The NCBF Press Conference
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
At the Newseum
Reported by Arisa Ishita
Today’s National Cherry Blossom Festival Press Conference was a great start to this year’s event, emphasizing friendship and partnership between the United States and Japan.  The Press Conference informed everyone about the importance of the festival as well as highlighting events taking place during the three weeklong event starting on spring, March 20.
Ambassador John Malott, President of the Japan-America Society of Washington DC spoke about what it means to celebrate Japanese culture, followed by introduction of main events hosted by JASW.
“It’s especially during the time of the National Cherry Blossom Festival a wonderful time to celebrate Japanese culture,” he said. “And that’s why the National Cherry Blossom Festival always has special place for Japan and Japanese culture in it.”
Besides the JASW’s Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival taking place on Saturday, April 11, Ambassador Malott introduced two other key events also hosted by JASW: CineMatsuri and the National Japan Bowl.  Beginning on March 22, CineMatsuri will welcome Director Ken Ochiai from Japan and feature his recent movie, Uzumasa Limelight. On Mach 26, the last day of CineMatsuri, we will close with The Little House directed by Yoji Yamada.
Taking place on April 9 and 10 is the Japan Bowl 2015. This year, 230 high school students across the United States will be attending for the academic, educational competition on Japanese language and culture. Ambassador Malott emphasized that more Americans are studying Japanese today than at anytime.

The conference closed with an important announcement by the U.S. National Park Service – cherry blossom blooming dates. This year, the cherry blossoms are predicted to bloom at its peak starting April 11 through 14. H.E. Kenichiro Sasae, Ambassador of Japan, said during his speech that cherry blossoms are a symbol of Japan-US partnership and it grows stronger. This year would be one of those years where cherry blossom blooms on the day of the Japanese Street Festival and sees even a stronger relationship between the United States and Japan throughout the day.