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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

“Five Attractions” Report – Japanfest 2012

 

September 15 -16, 2012 - Atlanta experienced the 26th annual Japanfest. Quite often this cultural festival has been held in tandem with Anime Weekend Atlanta, but this year they stood apart, a mere two weeks between the two events.


Charity This was the second JapanFest following Japan’s March 11th tragedy, in 2011 all ticket proceed were donated to help those in the devastated areas, this year, charity was still a focal point of the event. A central area of the convention center held a large table full of items that could be purchased, all proceeds going to those in need. The wall was lined with photos taken in the Tohoku region, showing the steady recovery, as well as how much more still needed to be done Miles and miles away from Japan, but the resilience of its people could still be felt.


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Music One of the best aspects of Japanfest is the opportunity to experience the rich and varied cultures of Japan’s musical heritage. You get to appreciate the unique sounds and cultures of the different regions of Japan as you witness them one by one throughout the weekend. The skillfulness of the performers is admirable and awe-inspiring; I especially loved the performances of the Taiko drummers, their coordination as they played their pieces while incorporating a number of crowd-pleasing stunts and humorous antics was unforgettable.


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Cuisine Undoubtedly a draw to the festival is the delicious array of cuisine that’s laid out at your fingertips. The tables quickly fill up and the lines lengthen in an instant, but move at a steady pace thanks to the skillful staffers; any wait that you may endure is absolutely worth it once you take a bite of meal. Sushi, Ramen, Bento, Okonomiaki, Teriaki, Takoyaki, and more sweets than I could list – you’ll be hard-pressed to not find something to enjoy. Over the two days of the event I enjoyed my favorite spicy miso ramen, a tonkatsu bento, and the most delicious green tea ice cream.


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Koi Japanfest’s Koi exhibition was outstanding, numerous large pools filled with Koi showed the high diversity of the carp species, they go well beyond the calico-like coloration that one usually thinks of. Intending to do a momentary visit, I soon found myself lingering and exploring, marveling at the fish and the expertise of the sellers and breeders. Just watching the fish slowly swimming about was surprisingly soothing - I soon came to understand why the Japanese people have long been fond of these gorgeous fish. Visiting the exhibition made me wish that I owned a few Koi fish of my very own.


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Bizarre Japanfest, like many other conventions, has a long list of vendors, their booths filled with amazing items, from traditional clothing and artisan paper and many other goods. But the truly unexpected treat is the Bizarre, this one room is an indoor yard sale where attendees can come in search of hidden treasures, all for unbeatably low prices. My quest through the bizarre always ends with bags full of items, from bags to bento boxes and dishware, small charming little toys and collectables, CDs, books, and even a complete beginner’s set to the German language; you never know what you may find!


The atmosphere of the festival is truly amazing. Though I’ve only been attending Japanfest for the past four years, it immediately became an event that I’ve come to highly anticipate. One of the highlights of my year, as I’m sure it is for many.


These five attractions alone make Japanfest a five-star experience!


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Find out more about Japanfest at their [ Official Homepage ]







 

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This article is the first of the “Five Attractions” series, written by C.Thomas (CMT), edited by Alicia R. Thomas.

 

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