This past Sunday I headed into San Francisco’s Japantown to spend the day with my cousin Ly. We wandered around Japantown’s quaint shops, the festivals marketplace full of booths selling Asian-inspired objets d’something. I spent a long time perusing a little onesie + cap set for infants that said “Got Sushi” on the cap with a little picture of nigiri or ahi sushi on the onesie’s belly for Jeannie’s new baby, Avi. It was either “Got Sushi” or “SPAM-baby”. Asian-pacific islanders understand our love of SPAM. It bonds us.
The day was warm, in the 80s, and the streets were crowded with the young, the old, and every ethnicity you could imagine. We were all gathered to celebrate spring and experience a little Japanese culture. What better way to do so than to mob the sidewalks and watch a parade while squished between little teeny Japanese grandmothers and anime-costumed teenagers.
Warning: The remainder of this story is a hecka-long posting of photos. No more words, just images. Scroll quickly and it’ll look just like a movie. Good luck!
Okay. I lied. A couple words. This is Grand Marshall George Takei who played Mr. Sulu on the original Star Trek. I about peed my pants in glee. Okay, that’s it. No more words, I promise.
This final float is always the grand finale and is an important symbolization of prosperity and good luck. (Don’t forget this is the culture that brought you Sumo wrestling.) It is extremely heavy and being carried on the shoulders of dozens of sweating, chanting men. At this point the streets are a cacophony of drums, whistles, people woohooing and laughing and exclaiming “oh my goodness!” It is a joyous moment of celebration.When this float comes down the road it signals the final rite of passage for welcoming spring—people spill into the streets clapping and hollering. It’s a party, folks.