Campus, News

Sakura Festival Celebrates Return to In-Person Ceremony

(Photo courtesy of Tarek Kanso/Clark College)

This year’s Sakura Festival was back in-person on April 21, and the live performers did not disappoint the audience. 

After two years of holding the Sakura Festival online, almost 100 people came out to appreciate the celebration of Japanese culture. 

Groups like the Takohachi’s Q Ensemble drum group got everyone’s attention. In only a second, the Taiko sound gave vibrance to the entire chamber.

When asked about what the festival was like during the lockdown era, Dr. Karin Edwards said, “It was strange watching talented people perform in little boxes. I like this better, I like seeing real interactions.” 

Dr. Edwards is the president of Clark. She began her tenure two years ago when she was hired into the position. Her sentiments reflected a much greater impression on attendees who were attentive throughout the event. 

Speeches, singing, dancing, martial arts and music captivated the audience during the entire event. 

“This was my first time to participate in such a big event,” said Ami Teramura, a Japanese international student. Teramura, also a performer at the festival, gave a speech during the ceremony in which she told the audience about her future in the school as a representative of the Japanese community. 

As the first days of spring approached, the cherry blossoms provided vibrance and a bright pink flair to Clark campus. For a while, it appeared the festival would not only be in person, but would be outside alongside the cherry blossom trees. 

However, this was not to be, as inclement weather pushed the ceremony indoors. But this change of plans had minimal effect on the festival atmosphere, as Clark communities and outsiders got to enjoy warm Japanese tea and freshly baked cookies before performances.

Inside Gaiser Hall were smiling faces, artful tables that represented a different aspect of Japanese culture, and a long line for delicious tea. 

The entertainment by the Clark Treble Ensemble group, Koto Performance, Taiko drums, and delightful speakers kept the atmosphere lively until the end of the event. 

“Vancouver has had a close relationship with the Japanese people for a very long time now, they actually ship new cherry trees every year,” said Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnery-Ogle during opening remarks. 

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