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Texas State hosts Japanese Sakura Festival cultural expo

Date released: 04/01/04

SAN MARCOS – Martial arts demonstrations, musical performances and traditional foods will highlight the inaugural Sakura Festival, a Japanese cultural expo April 7 at Texas State University-San Marcos.

Open to anyone interested in Japanese culture, the event will be held in the LBJ Student Center ballroom from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Admission cost is $2.

The Sakura Festival is sponsored by the Japanese Language and Culture Club, and will feature the Consul-General of the Japanese Consulate in Houston as a special guest. The festival will feature origami (paper folding) demonstrations, shodo (calligraphy), suibokuga (ink painting) and taiko drumming. Daniel Baker, a professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and the owner of 11 world karate titles, will perform demonstrations of breaking, a karate form. A Japanese chorus singing a variety of traditional songs, and Austin Taiko, a musical group specializing in Japanese song and music, will offer entertainment.

Sakura Festivals trace their roots back to ancient Japan, where the cherry blossom was considered to symbolize a life lived to the fullest, no matter how brief. The Sakura Festival is also a reminder of fresh beginnings and the renewal of the spirit that comes with spring. In the United States, the most famous Sakura observance is the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which began with a gift of the 3,000 cherry trees from the city of Tokyo to the people of Washington, D.C., in 1912. Since then, Sakura festivals have spread to such cities as Seattle, Detroit, San Francisco, Brooklyn, and now, San Marcos.