By Elena Encarnacion
On April 13th, I had the pleasure of attending the Sakura Matsuri with the rest of my classmates. I was excited since I’d never been to the festival and had no idea what to expect. My shift began at noon, so I got to the booth around two minutes prior to that. Things were relatively easy once Sally explained what exactly was going on. I started off by running the “Learn to write your name in Katakana” part of the booth. It was simple and fun, but I occasionally had to check with Eshita sensei when I was unsure about whether or not a name had a long vowel.
As the day progressed and less people came to that side, I eventually moved over to the side where people were working on the quilt. We decided to create a quilt and have everyone draw something on a square using the prompt “Japan in my ❤️”. Watching people create these was my favorite part of the booth because everyone seemed so passionate about it. There were people that sat drawing for over 45 minutes! This activity became so popular that we eventually had to use both of the side tables for the quilt activity. It was nice to see everyone pour their love/appreciation for Japan into beautiful art pieces. Even little kids participated!
Once my first shift ended at 2PM, I met up with a friend who was also at the festival. We walked down to get some food (we had chicken on a stick, funnel cake, and I had a manga lemonade). The food area of the market was packed and most places had a long line. The food was delicious, but having to be on our feet for a while made us tired. We walked back to the Globalize DC booth and ate while chatting.
Once it hit 4PM, I was ready for my last shift. This shift was a lot more tame compared to my first one. We had less people coming, so I actually sat down for a while. As people came over and listened to what Japanese programs we offered, I was surprised at how many people were interested, but knew students that didn’t fit the age group. It’d be nice if there was also a program for younger students to learn Japanese. At the end of my shift, we started packing everything up as well as stacking up the tables and chairs. Since we were done, this was our time to relax and talk with some of our classmates about how our days went. Everyone seemed to enjoy their time at the festival, myself included. I look forward to attending it again some day 🌸.