Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Japanese Festival, Day 2

I went back to the Japanese Festival on the final Monday because there is so much to see and quite often, not enough time.

I first visited the crafts room. I took some pictures of some amazing origami:



And learned how to make a flying crane. I had a bookmark with my name written on it:


Which looks a lot like a similar picture from the Japan Fest in Houston in 2009:


There was also weaving and spinning going on in the same area and I spent a little time talking with them and taking some pics:

Winding the Bobbin


Spinning Silk

Having enjoyed the crafts portion of my day, I headed towards the Sumo demonstration. There were 3 retired Sumo wrestlers there to educate us more about their sport.

But first, I passed the storyteller/interactive entertainer known as the Candyman. Why you ask? Because he sculpts candy as part of his act:

Candyman Candy

Candyman Candy

Candyman Candy

At Sumo, they taught us a lot about how Sumo is done. It's about intimidation, tradition, and sometimes just plain physics. Here's two of them prior to face-off:

Facing Off

Sometimes it's just about forcing your opponent out of the ring. But sometimes you've just got to pick them up:


This picture is an example of what happens when two Sumo wrestlers crash into each other:

That's a Ton of Force

Remember how big these guys are... that's a lot of force - can be a ton of force (as in the metric measurement, not just an expression of large quantity).

And also, just remember that even though they are big and don't look like the average athlete, that doesn't mean they aren't flexible:

Sumo Splits

The great thing about this demonstration is that there was audience participation. This guy demonstrates that kids are no match:

One Handed

And 3 against 1 works against even the biggest Sumo wrestler:

3 vs. 1

After a refreshing lunch of sushi, I headed back to the same area for an hour-long taiko performance. What an amazing group:





In Motion

Face Offs

And accompanying this drumming was an unofficial side show. Located to stage right of the pavilion was this quirky woman who was definitely marching to the beat of her own drum:

Marching To The Beat of Her Own Drum

Here's a few more Taiko pics:

St. Louis Osuwa Taiko

St. Louis Osuwa Taiko

If you ever get a chance to go to the Japanese Festival, DO. I promise you won't be disappointed and the hassles of parking in the garden neighborhood are totally worth it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Art Fair, pt 1

The St. Louis Art Fair is truly one of my favorite festivals in St. Louis. It's near home, has great (if not expensive) art and local restaurants have great food available as well - both in booths and alongside the road.

For the first time, I wanted to see the Art Fair at night. It opens on Friday night, and then runs Saturday day and night and Sunday.

There's an area called the Art Studio where you can get hands-on with creating art of your own. For the first time in years, I threw a pot.


No work of art, but it was a lot more work and fun than I remembered.

Then I got a chance to stroll around and see the booths at night. What was really great was that some of the art looked really great under their booth's own lighting vs normal sunlight.

There was this one guy, John Petrey, who made sculptures out of mixed 3-D media, inspired by housewives.


I had a longer, slightly more in-depth conversation named Duncan McClellan. I'd seen his art before, but never at night. It looked even more amazing. He said that he preferred people to see his work at night because he could light it himself. I have to say, it looks great during the day but even better at night. And yes, I'm repeating myself.

Amazing Glass

Amazing Glass

Amazing Glass

And here's another booth, well-lit:

Glass Booth

And on the stroll back to my car, I saw this:

Abandoned Garage

I like the urban decay-ness of this. Can't explain it.

More pictures to come.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Japanese Festival - Day 1 and Greek Festival

Japanese Festival - Day 1

The Japanese Festival is one of my favorite events at the Missouri Botanical Garden. St Louis is really lucky to experience a festival the size of the one at the MBG. Houston has a great Japan Fest, but it is nowhere near the size of ours.

Pretty Decorations

I went twice this year, and went with my parents on the first day - and made it for the opening ceremonies - something we'd never done. There's announcements, introductions and the ceremonial breaking of the sake barrel. Presiding over the ceremonies were the newly minted President of the Garden (and he'd only been wearing that title for about 3 days), Charlie Dooley and Mayor Francis Slay.

Breaking the Sake Drum

The St. Louis Osuwa Taiko performed at the ceremonies as well.

Taiko Drummers - Opening Ceremonies


And I got to watch the sushi people making sushi:

Making of Sushi

We didn't stick around forever because we were hungry and we'd had plans to hit up another Labor Day weekend festival: The Greek Festival.

It's more about really amazingly good food (I stuffed myself silly on pastitsio, spanikopita and tiropita) and less about the photo opportunities. The best pictures I took was the one in the church parking lot:

Priests Only Parking

Somehow this amused me.

We weren't the only festival-hoppers: I got to shake hands with Mayor Slay who was making the rounds there as well.

There'll be a post about Sunday's trip back to the Japanese Festival - where I got to visit more events - including ones I'd never seen.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Apple Picking

Side note: As usual as of late, I am way behind on blog posts... but its because of the sheer volume of pics that I have taken. It takes awhile to get through them. So here is a quickie post to tide you over!

As a child, I LOVE apple picking. There are several local pick-your-own orchards and we used to go with some friends of ours and our poor parents would have to deal with the millions of apples that we'd pick and haul home.

My roommate and I spoke of doing that last year, but we missed the boat. This year, we were determined to make it fit. We chose to go to the Grafton orchards and picked about 20 pounds of Jonathan apples. It was a short afternoon fun but our only complaint was that the orchards were slightly overpicked. But it was late on a Sunday, so I'm sure everyone went picking that weekend.

Here's a few pics from that adventure:

Eckert's Apple Orchard

Eckert's Apple Orchard

Eckert's Apple Orchard

And a few from my parents' garden, where we are growing CANTALOUPE!

Home-grown Cantaloupe

Home-grown Cantaloupe

Home-grown Cantaloupe

And a few other pretties:

Sun-haloed Stalks


Monday, September 13, 2010

St. Louis Zoo... again.

I love the St. Louis Zoo. I always have. When I moved back, my parents gave me a membership to our Zoo. Our Zoo is free (lucky us) but it gives me some fringe benefits, including reciprocal admission in other cities' zoos, and that is often worth its weight in gold.

I think I decided that going early morning was the smart thing to do at the Zoo. Post-breakfast time and pre-naptime, for the animals. I didn't have great luck in all the exhibits. Perhaps the best exhibit to visit was the primate house. All the monkeys, lemurs, etc were all hyped up and gave the kids in attendance quite the show.

Here's just a few pics from my visit:

I spent a lot of time visiting one of my favorites, the sifakas - both in their inside and outside habitats.


I like this one because he was yawning, but it looks like he's howling:

Opera Singing Monkey?

These guys were so wide-eyed:



I also visited Big Cat Country, one of my favorites.

Most of the baby tigers are grown up and gone now (I miss them playing around like well... baby tigers) and the few that stayed behind were sleeping.

But the few moments that the leopard wasn't hiding, I took some pics of him being playful:


Rolling Around

Rolling Around

Rolling Around

Rolling Around

In the Bear area:

Perhaps the Sun Bear had an itchy foot?

Malaysian Sun Bear

And the grizzly bear makes a great triptych:

She likes grapefruit:

Grizzly Bear

It's a shame she didn't eat it like this sitting up - but she eats them in smiles too:

Grizzly Bear

Perhaps it was too tart for her?

Grizzly Bear

It was a good time - I spent several hours before the encroaching masses of kids was just too much noise to handle - plus it was getting warmer than I had anticipated.

Any time at the St. Louis Zoo is time well-spent.