2017 Hatsume Fair - Morikami

Shane and I made our annual visit to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens' Hatsume Fair for spring!

We got there early this year, as in 20 minutes before it opened. Last year, we stood in line for an hour, just to have the "newcomer" line and the "been here an hour line" get merged. It was stressful, and getting there early made such a huge difference. We were able to go into the main entrance right as it opened, and there was really no line. We got our Japanese Mix Mochi balls right away, because last year they ran out! These delicious ice cream balls wrapped in rice gelatin and powdered with sweet rice flour, always a highlight for me.

We strolled around the quiet, mostly empty gardens for about an hour. I absolutely love Morikami when it isn't jam packed, but even though we're members we don't set aside time to go enjoy it. It was wonderful to see the Zen Garden without any footprints in it yet!

Photo by Constant Rambler
Really, the star of the fair is always the food. I mentioned that the first thing we did once we made it inside the door was get our mochi. We split an Okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza) made with cabbage-pancake batter, shrimp and cream cheese, and garnished with sauce and tuna shavings. It was delicious! Shortly after, Shane ordered a Yakisoba, fried rice noodles with vegetables, pickled ginger strips, and sweet/savory okafuku sauce. Later I got my own okonomiyaki and tried the bacon and mushroom one. It was pretty good, but I prefered the shrimp and cream cheese one. I definitely want to try to make some at home.

Delicious Morikami eats and the Hatsume Fair screens for this years t-shirt.

We saw the first Taiko drumming show, by the Fushu Daiko group. The last couple times we went, we saw the Ronin Taiko group and it was very neat to see another group! It was a similar setup, where the group brought up kids and regular folks to play some rhythms on the drums and then the drum school's students played a short set. We saw their later 1:45 show too, and they had a longer, more complex set. I just loved listening to them. They had a Shinobue flute player in one song, and the combination of drums and flute was lovely! Shane likes to poke fun at me, because every year I see a Taiko show I want to take a class.

(A bit of playing by Fusho Daiko's youngest drummer, in a video by the group.)

We met up with some friends, and they wanted to see the martial arts demonstration, so we headed over to the Conde Combat Arts demonstration in the main building. I like he idea of putting our future kids in martial arts, but the combat demonstration by this group kind of unnerved me. They had students and teachers spar, which I expected, and it was neat to see the progression of skill through ranks and ages. Then Sensei Conde did a "knife fight" demonstration. He stressed that knife-fighting is only taught for self-defense, but that his school does teach "traditional Japanese fighting skills". Self-defense... each time he sparred with the his purple-belt partner, he sliced his throat, slashed his knee-ligament, and stabbed him at least five times. We joked that if someone came at you with a knife and you responded that way, you'd be the one up on charges. In fact, we realized that even when the children sparred, the end of a conflict was usually signaled someone stomping in someone's head right before the tap-out. We had also joked that if the kid reacted with that level of "defense" they'd be the one getting expelled. So, interesting display but I'll be careful about picking the martial arts school.

Photo by Conde Academy Combat Arts Training Center's Facebook.
Shane hadn't been in the original Morikami museum building, so we walked through the "The Yamato Colony: Pioneering Japanese in Florida" display. It tells the story of Jo Sakai founding the Yamato colony of pineapple farmers in 1903, and George Morikami, one of the settlers of the colony. Though the colony failed, "George Morikami acquired much of the land that would become Morikami Park in the closing days of World War II. Almost 20 years later he began what would become a 10-year campaign to give the land away, first to the city of Delray Beach, and later to Palm Beach County. The county finally accepted the elderly farmer’s generous gift in 1973." The museum also includes rooms that simulate a Japanese home, bullet train, shop, and school. I wish I'd stopped into the gift shop in the new visitor center and picked up a book on the Yamato Colony.

Photo by goodfoodgoodtravelsdotcom.files.wordpress.com
We didn't stay for the fashion show or costume contest, but it was a really good day. The only thing we really didn't do, was remember to get a picture of US this year! Woops!

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