Sakura Festival Celebrates Spring and Sister Cities

Photos by Midori Davis/Indy

Spring is in full bloom as over 100 gifted Shirofugen cherry trees blossom on Clark’s main campus during the annual Sakura Festival.

Clark College, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Rotary celebrated over 25 years of friendship between sister cities Vancouver and Joyo, Japan. These two became sister cities on Oct. 30, 1995. 2020 marked the 25th anniversary of friendship. 

After its cancelation in 2020, this year’s Sakura Festival was held virtually over Zoom with an hour-long ceremony and interactive breakout rooms on Thursday. 

Artists in both Vancouver and Joyo presented artwork during the event. Watercolor paintings of tulips and koi fish, origami animals and calligraphy sets were featured. These art pieces will be on display at The Clark College Children and Family Center. 

The Children’s Center put together a video sharing their own Joyo-inspired artwork. Children smiled as they held up their cherry blossom tree art pieces. 

Along with artwork, the event also included traditional Japanese music from performers in both Vancouver and Joyo. 

The Japanese Club at Clark College performed a song called “Sakura Sake” by Arashi.
They sang about how spring is coming and how individuals must move on in their lives.

Okubo, a performer from Joyo, presented a video of himself playing the Biwa, which is a Japanese string instrument. 

After the ceremony concluded, participants had the option to visit informational breakout rooms. They could choose from cookie demonstrations, sushi demonstrations, ikebana (flower arrangements), manga artwork, furoshiki (cloth wrapping) and a tea ceremony. 

Clark College President Karin Edwards expressed her gratitude for the friendship and gifted trees.

“These trees remind us to enjoy each day and live life to the fullest. Most importantly, it reminds us of our friendship with Joyo, Japan,” said President Edwards.

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