My taxes were all filed on time, in case anyone was wondering. I felt grown-up and mature, hitting "file" on the feds and dropping the envelope in the box for the states. I couldn't file the state taxes online because I don't have my estmated gross income from last year (the paper got ruined) and they wouldn't let me file online without it. Useless...
On Sunday, I went with Yami, her mom, brother, sister, and Corey out to Philadelphia's Fairmount Park Horticultural Center. For what, you ask? For Sakura Matsuri! The cherry blossom festival in Philadelphia is the second biggest in the US, and because of it, traffic on the Schukyll was backed up for six miles. The Mayor, who was supposed to make the opening remarks at the opening ceremony, was stuck in traffic most of the morning and did not make it in time for his speech. Oh well.
It was a lovely day, even though the clouds kept hiding the sun. It was really windy, though, and the flower petals were falling off the trees like snow. So pretty. I got a bunch of pictures of the trees that I will share with you. Unfortunately, I'm short and the tall people at the festival seemed to all stand in front of ME, so I didn't get any good shots of the taiko drummers or the dancers. Yami's mom is burning me a cd of the pictures she got, though, so I'll share them as soon as I get them.
This is the Shofuso tea house that is about a five minute walk from the horticultural center. They were only doing tours of about 30 people every 20 minutes, so we opted not to go, seing as how we knew most of what they were going to tell us about the tea house anyway. Yami wants to have her 21st birthday there. I quite agree. The garden, which this is a picture of, is stunning in the spring. To look at it from the tea house (which is that building in the back) is amazing. Granted, when I went last year it was pouring rain, but it was still really pretty. We saw a koi in the water that must have been almost two feet long. Yami and I wanted to catch it and keep it as a pet.
And here is one of the biggest sakura trees I have ever seen. The picture doesn't do it justice, really, but it was a very pretty shade of pink. Did you know? There was a legend about a hundred years ago in Japan (that is laughed at now, really, but whatever) that cherry blossom trees got their pink color from bodies buried underneath them. As the roots dug deeper into the ground, they'd drink the blood from the body, and it would turn the white flowers pink.
And here's another picture of the cherry blossoms. This is the tree we were standing under watching (what I could see of) the drummers. They were amazing, as always. After the men did their drumming thing, the women came up and did a dance (they were all very pretty). And then came the kids. Oh my goodness. They were so cute! All the little girls had on red kimono patterned with sakura flowers, and the boys were all wearing dark blue. But the all had the same happi coats on, with what I think was the character "matsuri", or "festival." I couldn't see well, so I could be wrong. They all had branches of cherry blossoms and were swishing them around, and hopping in little circles and were, in general, being ADORABLE LITTLE KIDS. Shortly after that, people got up to make speeches, and so Yami, her mom, and I cut out to hit the bathrooms. We waited in line about ten minutes and got back in time to see the girls doing some drumming. When men do taiko, it looks very masculine and awesome. When girls do it, it looks adorably feminine and elegant. I can't tell if the difference is in the way they drum, or in the beat that they're actually making. Eh. It's cool either way.
In other news, I'm on a quest for some really cute red, pink, and/or sky blue sock yarn. Preferably machine washable. My penpal Ji-hye took her TOEIC test and did very well, so I'm going to knit her a pair of monkey socks as congratulations. Red, pink, and sky blue are her favorite colors. I'll check out the yarn store on Saturday when mom and I go to get our pictures taken for Franklin's 1,000 Knitters Project. If that fails me, I'm sure it won't take much to convince my mom to come with me to a yarn store somewhere and help me hunt.
That's all from me for now.
Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.
Saraspunda is now paid for and ours.