Amid Parade, Japanese Culture Abounds

By Gabrielle Headly
UJW Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The National Cherry Blossom Festival was filled with people from all walks of life who came together to partake in the Japanese tradition of hanami.
Hanami is a Japanese custom of enjoying the beauty of spring flowers, usually cherry blossoms.

Many displayed their adoration for Japanese culture in a multitude of ways, from their presence to bearing small accessories like fans.

But a small amount of people proudly displayed their love for the culture in their attire, by wearing traditional Japanese garments.

A majority of these people weren’t in fact Japanese, but either white or African American.

Many, like Anime lover Everett Turner, have been admiring the culture for years.

“I just love the Japanese culture, I’ve been studying the language and everything. This [garment] was a gift, I just decided to wear it, in honor of it [the festival] and to be a little different.” Turner said.

Other blossom enthusiasts have even majored in Japanese studies in college and have spent years studying abroad.
But even after spending years immersed in Japanese culture, there’s something about the blossoms that brings them back.

“The most Japanese part of the day is going to the Tidal Basin and seeing cherry blossoms,” said Michelle Riley, a former Japanese resident. “But unfortunately, we don’t get to drink Sake outside and have a picnic there like in Japan.”

The Cherry Blossom Parade was easily a common ground for all culturists, linguists, and otaku.


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