Sometimes I get so used to regular geeky/anime conventions that I forget that “normal people” actually go to cultural festivals. That happened this time with JapanFest, Atlanta’s Japanese cultural festival, where I helped with some of the anime viewing content. Turns out, Akira and New Cutie Honey aren’t the most family friendly titles (retrospect d’uh). Thanks to my good friend Jess Merriman of MomoCon with helping in the selection.
I even had to quickly end my Cutey Honey: The LIVE clips in my “Tokusatsu Heroes” (Japanese super heroes) panel because it has partial nudity (sparkles cover the NSFW bits, but still…).
JapanFest is a rather large Japanese cultural event held every September in Atlanta, GA. It’s often on the same weekend as Anime Weekend Atlanta (which I also attend). This year, it wasn’t, so I got to stay the whole time. Again the con promo thing, as well as running panels and video.
I’m often surprised by how large JapanFest actually is. Anecdotal conversations said over 10,000 people, and I believe it. We ran through most of our promotional stickers and all of our fliers at the MTAC booth, and most of that was within the first day. I’m sure not being on AWA weekend helped, but it gets fairly large numbers anyway.
As a cultural festival, the big draws are the events and the exhibitions, of which I hardly got to see. The exhibition hall was littered with vendors and sponsors selling and promoting. Including a bunch of Yamaha vehicles. More importantly and probably just as big of a draw, the exhibition holds a popular food court of various Japanese restaurants. I was able to get some delicious okonomiyaki for just $3.
It’s nice to see so many different people from what I typically see at anime and geeky conventions. As a promoter, I get to reach a slightly different audience. As a people watcher, I get to see a new variety of people who aren’t all used to the foreign and “strange” costumes and content that I more or less see all the time at anime shows.
As a panelist, it’s a different experience as the audience for this rendition of my Tokusatsu Heroes panel seemed less interactive but just as interested versus the other cons I’ve presented this at.
JapanFest falls in September every year, also known as the month I might as well live in Atlanta. As mentioned, it’s around or during AWA as well as near to Dragon*Con. All three are worth it for the trips. JapanFest is a more peaceful show, partially because of it only being two days and no night content, but also because the crowd is calmer. I’m glad Nashville has been getting a similar event in the spring, with the three-year-old, one-day Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, but I don’t see that supplanting the interest in going to JapanFest.
Off topic: how do you prefer seeing titles of works protrayed on the web?
- “Quotation marks?”