Days are a bit longer, birds are chirping and rustling around, and little hints of spring are already starting to show new colors. We’re all anxious to get outside and enjoy some warmer temperatures. While it’s only February, we know March is just around the corner waiting to greet us with new spring blossoms and beautiful flowers.
The Japan-America Society of Tennessee embraces this time of year by using the positive spirits and beautiful backdrop to celebrate spring and the friendship between Japan and America. by hosting the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. This year’s event will take place on March 23, so be sure to mark your calendars!
The festival began in 2009 as a vision of the first Consul General of Japan in Nashville. Consul General Sato proposed the ambitious mission to plant 100 cherry trees each year over the course of ten years. Cherry blossoms, or Sakura, have been the symbol of friendship between the United States and Japan since the Mayor of Tokyo sent 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, D.C. in 1912 as gifts honoring the lasting friendship between our two countries.
This year marks the halfway point in the decade-long mission to plant 1,000 Japanese cherry trees in Nashville. The goal each year is to secure corporate funding and individual donations sufficient to purchase 100 cherry trees and to produce a family-friendly, free-to-the-public festival. The cherry trees beautify the landscape of our city and serve as a backdrop for the Festival.
Like most public events, the Festival would not be possible without amazing volunteers. Volunteer Sarah Case says that there are so many fulfilling aspects to serving as a NCBF volunteer. “You get hands-on learning about Japanese culture and the strong Japanese-American community in Tennessee, while you spread that knowledge to the 10,000-plus attendees expected this year,” says Sarah. “I’ve personally had the opportunity to learn about the Japanese tea ceremony, interact with children playing Japanese festival games, and perform many other meaningful volunteer opportunities. I learn something new about our diverse and wonderful community every year. The festival organizers are the loveliest people and work hard to give us all an enriching experience. They pride themselves in making volunteering smooth, fun and thoroughly enjoyable!”
All sorts of volunteer opportunities are available. Greeters in all of the Festival areas make the whole Festival incredibly fun. They answer questions, hand out programs and maps, and help visitors find their way to the Martial Arts stage or J-Pop Land. This year, there will even be food trucks and special food truck greeters are needed to point visitors in the right direction. The Performance Art Stage manager will need an assistant, and if you are interested in learning about Japanese culture, you can help with activities like a traditional tea ceremony at the Consulate-General of Japan tent. And if you’re bilingual, sign up to help answer questions in both English and Japanese.
Interested in helping out at the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival?
> Click here to view all opportunities and sign up.