Sunday, October 6, 2013

8th Annual Millbrae Japanese Culture Festival

On a warm, sunny October afternoon, there was no better place to be today but at Millbrae's Japanese Culture Festival.  The hypnotic beat of the taiko drums beckoned me, and I was grateful for that, otherwise I would've missed the event.

The JapaCurry truck was there, too, the first Japanese food truck in the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Japanese curry (surprise, surprise) and bento box eats.

I was so happy to find Mike Umehara and his family of Momiji Nursery there with a small grove of their beautiful Japanese maples! I've purchased their maples for the past 15 years and I can't resist buying another one today, a lovely "Fireball" maple.

A great presence in the cultural festival was pottery artist Thomas Akira Arakawa of Arakawa Pottery. He makes bowls, plates, vases, pitchers, cups, and decorative pottery; but what caught my pottery eye was his collection of saké tokkuri and guinomi. I love the rough texture and irregular shape of the vessels. I could easily imagine how much more enjoyable saké would taste from them. Thomas says he uses grogzilla clay from Clay Planet, which is very similar to Shigaraki clay from Shiga in Japan. The guinomi saké cup was fired up to 30 hours to achieve the quality he wants.

I'm looking forward to next year's event. The taiko drums will be calling for sure.

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