Expanding Horizons at the Cherry Blossom Festival
May 15, 2012
I had the great honor of representing the North Independence Branch at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival at the Sermon Center on Sunday, May 6th. If you aren’t familiar with the Cherry Blossom Festival, you’re not alone! I had heard of it only in passing. Any expectations I had were certainly surpassed by experiencing it first-hand. I learned a great deal about the origins and purpose of the Festival and had the opportunity to experience Japanese culture first-hand. At its core, the Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of the relationship between the sister cities of Independence, Missouri and Higashimurayama, Japan. It promotes understanding and presents a great opportunity to expand your horizons.
Vendors sold kimonos, jewelry, and hand-spun pottery. A variety of Japanese arts were demonstrated. I got the chance to see aikido, one of the most modern martial arts in existence. The word itself means "The way to Harmony through Ki." While Ki has over 30 meanings in Japanese (largely dependent on the context in which it is used), the gist of it here seems to be "life energy." Aikido is a defensive martial art and involves circular motion and muscle relaxation. Practiced regularly, it can lead to an increased sense of calm (and couldn't we all benefit from a bit of that?).
Being in the business of enlightenment, the Library was on hand to pass out bookmarks and flyers outlining the great resources we have to offer Japanophiles everywhere! We displayed some of the manga and anime titles in our collection, highlighted great Online Resources for locating information on a large number of Japanese-specific topics, and spread the word about the anime clubs many branches have created for interested teens. We brought attention to Mango, a language learning software that is free to use with a library card. We even answered some questions about computer literacy classes from people interested in learning to utilize all that we offer digitally.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience. We look forward to returning next year and bringing our constantly growing collection of resources to the community!
North Independence Branch