What is the the first ever sister city to be twinned with NYC? That’s right, Tokyo, Japan. And nowhere it’s more apparent than in Brooklyn, at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival (aka Sakura Matsuri) that is held at the awesome Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
You know that word that the Naked Chef likes to say a lot? “Pukka”? It turns out to be a Hindi word meaning “authentic” and “first class.” Well, on the minus side many Japanese things in Brooklyn Botanic are not pukka at all.
For instance, the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden is a masterpiece of true Japanese garden design. But the house and the Shinto shrine are empty shells and not authentic at all. If you want to see a real Japanese house you have to go to Philly to see Shofuso. I don’t even know where the closest real Shinto shrine is.
Also, would it kill them to have a decent bento? They always sell the worst bentos ever at Sakura Matsuri. They should totally get in touch with Shinobu Kobayashi, Mainichi Daily News bento specialist.
These are all minor gripes though. I love Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanic. I especially love the distinctly Brooklyn flavor that it acquires.
How awesome is this lady’s kimono? My wife wore a vintage Haori that we bought in a second hand store in Arashiyama.
Those without cromulent attire can compensate with appropriate coiffure.
Brooklyn badass samurai, wearing dark sunglasses
and cutoff kimonos.
There’s some meditatin’ going on.
And mingling of food.
In the end, you can appreciate the cherry blossoms amongst the throngs of people, just like in Japan. It’s that just that the cops won’t let you get drunk under the cherry trees, like they do in Japan.
I am thinking about going to Japan for my next vacation. Time to tally my knowledge of Japanese. Let’s see…
Nippon – Japan
Sushi – Raw fish with rice
Sashimi – Raw fish
Sake – Alcoholic drink. Some call it Japanese vodka or rice wine, but what do they know. It’s technically a rice beer.
Yakitori – Kebab
Tempura – Stuff fried in batter
Nori – Seaweed for sushi
Wasabi – Pickled radish
Agari – Green tea (in sushi restaurants)
Miso – Soy paste soup
Mochi – Ice-cream (or other stuff) in a dough shell
Arigato – Thank you
So Des – So it is
Godzilla – Big radioactive lizard
Sumo – Along with competitive eation, one of the few sports involving a lot of fat people
Yokozuna – A champion wrestler. Tend to be overweight
Sarariman – Office worker, formerely a Samurai. Probably.
Samurai – A Shogun’s report
Shogun – Samurai’s supervisor
Bushido – Samurai’s Rules and Regulations Manual
Geisha – A woman who entertains Yokozunas, Samurais and Shoguns. As well as Sararimen with a good sarary.
Sensei – Teacher
Kohai – What Wall Street types call a Rabbi. One who helps out somebody less experienced.
Sempai – Someone who has a Kohai.
Karate – Pronounced Kara-tey.
Something-do – Way of something.
Kendo – Way of the sword. Somehow really means fencing dressed skirts with bamboo sticks.
Robot-san – Mechanical human being. Some take Samurai or Geisha form.
Kinokuniya – Japanese bookstore chain
Ringo – Apple
Ringu – Ring
Waifu – Wife
Chambara – Japanese movies about Samurai
Manga – What Americans call Anime
Jedi – Another word for Chambara; also a person with high midiclorian count
Terevision – A device for watching Chambara
Harakiri – A suicide method very popular in Chambara
Kamikaze – A suicide method not very popular in Chambara. Also a drink
Kohee – 8 dollar coffee
Yakuza – Legitimate businessmen with a lot of tattoos and missing pinkies.
Meiwaku – Trouble, disturbance.
Kawai – Cute
Pokemon – A very kawai little critter
Makdonurado – A fast food place where sometimes you get a toy Pokemon with you meal and your food tastes like it’s made out of Pokemons.
Katana – A type of Samurai’s cutting sword. Also name of Larry Ellison’s giant boat.
Katakana – One of sets of Japanese characters. Either the one used for foreign words, or the other one.
Hiragana – Same as Katakana.
Hai – Yes
Beero – Beer.
Ebisu – God of something good, maybe beer. Also a type of beer.
Kappa – Demon of some kind, I think lives in water. Also a character in Mario Bros. games.
Tanuki – A smart shape shifting demon with huge balls.
Futon – Bed
Tatami – Rug
Uh… Yeah, I think I am done.