Haru Matsuri: Japanese Spring Festival in Toronto

Lemme tell you how absolutely frigid it was on the way to this Spring Festival.

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Me and my holy moly it’s cold face

It was so cold that my eyes were watering and I couldn’t feel my nose.

The hour long trip to the Japanese Cultural Convention Centre was super easy to reach on transit from the West end of Toronto except for one big part: I had no idea which building it was!

The bus drops you off in the middle of a bunch of non-descriptive buildings and a laneway. A lovely couple who got off the bus helped me find my way and now I will help you:

This tower actually lights up at night so it’s a little easier to find. I took this picture halfway through the huge parking lot because I’m not sure I would have been able to describe it to you so that you also wouldn’t get lost.

Find a hill and look for the tower!

I was so excited for the idea of wearing Kimono that it was the very first place I visited upon arriving! I wanted to get there before all the bigger ones were gone (yay – plus size!)

The ladies who dressed all of us Japanophiles were funny and friendly. Unfortunately, none of the Kimono fit me (being six feet tall with the shoulder span of a linebacker) but with a pin and a larger obi (the green belt), I was on my way to being super cool in Kimono.

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Being six feet tall in Kimono surrounded by predominantly shorter people is a new experience for me. I got smiles from many of the older women in the crowd and I’d like to think that it was a good thing.

From the Kimono, I went to get my photo in front of the wall of dolls. You can check my Instagram for that one!

From there, I passed by a hall where I tasted some of the most divine tea I’ve ever had. I love tea, it’s my thing so please believe me when I say it was simply delicious.

It was Genmaicha from Momotea(.co). I was told it also has beans in it, but I can imagine that isn’t something they advertise to Western audiences since most of us go, “Eww beans in tea!”

Genmaicha (玄米茶) is a blend of green tea and roasted rice. Genmai means roasted brown rice. It is a popular daily drink in Japan that includes vitamin C and minerals from green tea. It also contains vitamin B and E from un-polished rice. It has a nice nutty, toasted mild flavor. – Momotea.co

You can visit their website or purchase this delicious tea HERE. The wonderful woman that I met was actually Momo, whose name means Peach in Japanese.

From there, I bypassed the already busy cafeteria (eating in Kimono that you don’t own is a no-no) and went to the stage area. There were a few vendors but also many tables that helped to show off the many different workshops and classes available at the JCCC.

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I had a blast listening to the various performances including dancing groups, the floor harp, and the drumming group. It’s so clear to see the Japanese elegance in their art.

The skill involved in the demonstrations awed me! It was literally awesome.

So I have a very deep love and appreciation for Takeshi Kitano, the gentleman in the poster behind my selfie below. He has done so many wonderful and complex things in his life and I have laughed, cried, and been in a murderous rage alongside him in his career. A few things of note are Takeshi’s Challenge (an impossible to beat videogame that Jontron does a wonderful video of) and Battle Royale…although he’s also directed and starred in a long list of great movies, published books, and has been the creator of many different television and game shows. Whew! He’s one busy guy.

Bestie Kitano and myself

The day was long and after many pictures and some delicious food from the cafeteria (I devoured it before I could snap a picture!), the day was drawing to a close. I met so many wonderful people and I can’t wait to return for the Summer Festival!

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This was the most beautiful little spot and it was deserted. I enjoyed my beverage here before heading off to the bus stop to head home.

All in all, it was a wonderful day! I highly recommend visiting and supporting the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.

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