2010 Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Following record-breaking attendance in 2009, the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia has grown again in 2010, featuring new events and old favorites now through April 17.
The 2010 Festival offers visitors numerous opportunities to explore and experience the culture of Japan, from traditional arts and cuisine to delicate crafts and awe-inspiring performances. Events take place in venues across the Philadelphia area. Most are free and there is something for every age to enjoy.
The six week celebration begins with Japan Night at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Part of the PMA’s Art after Five series, the evening program invites guests into the dichotomous world of modern Japan. Featuring a live performance by Miho Hatori, former Cibo Matto and Gorillaz member, and gallery tours of Japanese video-installation artist, Tabaimo, viewers will revel in the clash of tradition and modernity as both artists infuse their cutting edge perspectives with Japanese touchstones.
In their debut U.S. tour, the Yamamoto Kyogen Company of Tokyo will perform two plays unique to the Okura School at the University of Pennsylvania. Kyogen, a traditional comic form of theater similar to Noh, has been designated a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Also new in 2010 is Rakugo in English at Villanova University. Rarely heard in other languages, Katsura Kaishi performs this traditional “sit-down” style of comedic story-telling drawing on more than 400 years of history.
Crowd favorite, Tamagawa Taiko Drum and Dance group returns to Philadelphia for a series of free performances at local universities. The relentless energy of thundering drums intermingled with fluid elegant dances borders on sensory overload.
The centerpiece of the Festival is Sakura Sunday, a day of picnicking and performances favored by families in the Delaware Valley. Held at Fairmount Park’s Horticulture Center, Sakura Sunday is a daylong extravaganza of art, food and entertainment. Visitors can enjoy cultural and martial arts demonstrations, sudoku, and live musical performances. Shofuso, a 16th Century Japanese house and garden beloved by Fairmount Park visitors, is also open throughout the day.
The Gala of the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival will be held at the newly renovated Please Touch Museum on April 17. This elegant affair includes kagamibiraki – a sake barrel-breaking ceremony – a tradition in Japan for marking a special occasion or important event. The evening also includes a silent auction and live entertainment provided by long-time Philadelphia group, Crosstown Traffic.
Other Festival highlights include:
• Amateur Sushi Making Contest. After learning the delicate art of sushi making from sushi master Madame Saito, participants test their skills at the Pyramid Club.
• Japanese Story Hours. Librarians read Japanese stories to children at area libraries and select libraries feature a visit by the Japanese Cherry Blossom Queen.
The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia, a project of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, is an initiative to encourage a better understanding of the cultural, social and educational customs of Japan and the United States. The Festival builds on the JASGP commitment to plant and maintain cherry trees in local parks. To date, the JASGP has planted more than 1,000 cherry trees to supplement the 1,600 flowering trees presented by the Japanese government as a gesture of friendship in 1926. Upon completion of its 1,000 tree pledge in 2007, the JASGP has shifted its focus to plantings in community and neighborhood parks to help green and beautify urban communities. Since 2008, Cherry trees have been planted in Clark Park, Franklin Square, and Morris Park.
Please visit the new festival website: www.subarucherryblossom.org.
A complete event listing is available online at the festival website and event information is available by calling 215-790-3810.