Outside the trees were still bare but in the Japanese cultural center, paper cherry blossoms hung from branches. This was Tessa's first time at the center and she was excited to hear her friend Kiyomi play with her drum group. Crowds pushed around them eager to see dancers, listen to storytellers, and eat the many special foods. Tessa and Kiyomi had sampled the food on their way over to the cultural center as Kiyomi's dad was in charge of it. Now the girls just wanted to explore the festival.
First Tessa and Kiyomi went to explore the kimono room. Tessa loved running her hands over the cool silk of the kimonos hanging on tall racks. Kiyomi found one embroidered with flowers and vines. The girls took turns dressing up. Tessa thought the kimono was hard to walk in but she loved the shoes which had bells in the heels. Next, the girls went to the gymnasium to make origami. Kiyomi's aunt showed them how to make spring flowers out of paper. Kiyomi and Tessa thought that there were a lot of steps but soon they were making frogs, stars, and cranes. They tied their cranes to a long string and wondered if everyone in the cultural center made a crane if the string might stretch all the way around the building. They didn't wait to find out as the afternoon's entertainment was about to begin.
Tessa found a spot close to the stage. She was anxious not to miss a moment of Kiyomi's performance. Kiyomi and her group marched onto the stage. There was a pause then the drumming began. Tessa thought it sounded as if the drums were talking to each other. Some made a high pitch sound and were played very fast. Drums with deeper voices were played a little slower. And there was one enormous drum which made the ground around Tessa shake. The performance was over too quickly for Tessa. She told Kiyomi that she wanted to try out drumming. Kiyomi thought that they both could be on stage next year.