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Heyhey In Rockers and Welcome to my first column of the ReiWa Era and the Cherry Blossom fairy filled world of Robby’s Lobby for this month! I live here in the states with my wife Miyoko, a native of Tokyo and our daughter Hana and we’re often involved with events put on in conjunction with the small but growing Japanese Community here in my hometown of Buffalo, NY.

This month we are unbelievably busy leading up to an event we help to coordinate with my Music is Art organization to help bring a day of programming featuring Japanese music, art, dance and culture to the people of our city as The Cherry Blossoms bloom and Spring is finally here for everyone to enjoy! Music is Art Partners with The Buffalo History Museum, The Friends of the Japanese Garden, The Japanese Group of Buffalo and The Olmsted Parks System to make this event happen, this being our 6th Annual event.

The Japanese Garden was built in the 1970s outside the Greek columns of The Buffalo History Museum (the building and grounds were built in 1901 for The Pan American Exposition in Buffalo) on a beautiful mirror lake as a gift from Buffalo’s sister city of Kanazawa. Since then many trees have been donated and planted through the years and it’s a truly beautiful place when the blossoms are in bloom. The garden is maintained through donations and grants and is maintained by the Olmsted parks service and local volunteers, as a matter of fact my friend Al and I joined a whole crew of folks last weekend cleaning up the Garden for the celebration!

Unlike Sakura Matsuri in Japan, which occurs as soon as the blossoms come out, in the US we schedule the Cherry Blossom Festivals dates in advance and hope all year that nature will help us out with some great blossoms for our event. Last year’s timing was great in Buffalo, with sunny weather and beautiful blossoms for everyone to enjoy in the Japanese Garden. The festival runs for a full week with Kimono Shows, Cocktail Fundraisers, Pop Up Tea Ceremonies and Japanese film features throughout the week. We help with the music event, which happens on May 4tha and 5th, the last 2 days of the festival.

There are 3 Japanese acts from my indie label Good Charamel Record playing both days; DJ Sashimi, The Molice who are living in Buffalo and also Tokyo’s Pinky Doodle Poodle, who has been basing their band out of Athens GS for the past year. They are all performing both days along with the locally based JGB Shibuki Taiko Group, Odori No Kai Japanese Dancers, The Japanese Group of Buffalo Chorus, The University of Buffalo Kendo Club and a variety of DJs, painters and street musicians/performers to round out the day. My daughter goes to a Japanese school in the US and her school choir “The Buffalo Nihongo Club Children’s Chorus” will also be performing “Sukiyaki” onstage! As a matter of fact, a Japanese exchange student taught my daughter’s first grade class last year and his band “Heisei Spirit” will be playing some songs as well!

Throughout the weekend there’s Pink Boat Rides through the mirror lake, a crane dance performance, a performance by a world champion Kendama Champion and the event closes with a Pink Parade with all of the Children and participants taking one more stroll around the Cherry Blossom Trees. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun too, we’re looking forward to a great event, I’ll let u know how it goes!

All 3 of the Good Charamel bands are also performing at The Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri the weekend before as well! The Molice and DJ Sashimi have done the event before and this will be Pinky Doodle Poodle fist time at the event. I’ve performed along w/ Sashimi on my Shamisen, and if all goes as panned I’ll be doing it again this year! Yikes! Speaking of that, I think I think I should go to practice more right now!!!!

Thanks so much for stopping in, looking forward to seeing chatting with you next month here in The Lobby ….. OK ……. Sakura ,Sakura …… 1234 ……….


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