Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sakura Matsuri 2013

So, CAINE went yet again.  My budget was $40, half of which immediately went to gas.  This budget doesn't count the $5 admission fee.

On the way up I had two initially talkative passengers who both quickly ran out of things to say and were silent for most of the trip, which just made the journey feel longer.  Neither of them contributed anything towards gas.

Once we were there, the metro station was crowded to all hell.  I distinctly remember it being less crowded the past few years.  Anyway, as we found out, the DC Metro jacked up the price of the single day pass to $14, meaning it was cheaper to actually figure out the fare for a round trip and buy a farecard for that much.  They have a stupid $1 per trip "tax" on using paper farecards (perhaps better known as a tax on people who don't live in the region and thus don't have SmarTrip cards), so with the fare in both directions (that's two trips) being $3.50/trip, a farecard for the day would be $9.  Also, (unchanged from ever) the farecard machines have a $5 maximum on the amount of change they will give you, so people who only had $20 bills had to double up.

So, with nearly 3/4 of my budget gone, I needed food.  This is a good time to mention that the festival was just as crowded as the Metro station was.  The only place that had okonomiyaki had a line that was at least an hour long.  I ended up going to a different place that had yakisoba and taiyaki.  For $10, I got cold yakisoba that was nowhere near as good as the stuff I've been making lately, and two lukewarm taiyaki an hour later when I could just walk up and buy.

With subpar food down, it was time to explore.  The festival is basically four blocks of one street, and a few of the side streets.  Walked from one end to the other, watching people play fighting games at the Nekocon booth, and looking at all kinds of merchandise that I couldn't afford, which included noting that one booth had dakimakura covers.

A couple blocks away from the J-pop stage, you can hear its subwoofer and only its subwoofer.  It's kind of weird, because you could see the singer-dressed-in-maid-costume singing on stage, but the bass so overpowered her voice that you couldn't hear it unless you were less than a block away.

Anyway, at the other end of the street was the stage where they do the real musictaiko drum performances and other more traditional forms of music.  That stuff is interesting to listen to for about 15 minutes or so.

After a while a whole group of us got tired of the festival and went to the Lincoln Memorial.  On our way back people started calling us, repeatedly, to ask where we were and to say that everyone was haphazardly leaving.  Since we hadn't set a defined time and place to meet before leaving, we went through the fun of figuring out who had left with who to make sure we weren't leaving people.  For the Nth year in a row, I had different passengers (well, different passenger, I only had one) on the way back.  We got thirsty partway back so we stopped at a gas station and got a couple of those 23oz cans of Arizona Green Tea for $1.01 each after tax.

Four miles later my car reached 130000 miles on its odometer.

So, tally up how much money I spent.  If you didn't get $40.01, you're wrong.  My wallet hurts, and for what?  Mediocre food, sunburn because I forgot my hat, and a festival where I had more fun when we left to walk elsewhere for a while.  Safe to say I'm probably not going back next year.  There's just nothing to do there that's really worth all the cost and time it takes to get there and back.

Advice to future CAINE trips to Sakura Matsuri:

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