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haru matsuri

Haru Matsuri is a tradition in the Japanese-American farming community, celebrating the arrival of spring and the blossoming of the fruit tree orchards. Sunday was the 41st annual Haru Matsuri festival held in Morgan Hill, with lots of traditional foods, arts & crafts, martial arts exhibitions, and (my favorite part) the Northern California Taiko Exposition.

Taiko is a very high-energy drumming, dancing, drumming, shouting, drumming, … you get the picture :-) … musical form. Thirteen different local Bay area taiko groups performed on two stages throughout the day. As the local paper put it, “No two taiko groups are alike in their costumes, choreography, or musical drum pieces.”

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The Emeryville Taiko group (below) dedicated their last piece to the American side of their Japanese-American heritage by wearing western vests and cowboy hats, singing “Happy Trails”, with their youngest member dancing in a cactus costume :-)

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On the other extreme, the Akebono Kotoburi Minyo group, dressed in traditioanl kimonos, played the koto (Japanese zither). Koto music is definitely an “acquired” taste, at least for midwestern ears like mine :-) but I found it fascinating to watch.

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