A bit of Japan in Philly

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Tamagawa Taiko Drum and Dance Group performers at the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival. (Trudy Rubin / Staff)

     Just returned from Fairmont Park where I watched the fabulous Tamagawa Taiko Drum and Dance Group performers at the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival which goes on until April 26.  This is the kind of event that makes Philadelphia a global city.

   Today, Sakura Sunday, was the highlight of the festival when the cherry blossoms are at peak, framing the drummers, who leapt, postured, hammered and attacked their huge drums with enthusiasm and power. 

    Drum performances such as this, with their driving martial beat, can be almost frightening, especially if the drummers maintain stony or fierce expressions.  But these young men managed to combine machismo with laughter, making clear they were enjoying the performance as much as the audience was. 

    And, for the first time, I saw the young women of the troop – who do elegant dance performances in bright kimonos - do a drum performance.   Perhaps the long struggle for female equality is finally making some headway in Japan.

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