Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vancouver's Powell Street Festival 2009

Every time I go to Vancouver, British Columbia, I think "Hmmm, I'd be happy to stay here..." I totally understand why two of my brothers have been living there for 30+ years. It is a beautiful city - the perfect blend of urban living in the most gorgeous setting, with greenery, mountains and the coast. Sigh... the coast...

Who in the world would want to leave this? AND the support for crafters, artisans and all things handmade is incredible. I kind of think we might end up living there one day... one day. Above is a shot of our kayaking trip around Gabriola Island - it was such a great day! I'll write about that another time.

This is my third time selling at the Powell Street Festival, our nation's biggest Japanese Canadian festival. It was on August 1st and 2nd, and while eastern Canada was living through a cool and rainy summer, Vancouver had gotten our hot and steamy weather. My brother Mike wouldn't let anyone in his house use the oven for over a month because it was too hot!

The festival days were great though, and people came out as always, to taste some delish Japanese food, watch some traditional and non-traditional Japanese entertainment and happily for us, do some shopping. Above are some of the artisans' tents; you can see how dry the grass is from lack of rain. My sister Nancy, who was also a vendor again this year, and I shared the corner white tent in the left of the photo - lots of traffic!

Here I am, behind my table, preparing someone's purchase, and below, you can see Nancy in action. She made some snazzy baby bibs to go with the adorable booties she did so well with last year; she also had some gorgeous scarves and tote bags, along with her lovely pearl jewellery.

Another shot of our tent...

And the entertainment... here's a duo from Okinawa, Japan, amazing costumes!

Kenny Endo's ensemble, from Hawai'i, with special guest Kaoru Watanabe of New York. A mind-blowing set!

Last year I had photos of little dogs in their finest festival wear. This year, this man came to my table and I had to take a picture. I had a good snicker, but I know if my cats would let me, I'd probably try this with them too. With Chibi and Ebi tho, not a CHANCE!

Final thing of note at this year's Powell Street Festival. Festivals are fun, right? The worst thing that could happen is a little sunburn, right?

Well, at Japanese festivals, people parade around hauling an omikoshi, or a portable Shinto shrine (supposed to carry some form of deity), and it's essentially a mini-building on huge pillars or beams. Festival goers line up under the beams to cart the omikoshi around and sometimes people stand on the shrine to challenge the carriers and shout out a rhythm or pace. My husband, Jean-Fran├žois, volunteered his services this year - you can see him on the far right with the wide-open mouth, enthusiastically doing the peace sign.

J-F was quite a bit taller than most of the other omikoshi carriers, so he had to either bend forward a little, which was hard on his back, or bear much of the weight when he was standing up a bit straighter. He came back to see me and Nancy at our craft tables, his white t-shirt red with blood on his right shoulder. He had to go and see the medic, and altho he was embarrassed (had to happen to the tall white guy!), it was indeed, an impressive and rather icky wound. The top layer of skin was completely worn off!

Ewww! Owww! He had a hard time showering and sleeping for the next several nights, but it healed well. A memorable festival wound.


Nance said...

oooh....lovely to showcase JF's wound!
Such lovely memories from the PSF - thanks for encouraging me to join you!

real estate Vancouver BC said...

Hey, I'm glad you like Vancouver. It indeed is a pretty cool city. Well, I know I might be biased. Anyway, the festival was great. It's always nice to have festivals of different cultures in the town. Looking forward to many others.

Best regards, Jay.