Every year I look forward to Salem's World Beat Festival. I'm never disappointed. For the suggested $5 donation you really get your money's worth.
Today I was fortunate to arrive just in time to see a Japanese Martial Arts demonstration featuring students from Tokyo International University of America here in Salem. Highly enjoyable. Loved the drumming!
Also loved the veggie Himalayan noodle plate from the Kathmandu Cafe -- my usual World Beat lunch.
Downtown, where the World Beat Festival is held at the riverfront, usually lacks this sort of happy energy. We need more of it.
Simple fun gathering places make a city more than bricks, concrete, and asphalt. Riverfront Park's splash fountain was a big hit with kids (and some adults) on this 90 degree late June day. It'd be nice if the Historic District had a mini-park with a fountain like this; sure would be better than vacant lots.
Walking by the river, just past the last World Beat Festival booths, I'm always reminded by how poorly Salem makes use of its riverfront. It's easily missed by downtown visitors, since you have to cross a very busy street and a large expanse of grass to get to the Willamette.
The SJPix guy was at the festival, taking photos of people who posed in front of a Statesman Journal front page mock-up. I walked by him at first, then my Inner Exhibitionist took control of me.
I got out a Ninja Fan that I'd bought at an Asia-Pacific booth. I've played around with a fan in my Tai Chi classes a few times. My instructor knows a fan form that looks really cool, with the snappy openings and closings.
I could tell that my Ninja Fan had a nice snap to it, even with my decidedly crappy current opening and closing technique. (Fans can be martial arts weapons.)
Anyway, I told the photographer that I needed a few seconds to channel my inner geisha. Then I posed with the fan demurely (????) hiding half of my face as I coquetteishly (????) gazed over the top of it. The question marks reflect the fact that I'm a 64 year old gray-haired guy who was wearing a baseball cap and dark glasses.
Somehow I suspect that I didn't pull off the geisha look very well.
But, hey, I've been refreshing the SJPix page regularly to see if today's photos are up yet. So if the Statesman Journal newspaper offers this as a way to garner more page views, they're succeeding.
If you live in Salem, don't miss the World Beat Festival. I'll probably return tomorrow for Middle Eastern belly-dancing at the ampitheatre.