There's always one thing that makes-up for all the complaints here at my blog, a festival!
Japantown SF is hosting the annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, and it is this weekend and next weekend. The parade happens on Sunday the 19th at approximately 1PM.
There is... live entertainment, from music bands to Taiko drumming, arts and crafts booths, information tables for local community organizations and good causes (for example, bone marrow donor program), games for the kids, and all the great food.
If there's only one reason why you go to Cherry Blossom, it's THE FOOD. And why?
- Made by hard working volunteers, many who have done it for over 10 years, and some for over 30. I've volunteered for over ten years.
- Each booth is operated by a community non-profit organization. You know that your money is going to good causes, instead of for-profit corporations at many other festivals in the city.
- Each booth doesn't compete against each other. There's no two teriyaki chicken booths, so everyone gets a fair shot at raising money.
- Legendary food items that have been served at Cherry Blossom for decades. From Kimochi's Teriburgers to Konko Church's Imagawa Yaki (sweet been paste filled sandwiches); people tell me they always come back for their annual "fix."
Tips for all you J-Town visitors during the festival weekends:
- Leave the car at home and TAKE THE BUS. If you think you'll find free street parking or a space in the Japantown parking lot, nope! The 38-Geary, 38L-Geary Limited, 2-Clement, 3-Jackson, and 4-Sutter serves Japantown.
- Going to the parade? Bring your lawn chair and get a great view early in the morning. The SFPD are not putting up the metal barricades anymore, just a yellow colored rope wrapped around each meter.
- To beat the parade crowds, find a nice spot away from Japantown. Any location on the route between Civic Center and Post/Laguna is much less crowded.
- The food is great, but try to get your food during the non-peak hours. Peak hours are usually from 11:30 to 1PM (the lunch crowd). During the parade day, shorter lines are during the parade. And please, buy more than one item, you'll like it so much, you'll regret going back in line to get another.
- Bring a friend, and/or your family! It's always nice to see smiling people walking around J-Town.