Sunday, March 8, 2009

Haru Matsuri

It's spring???!


Well, apparently so! And we'll take it around here, any which way we can.

Which is one of many reasons I was absolutely delighted that the girlies and I were able to attend the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre's annual "Haru Matsuri": a Spring Festival, during which the doors of their beautiful and culturally rich building are flung open to the public, and we are all treated to the very finest art, food, dance and music that their country has to offer.

Child Number Two has been studying Japan in her Social Studies class, and has been absolutely fascinated... we have read everything we can get our hands on, from "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes" to a sweet little novel from my childhood, entitled "Miss Happiness and Miss Flower". We have watched hours and hours of Youtube videos, depicting traditional music, dance, puppetry, theatrical performances, tea ceremonies, and weddings.


But nothing-- and I mean NOTHING-- has been as enriching an experience as was our day at the Spring Festival.


These lovely young ladies met us at the door...


Followed by these little people in their pretty kimonos. Which made us wonder... Would we be fortunate enough to be allowed to try on some of these beautiful traditional costumes?

The answer was, of course, YES.
And Child Number Two couldn't WAIT to be the first to get dressed.


I asked zillions of questions, particularly as the obi was being tied in a rather intricately knotted bow...



And then, it was my turn. The kimono chosen for me was of pale green silk, patterned with enormous butterflies. The embroidered obi was so heavy in weight, it took nearly ten minutes with two ladies pulling it tightly, and twisting it around, to arrange the knot properly. When they were done, however, it was a sight to behold...


The eldest girlie was being dressed in a tangerine-coloured kimono dotted with little flowers in a rainbow of colours, when Wee Three suddenly decided to get into the "game"...


And as she was being dressed, the older girls received a lesson in origami-- an amazing paper-folding technique that we have actually been practising for several years. It was quite an honour for them to be taught by a professional, however, rather than learning designs from illustrations in a book...


And then, it was time to start looking at all the exhibits.



One of the most amazing sights was a beautiful display of little dolls, depicting a village market by the sea...


We could have stood and gazed at this for hours. But there was much more to be seen. Dancers, musicians, and artists showing their creations...



Even QUILTS! This striking wall hanging was my favourite.



The girlies watched this gentleman paint lovely scenes and flowers with beautiful bamboo brushes and different colours of ink...



And when I was finally able to tear them away, there were more doll displays to be viewed.

We finished up the day by visiting the food court, and purchased special Japanese noodles for our supper. When we asked how we should prepare the noodles, the kind salesman wrote down an entire recipe for us, and said it was a traditional dish that his mother used to prepare for him.

It was, of course, delicious.

Yes, the wind may be howling out there, and sleet may be rattling against my window, but after a day like this, I've got spring in my heart.




And that's what really matters most, after all.

3 comments:

merinz said...

What an amazing day you had! And how wonderful to be able to participate in the activities. All the colours are so vibrant!

painted maypole said...

beautiful. i bet as a costumer this was particularly fascinating!

Nan said...

Woooow! I want to come too! I love the designs from that part of the world, and have always been fascinated by the way the obis and the kimonos have to "clash" design-wise. It's wonderful! I am so jealous.

 
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