April 19, 2012

Washington DC vacation

Wow, where to start?
I just got back from a whirlwind vacation in DC. We went crazy trying to see a whole bunch of very cool places in only 3-1/2 days! There was much riding of public transportation- and walking. So much walking that my feet hurt after day two and especially after wearing zori for about 6 hours on Saturday. I now need a vacation from my vacation!


But I did manage to go the Japanese street festival that was part of the month-long Cherry Blossom Festival. This year was the centennial celebration. I even managed to meet a few members of the Immortal Geisha website!
The only disappointment was that the famous flowering cherry trees had bloomed early this year...around March 25th. So I didn't see any blooms around the tidal basin. I did see some trees near Cleveland Park the next day, so sorry about the lack of photos of kimono + cherry trees.

On my way to Sakura Matsuri!





To Sakura Matsuri, I wore the same periwinkle and cream vintage hitoe I wore in Phoenix a couple of months ago since the weather was supposed to be sunny and warm and it did not disappoint. I started out wearing a vintage violet shibori haori in the morning but had to take it off after only about an hour or so since it became rather warm quickly. It was bright and sunny day and with all of the pavement of the street fair, it warmed up fast! Plus there was some serious humidity I was not used to.

Dancers from Japan
Sake in a plastic cup


The matsuri was fun but very crowded, so it was difficult to get to see everything on each of the four stages. There was a distinct lack of shade, so we ended up going to the beer & sake garden just to be in the shade; but there were only six chairs! We did finally get to sit for a while and cool off with an adult beverage.
Still looking for a pale yellow or cream juban!















Besides a cute cherry blossom t-shirt and tote bag, I did manage to fine a lovely silk hitoe hakata obi at Kyoto Kimono's booth! I have a feeling this obi will see a lot of use.



Tulips in a bed of fallen cherry blossoms
Despite lack of cherry blossoms, there were many other gorgeous flowers in gardens everywhere we went. Dogwood trees, azaleas, wisteria, tree peony, tulips, and pansies seemed to be everywhere! What a treat for someone that lives in the desert.
Azaleas and hostas

White tree peony

A couple of other notable things I saw on the trip was some fabulous Japanese art: a stunning show of Katsushika Hokusai's Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji at the Sackler Gallery. All 46 woodblock prints in the series are on display, so it's really an unprecedented showing. I was absolutely speechless after I saw Under the Wave off Kanagawa. The exhibit runs through June 17th, so if you are in the area, do go; you will not be disappointed.






The other art show not to be missed is Colorful Realm: Japanese Bird-and-Flower Paintings by Itō Jakuchū at the National Gallery. This is the first time all thirty scrolls have been seen in the United States. The scrolls are so exquisitely painted and designed, the work really leaves an emotional impact on the viewer. The painted birds look alive!

I'm still processing all of the artwork I saw in DC...if you love art museums, it's a fabulous and beautiful city to visit in the spring! 
~Reb


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