Saturday and Sunday, June 18th – 19th, 2016, the 44th annual 日本の桜祭り
(Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival) took place at Sakura Square in Denver. There was continuous live entertainment (such as drummers, martial arts, and musicians), food, drink, and desserts such as shaved ice, ramune, gyoza, and teriyaki burgers. I tried all of these delicious Japanese delicacies.
There were also vendors selling arts and crafts, like Sumofish which was selling custom designed t-shirts. Despite the high temperatures, everybody had a good time.
I spoke with Jackie Shimamoto from one of the entertainment groups, the Denver Taiko drummers. They have over 100 performances in and around Colorado every year! They drum on request, or for festivals. Their biggest drum is 75+ pounds, crazy!
Denver Taiko has grown so much they have a Junior Denver Taiko group as well. With 15 adult members and 24 junior members, Denver Taiko is the biggest taiko drumming group in Colorado. They practice inside the Denver Buddhist Temple located right next to Sakura Square. Also inside the Buddhist Temple, an auction and more food and drinks were available.
For 40 years now Denver Taiko has been sharing the Japanese art of taiko drumming in and around Colorado. In fact, they have an upcoming 40th anniversary concert in early October at the University of Denver Neumann Center.
Earlier I mentioned a drink called ramune. This is a unique Japanese soda with a marble in the upper part of the glass, stopping the drink from spilling if you turn it upside down. There are many flavors including original, grape strawberry, orange, and melon. You press down on the marble with the opening device and the marble pops down inward (don’t worry, it’s clean). I loved drinking ramune anytime of the year.