Photos by MK Shigenaga
The 2012 Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival concluded April 22 with the Grand Parade, which started at San Francisco City Hall and ended in Japantown. Special guests included the 2011 Nisei Week Court: (top) Queen Erika Olsen, (second row) Miss Tomodachi Kay Yamaguchi, First Princess Mimi Yang, (third row) Princess Amber Piatt, (fourth row) Princess Jessica Kanai, Princess Melissa Nishimura, Princess Michi Lew, and (front) Princess Leann Fujinami.
Consul General Hiroshi Inomata and his wife, Midori, in front of City Hall with the 2012 Cherry Blossom Court (from left): Miss Tomodachi Miki Fukai, Princess Manami Kidera, Queen Asaki Osato, First Princess Megumi Yoshida, and Princess Chihiro Hirai.
Hawaii Cherry Blossom Queen Erin Morimoto (left) and Washington Japanese Queen Frederica Miako Mackert rode in the parade with their courts.
San Francisco Taiko Dojo, led by founder Seiichi Tanaka (foreground), is featured in the parade and also puts on a taiko concert during the festival.
Dancers included Awa Odori Tokushima Ren and San Francisco Awakko Ren.
Left: Japanese classical dance instructor Michisuya Hanayagi (pictured) and her mother, Michiya Hanayagi, have participated in the festival from the beginning. Right: Tomoye Takahashi (pictured) and her late sister, Martha Suzuki, were named grand marshals for their support of community organizations through the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation.
Left: Mike Inouye, morning traffic anchor for NBC Bay Area. Right: Children from the Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program (JBBP) at Rosa Parks Elementary School.
Scouts from Pack 29 and Troop 29, based at Buddhist Church of San Francisco, carried small and large Daruma.
The last unit in the parade is the Taru Mikoshi, a portable shrine made of sake barrels and carried by enthusiastic volunteers.