Previously on Cherry Blossom Festival, the year was 2004 - Traveling Valentine's first appearance at the annual parade celebrating Japanese culture. As part of my closing thoughts, I hoped the event would be less hectic and would have better weather conditions. Despite reports of rain on Sunday, April 24, 2005, the weather on the actual day was a breeze. Sure it started out as an overcast of gloomy clouds, but when we reached our destination, Japan Town, the sun was shinning down on San Francisco.
On the morning of April 24, Tom made some yummy omelettes to get us started for the day. We went in our Lupin III and Fujiko costumes. After breakfast, our neighboring friend Claudine showed up. From my dorm apartment, it was to the M line en route to Civic Center. Tom and I napped for most of the ride. Claudine found a friend that she hasn't seen in a while. We get off at Civic Center and it looked like cosplayers were already at the grassy knoll in front of city hall.
Tom and I ran into our former co-workers from the Asian Student Union internship. Aside from our cosplaying friends, it looked like our friends from ASU were also in the parade. Before the line up, we took pictures of the cosplayers...
When it came time to line up, I was cracking up that my call number was CP30. Yeah, Tom had a good laugh. Tom and I did our walk on to the judges. Yes, we were handcuffed during the mass photo op.
The rest of the time, Tom and I were just chilling with friends. We decided to check out other parade attractions. The girl scout group was doing a color gaurd thing. There was an elementary school of Japanese American kiddies. Some of them mentioned that they also wanted to be a part of the huge cosplay group too. There were quite a few taiko floats around. We stopped by the Okinawa dance group in which our Asian Student Union friends were a part of.
Time came for judging. Several of our friends won the costume contest. Asheley (Gaara) and Pikmin (Rockman) scored fourth place. Nando and Elly (Ragnarok Online) and Stacie (Chii) placed third. A Shippo and Kirara placed second. Finally, a Kamen Rider cosplayer took first. All the cosplayers went into the traditional blob formation and proceded to march up to Japan Town.
On the march to Japan Town, there were some crazies along the parade route. For example, there was a guy on a balcony only wearing heart shaped boxers. Tom was taking pictures of the cosplayers on parade. Al was doing the same, but he was in his cardboard box car. Once we hit the Japan Town area, there was this guy in the audience asking me to flash my spankies. Um...you'll have to get past through Tom first, mister! Overall, the march to Japan Town was pretty cool and good excercise. At the end of the parade, Mayor Gavin Newsom waved to us cosplayers.
After the parade, Claudine, Tom, and I were starving. It was 2:30 and Japan Town was open for bussiness. Tom and I grabbed a crepe. Good stuff. We briefly ran into Rob and Stella as we collected our swag for entering in the costume contest. Yesiree, even if you did not win anything, Japan Video still gave you free swag just for participating in the costume contest part of the parade. I got myself a Sumomo plushie. Tom got himself an Ed plushie. Now Tom finally has an Ed to ride the Ein plushie.
The three of us were hungry for a real meal. We headed over to a favorite place, On the Bridge. On the Bridge serves some of the best tasting Japanese curry. They even have Japanese pasta which is (duh) different from Italian pasta. Tom and I had a meal there last year with Masako. Hm...I guess it's now tradition to have a post-CBF parade celebration at On the Bridge.
By the time we were done with our late lunch, most of our friends had left the Peace Plaza area. Apparantly there was a USA Musume and Ramen & Rice concert which happened as we had a late lunch. We chilled with Masako before we took the 38 downtown. Cherry Blossom Festival 2005 was over, but at least nothing, not even them crazy bums, rained on our parade. See you next year!
Pictures are copyright by Victoria Erica. If I took your picture, feel free to use it on your site or cosplay gallery. If you want me to remove something, kindly email me. While you're here, do sign the guestbook. This con report was brought to you by the font Willy Wonka