Blos­som fes­ti­val blooms


Heavy rain sent cherry blos­soms and fes­ti­val­go­ers in all di­rec­tions dur­ing the In­ter­na­tional Spring Fes­ti­val, but blue skies reap­peared to light up the clouds of pink blos­soms.

The an­nual fes­ti­val was held on Satur­day, and is timed for the cherry blos­soms that line the grounds at Palmer­ston North’s In­sti­tute of the Pa­cific United (IPU) cam­pus, a nod to its Ja­panese roots.

But it cel­e­brates the mul­ti­cul­tural make-up of the city and the cam­pus, which is home to 24 dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties.

De­spite the rain, some­where be­tween 5000 and 8000 peo­ple vis­ited, IPU pub­lic re­la­tions and mar­ket­ing co-or­di­na­tor Wayne Cooper said.

The fes­ti­val had the high­est num­ber of per­for­mances yet, with wan­der­ing street per­form­ers pop­u­lar, and stu­dents in tra­di­tional cos­tume from their coun­tries in de­mand to pose for pho­tos un­der the blos­soms.

Fes­ti­val vis­i­tor Krista McJar­row-Keller, 17, said she en­joyed get­ting a taste of many cul­tures with­out leav­ing home.

‘‘It’s fan­tas­tic. It’s re­ally im­por­tant to ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent cul­tures and gain a broader per- spec­tive.

‘‘I’ve eaten lots of food. There was great okonomiyaki [Ja­panese pan­cakes] and we did some cal­lig­ra­phy.’’

IPU stu­dent Kazuki Naka­mura, from Kana­gawa in Ja­pan, was wear­ing tra­di­tional cos­tume as part of the Ko­dama drum­ming group.

‘‘When I play drums I can ex­plain my own pas­sion, and when we play drums the [au­di­ence] is very ex­cited, so it’s very good for us,’’ he said.

‘‘We have seen some other coun­tries stu­dents per­form their own cul­tures, and it’s in­ter­est­ing.’’


IPU stu­dents Rin Maruyama, left, and Yuki Ozawa, at the Spring Fes­ti­val wear­ing yukata - tra­di­tional Ja­panese spring fes­ti­val out­fits.

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