Two-Week Cherry Blossom Festival Starts Saturday in Japantown
Where: Japantown, Post and Buchanan Streets
When: Sat.-Sun., Apr. 9-10, and 16-17; grand parade and anime costume awards on Sun., Apr. 17
Cost: Free; donations accepted for JCCNC's earthquake relief fund
The rundown: S.F.'s 44th annual Cherry Blossom Festival devotes two weekends to gorging on snacks like teriyaki burgers, Imagawa-yaki (sweet azuki-paste-filled pancakes), takoyaki balls, yakitori skewers, musubi (spam sushi), and onigiri (rice balls), plus many unique items like Okinawa soba (assuming shipments weren't affected by the recent disaster in Japan). Live performances by San Francisco Taiko Dojo, martial arts demonstrations, Japanese folk dancers and singers, local high schools, modern Yosakoi dance, Buyo (mime), modern vocalist Ayumi Perry, and much more. There'll also be demos of Naginata and Nipponto (Japanese swords), including Tameshi-giri (test-cutting bamboo reeds), Batto-jitsu (sword-drawing skills), and Ken-jitsu (fighting skills).