Sevilla Feria de Abril Week

Feria Portrait        The pinnacle of Spanish culture is back!  Starting today, the city of Sevilla will look like <— that poster for a week.  I describe the occasion as the marriage of a high school prom and a state fair.  People of all ages, from toddlers to seniors, dress in detailed gowns or slim-fit tuxedos with top hats.  Sevillanos have a reputation of knowing how to party and during feria, it is evident.  From early afternoon until 6am, everyone travels from tent to tent dancing and socializing and some make their rounds on the fair rides.  There is an abundance of energy and adrenaline pumping through feria-goer’s veins.  After months of preparation and thousands of euros spent, they are finally able to do what they do best: disfrutar de la vida (enjoy life)!  The city shuts down just so everyone is able to partake in the festivities – no school, banks closed, lucky to find an open grocery store.  Yes, it’s serious.  And there’s nothing like seeing the everyone come together to show love for their culture and preserving their traditions.  Let the fun begin!

Feria Damas Feria Horselady Feria HorsemenFeria CircleFeria Stroll

¡Olé!
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Cherry Blossom Week: Sakura Sunday

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       Today was Philadelphia’s big day for the Cherry Blossom Festival.  Sakura Sunday, the cultural peak of the week, finally arrived and brought a few surprises.  As I mentioned in earlier posts of the fest, I anticipated a day of flower-gawking, punctuated with small activities (I so was ready for some origami and calligraphy).  Well, somewhere along the road I missed the memo that the anime industry has a HUGE following here and events like these virtually serve as mini conventions for all its enthusiasts.  So, the day turned out to be a character-chasing extravaganza.  Here are just a few.

These nice ladies below were the first we noticed in costume.  They said the reason for their attire was “just something to do”.  Ok…DSCN9615

Sailor Mars.  She was costume number two spotted.  Still hadn’t clicked yet.

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These were made from scratch.  By this point, it was clear.DSCN9621

More variety…

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Inspired by “My Little Pony”.

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And of course, a little vending.

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We did finally get some flower qt.

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Fun times.  The end 🙂

Cherry Blossom Week: Dancing Machines

     Included in the lineup of events is a segment of dance called Nihon Buyo.  Translated, it means “Japanese Classical Dance”.  The performance, one of the few forms of Japanese art not reflecting everyday life, is a mix of drama, dance and music.  This is the time to get dolled up with flawless makeup and decked out in rare silks.  Men, women and children can all take the stage to take part in this modern form of expresssion.  Here are clips.

Lady Luck:

Little guys:

So cute!  Thanks for reading 🙂

Fiesta Friday: Venice, Italy Carnival!

Andiamo!  Carnevale di Venezia, the original masquerade ball, is upon us.  While this was once an occasion to indulge in sinister acts anonymously, it has evolved into a notorious celebration aimed more at creative expression and cultural enjoyment.  So, how do Venetians spend their days during the annual fest?  Concerts, burlesque shows, renaissance dance lessons, galas and the like are constant.  However, one doesn’t need any reservations to witness the glamour that is a typical costume and mask.  From the early rise until the shining of the stars, all it takes is a walk to Piazza San Marco (or a general stroll past any canal) to see countless elaborate disguises.  Some of which are priced upwards of €3,000.  Tis the season!  The party will continue until Valentine’s Day.  There’s still time to join the fun.  If not now, plan to arrive next year, two weeks before Ash Wednesday.  Don’t forget your Phantom of the Opera get-up!

Photo credit: totallycoolpix.com, delpiano.com, Yen Baet, picturesocial.com, 123rf.com

Cirque de Glace & Steel Magnolias Travel to Kuwait

On February 8th, the ice version of Cirque du Soleil will debut in the Middle East.  Until now, the show has primarily toured in Europe.  It will feature a cast called the Russian Ice Stars – professional ice skating contortionists, satin rope aerialists, fire throwers and more.  However, I don’t think jugglers made the cut (sad face).  If you’ve ever seen one of the many Cirque de Soleil shows, you know their acts are full of nail-biting routines.  Just imagine those tricks on ice.  My heart races at the thought!  If this is a taste of what’s in store, I’m sure the audiences will leave in awe.

Cirque Contort Cirque Fire & Ice Cirque Knees Cirque Split

Aerialist   Colorful Glaces Glace Swing Image from Harrison Photography - do not delete this IPTC data

Tapping into another set of emotions, a play of the 1989 classic film, Steel Magnolias, will premier this year on the stage of the Kuwait Little Theatre.  They’re in casting now and I’d love to know who will be the lucky lady that says, “Go ahead M’Lynn, slap her!”

Steel Magnolias

Looks like the theatrical scene in Kuwait is delivering some appluad-worthy productions.

Japanese Treehouse Treats

Okinawa, Japan

Okinawa, Japan

What’s better than a treehouse in Japan?  A restaurant in a treehouse in Japan.  Why didn’t I think of that?  Gajumaru is the place, shabu-shabu is the specialty.  The dish’s name, しゃぶしゃぶ in Japanese, is an onomonopia of the sound it makes during preparation.  (A little imagery, I just said shabu-shabu three times in a row while doing a stirring motion to get an idea of the audio.)  In short, it is a meal of thinly sliced meat, veggies and tofu to be dipped in broth.  The eating process is similar to chips and dip.  We’re all alike after all 🙂  Consider Gajumara the newest member of my Globe Trot List.  Sayonara!

Shabu-Shabu

Shabu-Shabu

Broth

Broth