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Spring has finally arrived in St. Louis; celebrate with us at two free events in Forest Park!

2019 Sake and Sakura performance

Celebrating Spring with Two Free Shows in May

After what felt like an especially long winter in the Midwest, spring has finally arrived! To celebrate the arrival of spring, we celebrated according to Japanese custom with hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, at the annual Sake and Sakura event at Missouri Botanical Garden. The cherry trees were just beginning to bud within the Japanese Garden as visitors sampled a variety of beverages to the sounds of the taiko.

Soggy conditions at the gardenAbove: We played Hayate, meaning "Swift Wind," at this year's Sake and Sakura event. Photo by Faith Logsdon.

Right: Rain the prior night didn't dampen our spirits but our equipment left its mark!
 
Our celebrations will continue in May in St. Louis' beloved Forest Park. May is designated Asian and Pacific Islander's month, paying tribute to the generations of Asians and Pacific Islanders who have enriched our country's history, and the Japan America Society of St. Louis has partnered with the Missouri History Museum and the St. Louis Art Museum to provide two free events honoring Japanese heritage.

Sunday, May 5 we will be at the Missouri History Museum for the seventh annual Celebration of Japanese Culture event. The event begins at 11:00 AM with a shishimai, or lion dance, performance. Activities continue into the afternoon, with calligraphy and Ikebana (flower arranging) demonstrations, tea ceremony, kimono displays, an introduction to zen meditation, and storytelling. Families can also enjoy a presentation honoring Children's Day, a national holiday in Japan. Check out the complete schedule of events and spend the afternoon at the museum!



Following the History Museum, we will be at the St. Louis Art Museum on Sunday, May 19 for the annual Passport to Japan event. The event takes place from 1:00 to 4:00 PM; highlights include a traditional bon dance, the delicate art of origami, and a taiko performance at the Grace Taylor Broughton Sculpture Garden at 1:30.
*Taiko will be moved to the auditorium in the event of inclement weather.

We hope to see you next month in Forest Park!

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Celebrate Mom with AmazonSmile

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 12. If you're shopping for your wife, mother, grandmother, or any important mom in your life, please consider shopping on AmazonSmile where your purchase can also support St. Louis Osuwa Taiko. Simply visit AmazonSmile and select St. Louis Osuwa Taiko as your preferred organization, and the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to our group, which helps us to maintain our studio, equipment and costumes. Thank you for your support!
Katie (left) and Natsuki (right) perform Sakura

Song Profile: Sakura, Sakura

Traditional, arr. St. Louis Osuwa Taiko

"Sakura" means cherry blossoms and in Japan is the symbolic flower of spring, a time of renewal and the fleeting nature of life. The song Sakura, Sakura (or simply, Sakura) is a popular song at this time of year and is frequently played around the world as a representative song of Japan. 

While most of our performing members were familiar with the tune, it took some encouragement from member Natsuki Kobayashi to learn the piece and incorporate it into our repertoire for this year’s Sake and Sakura event. Natsuki notes that we perform plenty of original pieces, but not a lot of traditional music, and she was eager to introduce some popular folk songs from her home in Japan. Natsuki chose Sakura for its seasonal importance and arranged a fue duet to incorporate the harmonies she first learned as a child. 

Natsuki notes it was quite a challenge, but she had a great partner with fellow member Katie Lee as they prepared the piece in time for our spring events. We’re so excited that they both took the challenge and we can now perform this beautiful piece!
 

Children's Day

May 5th marks the Japanese holiday known as Kodomo no Hi, or Children's Day. Children's Day is the final day of a series of four holidays collectively known as Golden Week, and it is a time for families to join together to wish health, happiness and prosperity upon their children. The day is marked with a number of unique traditions, each symbolizing these wishes.

Outside, families fly carp-shaped streamers called koinobori to bring luck and good fortune to their children. The carp (koi) is honored for its strength and perseverance due to its tendency to swim upstream and even through waterfalls. Flying the koinobori symbolizes the wish for children to grow up with strength of character.

Inside the home, families may also display dolls of famous warriors and other heroes as another symbolic gesture to bring bravery and strength to children.

Children also eat delicious treats called kashiwa-mochi. These are traditional mochi, filled with sweet red bean paste and wrapped in oak leaves, another important symbol of strength, good luck, and prosperity.
We are a non-profit group that performs the art of taiko around the St. Louis area and the world.
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10734 Trenton Ave. | St. Louis, MO 63132
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St. Louis Osuwa Taiko · 10734 Trenton Ave. · St. Louis, MO 63132 · USA

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