Friday, May 18, 2018


Masses of visitors descend on the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens during the Sakura Matsuri festival, a festival welcoming in spring and honoring the Japanese culture. It's an event it seems most of New York and all its visitors want to attend. I know this for a fact, first the lines were long just getting into the park (I pre-bought a ticket saving me about an hour wait). Then once in you were subjected to more lines especially if you were looking for some food or a port-a-potty.
There was a trick when it came to getting into the very popular Japanese gardens; if you by-passed the main entrance and walked to the back entry into the gardens there was no line. The only crowd you had navigate was the one with all the amateur photographers trying desperately to take selfies with those selfie sticks on a path so tight we were forced to wait until they had finally adjusted the angle, their make-up and snapped the half-a-dozen attempts at being Kim Kardashian.
The great lawns were packed with people spread out on blankets enjoying the tradition of a Japanese picnic with something that looked like an algae encrusted rice ball the size of a navel orange.
Tons of iPhones were out everywhere held in the hands of all those beaming photographers taking pictures of the flowers and all the costumed participants who station themselves in photogenic locations posing for their fifteen minutes of fame.
All this energy was overwhelming especially when combined with the pulsating beat of the Taiko drums coming from the main stage.
What was missing this year was the cherry blossoms. This year's long and I mean long hold winter held over much of the nation has delayed the blossoms bursting out at the normal time to coincide with the festival. The great cherry orchard was only a sea of mostly tightly closed up buds. Last year the festival took place at relatively the same time of year and that year the cherry blossoms were at the end of their lifespan littering the lawn with a blanket of soft pastel petals.
Despite the crowds, lines and missing blossoms Sakura Matsuri is still a magical event.
Seeing the crowds of young people dressed as their favorite cosplay characters of which I have no knowledge but still appreciated is still intriguing.
Watching the sweetlolitas in their ruffled baby doll clothes is as mind-bending as it is beautiful in a very saccharine way
And then there were the beautifully attired people in traditional Japanese costume.
As beautiful as the gardens can be I, obviously, came to people watch and this is what I saw.

Tokyo Tower, 2010
David Stephenson, photographer
Represented by Julie Saul Gallery

No comments:

Post a Comment