Saturday, February 22, 2014

Phoenix, Arizona - Matsuri - Oh The Costumes!

I expected to see traditional clothing, especially with those involved in shows.  I was not ready for the costuming outside of traditional. I have not kept up with what has been happening with the Japanese arts and the youth. or just youth.

I saw several people in animal costumes, hood and all (and it was in the high 70s so this wasn't to keep them warm).

 I finally stopped a young girl in a costume and asked her why people were in different types of costumes.  I guess that I implied that she was in a costume.  (She is pictured below in the blue and pink dress, walking away). She told me that this was how she dressed on the weekends and that she wasn't wearing a costume, but that she had selected this particular little dress because the fabric had an Asian-type print.  She went on to tell me that some may be in costume. I asked her about the animal costumes.  "Oh, those are 'fuzzies' (or did she call them Furries) and they just dress like that because they like to.  (My later novice research identifies this as Sweet Lolita.)
 Well, this is a bit weird for me.  And it was hot. So they are walking around in furry costumes at a festival and without getting paid.
 This guy took his head off so that the little girl would see that there was a person underneath.  Then mom wanted her to go stand by him so that she could take the picture. The little girl was not buying that, so mom gave the camera to someone else and they both walked over and stood by him.  (When MY son said NO...he meant it and there was no convincing him that it was a good idea.)
 This was cute and "in festival topic" but I thought that maybe she made up the hat design from a placement.

 I was scanning the crowd with camera in hand on full zoom and found these two.  Father and son on the weekend. And I thought that attending Saturday afternoon sports games was the way to bond. I guess that you go with what works best.
 This guy looked like he might be a performer. I got caught snapping his photo.  Maybe he isn't a performer...very cute and so serious.  Muscular forearms. Perhaps he is a taiko drummer?
 I don't know what this is all about but I cannot be a critic.  Long red wig, what fun.  A short skirt with a lacy top layer. Would if I could.  And the boots are a bit much but would add height and no one would mess with you. (Later note: My novice research identified this as "Gothic Lolita".)
 I wondered if these two were together. She is all in her lacy summer finest.  If the guy in the black shirt and jeans is with her, he has to be thinking something right about now. (My novice research later identified this as "Sweet Lolita".)
 Ah, another placemat hat.  I decided to search google for an explanation and can only find that this is a traditional rice straw hat.
 I wonder if she is a Steeler Fan?  (Is this Gothic Lolita?)

 This girl was very happy that I took her photo.
 I am not sure if this is Japanese or not but it was very cute on her.  Long trailing skirt in the back and short mini in the front.  I was not able to get the picture as they both looked at me funny.  (Well, don't dress to attract attention if you don't want the photo journalists snapping pics!) (I guess that this is Sweet Lolita, although I do expect more pastels.  If you can identify, please add in the comments without beating me up because I am a novice at identifying this.)

 The colored wigs are a quick change-up that you keep in your backpack so that you can go in to weekend mode in an instant.
 What a mixture of things.  Pink wig on the left, dinosaur horns on a girl dressed in a flannel shirt, and she is with her straw hat and pink umbrella friend.  I don't know the characters that these costumes represent but find them very interesting.  Excuse my ignorance.
 My last one, caught as they were walking away.  (I guess this is Gothic Lolita?)
I was dressed in blue slacks with a slightly glittery bronze top and a brown sweater.  I did put on some glitzy eyeshadow, but it was likely worn off by this time.  It was easy for me to blend in.  ;)

Phoenix, Arizona - Matsuri - A Doll Collection

I really don't know what to say about this except that it created quite a stir with the young people.  My guess from the "oh, look, these is mine" and "I don't have that one" that this is a collection of some sort.  I took the group photos and a few close-ups.  If you know what these are, please comment.

Phoenix, Arizona - Matsuri - Sushi Maker and Taiko Drums

Why doesn't "make your own sushi" appeal to me?  I really have no desire although I really like sushi at a restaurant.  Now that I have seen this little "sushi kit", perhaps I will change my mind.

 The man showed that this kit comes with two sizes of sushi forms
 You take out the size that you want (there are probably rules to this) and get your seaweed sheet.  Where does one buy a seaweed sheet?  Do they come in packs of 12? Probably not, since US is the only place left on earth that does not deal with things in groups of 10.  I did get a little distracted by the black and gold bowl with the red inside glaze.  VERY NICE!
 Everything lines up and you are good to go!  I am still not convinced that this is something that I want to do.  I seem to recall that my sister took a class in this.  It had to be her. Who else?
 I was then distracted (again) by the sound of the taiko drums and went to find the stage.  I love these performances, love the red.  Red clothes and drums.  It just doesn't get any better than this.

 I like the drama and the synchronization.
  Ohhh, and red lanterns.  Very cool.  I like all of this and my mind was drifting off on all of the possibilities of developing a new skill.
Of course, I was thrilled when I saw the sign advertising "Taiko Drums Classes Are here."  I will consider this!  I am sure that the neighbors will enjoy my practice sessions.

Phoenix, Arizona - Matsuri - Bonsai and The Candy Man

A Japanese festival would not be complete without those amazing Bonsai trees.  These never fail to catch my eye.  I saw a lot of trimmed trees when I was in Japan (not all Bonsai) and my poor desert trees have been suffering every since!

 I had to stop and see "The Candy Man" perform because I found out about these artists when I was researching for the Asia trip but did not get a chance to see one perform.
 These are traditional ame zaiku (candy sculptures) made with mizuame (boiled starch sugar) mixed with shokubeni (food coloring).  He takes a ball of the hot candy in to his hands.
 The ball is put on to a stick so that he can work with it and it can be held later.  He snips little pieces and pulls and tugs to make the ears, nose and other parts of the animal.

 At the end of his performance, a candy animal.
I did research on these artists, called shokunin (artisans).  They study for years to perfect the styling and design of the sculptures and make it look effortless when they perform.

This made me think of the hard tack candy that my aunt used to make at Christmas time.  I remember that it was very hot when it came off of the stove at the perfect temperature.  It was then spread out and she would cut it in to pieces with scissors.  We were never allowed close or to help because it was so hot.  SO, years later, I decided to make this at home for my family.  Yikes, it WAS hot!  And you had to handle it fairly hot or it began to freeze as a large chunk.  I cannot imagine making anything other than my twisted squares of candy.  I did not make shokunin status and can appreciate the skill behind this man

Phoenix, Arizona - Matsuri Festival - Shopping

There were many booths, food and merchandise.  I took photos of a variety.

These backpacks were really cute and the more that I look at them, the more that I want to return tomorrow to buy one for my travels.

 Ok, this stage scene is not shopping or eating, but is a place to sit and watch an show WHILE eating lunch.  I like martial arts and this group of black belts put on a great demonstration.
 The shaved ice booth was a hit.
 You could buy items made of buckwheat... WHAT??
 Japanese dolls, jewelry and decorations were abundant.

 Then, to clean out last year's items, one booth simply called it a cash and carry Flea Market, complete with digging in boxes to find treasures.