A weekend filled with Japanese goodness.

On Saturday I went to a quilt show with Snorth and her mom (because the way I am not really focused on the fiber arts, Snorth is, with the crocheting and the tapestry and the quilting) and I was really, really good and didn’t buy any fabrics that are pretty but that I would never use, ever. They would just sit in my apartment and gather dust, prettily. I did, however, learn more about the art form Sashiko, which is a kind of Japanese quilting that I have loved for quite some time but didn’t know much about. Wikipedia describes it nicely.

Sashiko (????, literally “little stabs”) is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan. Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear, or to repair worn places or tears with patches, this running stitch technique is often used for purely decorative purposes in quilting indigo blue cloth gives sashiko its distinctive appearance, though decorative items sometimes use red thread.

Here are some pictures of it from Flickr. I love geometric designs, especially hexagons, so this totally appeals to me.

Then, on Sunday I went to the Cherry Blossom Festival. There’s a park right next to my house, and every year in the first weekend in May, the large Japanese community in White Plains has this festival, with bands and food and cultural booths, etc. One of the things I like best about living in White Plains is the diversity. From what I can see, there is a large Asian contigent (Japanese, Chinese and Korean). There’s also quite a few black people who speak french (either from Haiti or the Ivory Coast or some place like that), and a ton of Hispanics, mostly Mexican. It is so, so much better than the town I grew up in, Rye (Barbara Bush’s home town!). It was almost all white, and 60% Catholic. No diversity at all. Very dull. Snore.

Anyway, Cherry Blossom Festival. Since the weather was so good, lots of people turned out for it. The park was packed. There was a whole bunch of booths with Japanese activities.

There was a tea ceremony booth, and a booth where you could fight small remote-controlled robots against other small, remote-controlled robots.

Then there was a kawaii band rockin’ it in the far corner.

And in the near corner, on the stage, were drummers. The adults were great, but the kids really took the cake.

And, of course, there was food. The octopus balls booth* had lovely decorations.

And there were lots of people wearing authentic garb.

It’s one of my favorite events in White Plains, and I’m glad I was in town this year to catch it.

*Chopped-up octopus, rolled into balls with batter and deep-fried. Anyone making cephalopod testicle jokes gets a virtual smack from me.

Addendum: Saw this bag on an 11-year-old-girl at the Festival. Only the Japanese could make a purse this cute and this macabre. They have a gift, I tell you.

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