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12

SATURDAY

Some nature-lovers accept that Washington’s cherry blossoms are best saluted by the selection of a princess, as if the delicate flowers were some sort of Midwestern cash crop. Those who would prefer to connect to the festival’s Japanese essence, however, can visit the “Sakura Matsuri” (which simply means Cherry Blossom Festival) sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Washington. This celebration features Japanese food, crafts, games, and music. Among the performers this year are Chikujou Ichikawa’s Tsugaru Samisen, biwa player Kyukuto Molly Kimura, and “Taikomania” with four Japanese taiko (that is, drum) ensembles. And of course, that most venerable of Japanese traditions: a karaoke contest. From noon-5 p.m. at Freedom Plaza, 13th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 833-2210. (Mark Jenkins)