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Report 08 April 8, 2008

Posted by Izabela in Misc.
Wow,I just got to know how many visitors were on the „Tokyo Anime Fair“,about 127.000,me being one of them!
I’m utterly amazed…….but ok,let’s get back to the topic.
Last Thursday, I went to see one of the,if not the,biggest anual event in the whole of Japan,the „Hanami“. (I have to apologize for the video beeing to wiggly but as I don’t have a camera man or,yet,a fitting tripod…)

The word itself ist derived from „hana“ meaning blossom or flower and „mi“,derived from „miru“,to see.
This is such an important happening that the information,were and when in Japan (of cause,the time for the cherryblossoms to bloom is different depending on the geographical location) is given on national television.It is called the „Sakura zensen“,the cerry-blossom front.
I have seen that on TV,it does pretty much look like a meterological map,just it’s about the Japanese cherry tree.
The funny thing is, this tree doesn’t,despite its name,bear any edible fruit at all. The tradition/practice of flower viewing is very old,it dates back for at least several hundreds of years and was,probably, imported as a custom from China during the course of the 8th century (although there is a slight possibilitiy that,as according to old scriptures like the Nihonshoki,it even happend during the 3th century a.c).
Propably because it therefore is a very old tradition there it has a huge impact on Japanese Culture,f.e „Sakura“ is also a given name and there are several folk songs about the cherry blossom.
How long those this festival last?
Only for about a week. During this time you can see crowds of people (families,friends or even whole compagnies) visiting nearby parks and picknicking under the blossoming trees. Often,there are stands were you can buy food,shrines,like the Yasukuni shrine I also went to that day,are offering „kyougen“ („mad speach“,traditional,comical Japanese theater) performances or other attractions
and of cause pictures are taken.
Like this ones:
    Hanami 2008           Hanami 2008

I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed it very much. I myself went to a park near the Yasukuni Shrine
so that why I went there,too) and it was gorgous. I would say that this is something I would be pleased to have in Europe,too,as
well as this kind of raven? which I would like to show You because it really made me laught.
The ones who have to clean that up probably don’t find it nearly as hilarious as I do
but nevermind.

















Report 07 April 2, 2008

Posted by Izabela in Misc.
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On Sunday,(which was cold and rainy,by the way) I spend the day on the so called „Tokyo Anime Fair“.Out of curiosity,I guess. As I learned from Wikipedia,this is an important date for the Japanese anime industry and for their respective fans as well.2 of its 4 days are reserved for public visitors (the entrance fee is 1000 Yen,about 5 Euros).It first started in 2002,has some,for me at least,unexpected patrons,among them the Major of Tokyo and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce,and its prestigious awards, which are bestowed for f.e best TV Anime,best foreign Animation (which in this year was „Ratatouille“,a decision with which I absolutely agree),best Director,best Voice actor and so on.Voice actors,producers and directors are also the people you can see and somewhat meet on the TAF.What is it like? Well, by now I am knowing some people who would or even will say something like:“Dude,you were on the TAF?! May….Might I just touch your hand? To confer some of the glory you have witnessed?“ And I will say something like:“No,you might not.It was quite interesting but it wasn’t thaaaaat much fun.Really. I left before it was officially over,no big deal.“Imagine a huge hall. It is loud.Every 2 meters someone is giving you stuff.But not the useful ball-pens you get tons of at other fairs,writing pads or candies.No,mostly,it is advertisement for some brand-new animes you should definitively buy the DVDs of.I myself collected over 2 kilograms of colorful paper that way (if it had been blank sheets I would have at least be able to practice Kanji on it,this stuff,I just threw away later…).Every 5 metres there is a stand of a company somehow connected to anime. There are animation studios (like Poirrot (Naruto,Bleach) or Toei (One Piece)),schools where you can learn to become a manga artist/anime studio artist or get into management connected with this whole business.I was talked to by

a women in English about that latter one.Well,I asked her back in my deficient Japanese if the courses were in English to which she denied and also asked her,why she would then inform people about it in English if they would have to know Japanese in order to study that?
She said that it was a really good question she didn’t know herself but that I had a point there.I told her that I would be interested if I had:
a) the money (or,alternatively,an own oil well) and b) the talent. In exactly this order.
Also, you can find some shops where you can buy anime paraphernalia. And also,for whatever reason, Luis Vuitton handbags.

There are legions of people who are wandering around,children with their parents,but most of the visitors are students,male and female.

Too much people for even such a big hall. If you would expect to see many of them dressed up as anime characters you are wrong.

This is not America/Europe with its…I would like to quote a friend of mine:….this people who don’t speak Japanese but think they know Japanese culture because they have seen „Inu Yasha“ (an anime).

If the people I saw were real fans,which I supposed,they are really down-to-earth and I like that.

The only ones I saw were professionals paid for by some companies for advertisement reasons like this ones I had myself photographed with at the Toei stand.











 This type of bodysuit costume is, as I have learned from a Japanese I asked to take the photos, „kigurumi“.I personally don’t like it.There’s a reason why some things are just to be drawn but that doesn’t mean they have to be transferred 100% into reality.I wonder who was under that costumes.Probably some students in need of money.I would not be in the least surprised.As I have already mentioned you can see some directors or voice actors on the TAF. The problem with that is,for example,if an anime is really popular than you will have huge masses of people standing in front of a stand and blocking the way for everyone else.That’s probably why it is not allowed to videotape such a performance because standing there still with a camera in you hand doesn’t make the situation easier for the TAF staff.I myself witnessed such a meeting at the Toei stand concerning the voice actors of One Piece.This is one of the few animes I know and also the first one that does not end after 26 episodes.If you hear the Japanese voices I am sure that one would like to see,at least partly,how someone possessing such an interesting voice might look like.Unfortunately,the ones invited were those dubbing some bad ass characters I still don’t know and not the good guys.The performance was…unsettling somehow.Imagine 4 people,3 women and one young man, dressed up in pink (!) aprons talking about what they like about their work (because,as I have learned,in Japan,if you are good,this is work and you might even become a known star….),which (One Piece) character they like the most,which other anime and so on. If you can’t imagine that than have a look at my short youtube video:


From times to times they behaved in a way I also do when I have drunken too much vodka.I think it was meant to be considered „kawaii“ or so but I guess I’m not really into this kind of things although there are definitively anime worth watching and this one is at least worth a try.

Be that as it may, I’m not really a fan (or at least not a die-hard one) so it was not that interesting for me as I don’t (or still don’t) know most of the anime concerned (or,I don’t like them as „Naruto„…).Nevertheless,it was worth the experience,some of the papers I got i kept in order to use as reading exercises and,the most important thing is I can say: I was at the TAF,I was THERE :-D! to make people jealous I most likely don’t respect.

Here,for Your enjoyment,more videos from this years TAF: