Japanese Spring Festival brings Asian culture to Miami Beach

Asian culture was on display at the 12th Annual Japanese Spring Festival in the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.  Exhibitions included sushi making and arranging flowers, as well as origami lessons and Taiko drumming by the group Fushu Daiko.

“We try and expand intellectually,” Sandy Shapiro, the garden’s executive director, said of the March 31 event. “When we do these events we want to make sure that all the elements compliment one another.”

She said she has put a lot of her focus on different ways she can bring the community together through cultural events such as this one.

Working with the consulate general’s office, Shapiro said she was able to bring in Toshi Sekita, the owner of Koume Japanese in Plantation, to demonstrate how sushi is made.

“I like talking to people a lot; Not only do I love making sushi I love seeing customers smile,” said Sekita. “That gives me everything.”

During his presentation, Sekita talked about Japanese culture and traditions, such as the length of their alphabet.

Sekita also has his own sushi catering company and creates massive sushi boats with different characters on them.

“One day I was just thinking maybe I can put this on a sushi plate and so I did and they loved it,” he said.

The festival also included an authentic Japanese tea ceremony, a martial arts demonstration and a storytelling area for kids.

“Every year we come back because we love Japanese culture and this event captures it perfectly,” said Paper Making Museum vendor Lidia Helfer, who sold paperweights, homemade cards and bookmarks at the festival.