligrapher and students present Big Brush Calligraphy.
1:15pm: Seido Karate will undertake their annual demonstration, which festival organisers say is their only public display. After the karate demonstration the Rai Jin Drummers will close the performance part of the festival with a repeat of their earlier items.
- © Fairfax NZ News