by Nicholas Runyon – Staff Reporter
The Kent School District’s 20th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival is a KSD tradition celebrating our connection with Japan, and Japanese culture. This year it’s being held at Kentlake, and 20 years ago when we started the exchange program, the Cherry Blossom Festival was held at Kentlake for the first few years before the district decided to rotate which High School it is held at. The festival includes things like booths, Martial Arts, Demonstrators, Children’s Activities, Talent Show, and Japanese Food for Sale.
The opening ceremony introduced all of the exchange students from all of the KSD’s Sister schools in japan, and talked about the history of the Cherry blossom Festival, and our history with japan the past 20 years. All of the people that were involved (teachers, students, parents, volunteers, etc.) were thanked for their help, and all four of the Japanese Teachers in the district were thanked.
After the opening ceremony was the Talent Show. The Talent Show Had either groups, or single people preforming a Japanese/ Asian related song or dance in the PAC. Students from three of the sister schools also preformed their own songs or dances.
Some specific activities the festival included were Karaoke sponsored by Kentridge, SASUKE (Ninja Warrior) obstacle course, Smash Bros Tournament, and a tea ceremony from Kentlake. Grass Lake elementary had a booth coloring Koinobori (fish-shaped wind socks). from Kentwood; Kendama games, and PuriKura Photo booth. Lastly was a Kentlake, and Kent-Meridian Sponsored a Manga Workshop, teaching people to draw Manga and learn about the manga industry in japan. In the commons, the activities were Calligraphy, Origami, Pottery Demonstrations, and goldfish fishing.
The four exchange students visiting from Kentlake’s sister school Abuno High School in Osaka Japan are all girls, Arisa Aso, Juri Omura, Karen Miyazono, Yuri Yoshida, and their teacher chaperone is Ms. Yasuko Yoshimichi. They will be staying from Thursday March 23 – Thursday March 30.
At the very end of the festival there was a Seattle Matsuri Drum Demonstration. Taiko is Japanese drumming. The group rehearses at the temple, attends area workshops, and performs at the summer Bon Odori festival and at selected events throughout the year. Afterwards, they let anyone come up on stage and try drumming