I'm an old hand at street festivals. Folklife Festival? Standing in line to look at an old dude whittling or demonstrating bird calls. All you have to do is avoid wandering into the Faux Folklife Cult Corral. Adams Morgan Day? Drunk people singing karaoke and buying crafts at two in the afternoon. Crafty Bastards? Just, no.
Saturday, I went to the Cherry Blossom Festival with a group of friends. Cherry Blossom is the end-all-be-all of the DC pseudocultural experience. You can spend a whole day standing around with your friends, making fun of passersby, and then call it an intellectual pursuit. Sign me up!
Like many festivals, you spend most of your time looking at the people who are looking at the stuff, because you're not going to get to the stuff. It's so crowded you could be just about anywhere. So we gawked at all the kids dressed as anime characters, including more dirty schoolgirls than you could shake a frat house Halloween party at. All of the women had gaunt expressions, clompy shoes and high pigtails. Most of the boys were dressed in bathrobes and nattily accessorized with nunchucks.
We began our journey with free Starbucks coffee. Note: nothing to do with Japan. Then we ran into a Southwest employee dressed as an airplane. Note: also nothing to do with Japan. She looked sort of like an aerodynamic kangaroo, with a pouch of freebies. Now, you might feel weird about having a strange woman dig around in her crotch to find coupons, hats and peanuts, but, really, that's about the most normal Saturday I've had in this town.
Then we wandered off to the live performances. I am not a cultured woman. I grew up in Woodbridge. Generally, I am not impressed by anything artistic that I could probably do myself (see: modern art with one big paint splotch, Yoko Ono's music). So I don't really get Japanese dancing. It just sort of looks like very creaky old women, slowly easing themselves across the stage to the sound of mating cats. At least, afterwards, the drum guys came out, and they were awesome. Boom! Boom! Smash! Yell! Awesome. What? Again, I'm from Woodbridge.
Afterwards we went for beer and a late lunch at Gordon Biersch (not Japanese), where I railed against Fuddruckers (Note: also not Japanese.) What? After a big beer, I ALWAYS rail against Fudd's. After two, I profess my love to the waiter, and after three, I get engaged (though not normally to the waiter).