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Cherry Blossom Festival

20th April 2003



"More than 150,000 people will attend the 35th anniversary of the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival on the weekends of April 12-13 and April 19-20". Well, dunno how true was that but we had a good crowd today. "The Cherry Blossom Festival showcased traditional Japanese arts with continuous demonstrations of, among others, tea ceremonies, martial arts, taiko drumming, and traditional dancing on an outdoor stage in the Japan Center". We missed the outdoor stage though.

There were also parades, Asian food kiosks, and live music. The grand parade began at 1pm, starting at the Civic Center, and proceeded down Post Street in Japantown. The parade featured the Mikoshi, or portable shrine, dancers in kimonos and traditional musicians. This year’s grand marshals were Osaka Mayor Takafumi Isomura and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

The irony was that there were no beautiful cherry blossom trees for us to see! Perhaps we did not go to the tea garden where there were a couple of cherry blossom trees. But the festival and parade were enough. Enjoy the pictures!

Japan Airlines float

Drummers preparing

Safeway float

Asahi Beer float

We saw a line of people at the space in front of the City Hall

The facade of SF City Hall

Nichi Bei Times float

Another drum group

Wow, what a lot of people (mostly kids) in costumes

Halloween?? No, there's a costume contest going on where contestants dress themselves up usually as anime characters or video game characters

Rahul's friend, Rahul and Edric

Me and Edric

A Gundam suit carrying a school bag...

Put down the bag and raises the light saber

The full view of City Hall

Rows of botak trees

Me in front of City Hall

Sitting on the grass patch and taking pictures

Nice costume, her family helping her do up her costume before the photo shoot

A pair of cute bunnies

Sagara Sanosuke from the Rurouni Kenshin anime series

Super Mario!

Female version of C3PO from Star Wars?

A break from the photo shoot, what's going on in the meantime? A group of people have gathered at the main entrance of City Hall

Some female ninja

Another unidentified character

Kid with a sword taller than her...

Here comes the blue-haired one...

Gundam Robot

The costume even has retractable wings, real cool!

Himura Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin anime series

An anniversary banner of a certain Japanese elementary school

The Mayor (the black gentleman with a yellow suit and grey hat) with past and present beauty queens.

Various queens posing for a shot

Mayor with the queens

The drummers start

Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr.

The Mayor of San Francisco

Boy Scouts leading the parade and we followed the parade from City Hall to Japantown...

What's that thing?

That's a biggie

Dancers consisting of senior women

Waving to the people on the sidewalks


Consul General of Japan and his wife


Scout Band

Girl Scouts

Yamano International Beauty Association

It also says Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California

Mini Scouts

Cherry Blossom Festival banner and here we are at Japantown finally after walking from City Hall

A sort of pagoda

The Kendo group

Denny's Japantown San Francisco

Crowded on both sides of the street

Singing band...

This is quite funny, the 2 men in sumo wear were bouncing up and down as the float moved and there were a bunch of men holding them and the float. Other people around the float were splashing water at them...

Ok, float parade is over and let's head for lunch... hungry and it was about 3pm... Some sparse cherry blossom trees outside a Japanese mall

Here we are at Japan Center... had lunch at a Japanese restaurant

And explored the Japan Center after lunch

Some tents and booths outside the mall... and pretty soon, they were packing up to close and we headed home. =)

From left: Edric, John and Jessie who were Olivia's and Eugenia's colleagues, myself and Eugenia. Olivia left early to go church after lunch. Also at Japantown were Rahul, Yusuf, Prem and Akshay, but we split up cos' they already had lunch and they went somewhere else...

Some more pictures from Eugenia's camera:

Eugenia, Olivia, me and Edric

Edric, John, Jesse, me and Eugenia