J-Fest at Nikkei Centre: A Cosplay + Fandom Celebration

J-FEST was at Nikkei Centre was on March 7!

It was a celebration of all things J-pop hosted by the Vancouver Anime Convention Society. J-Fest was a culmination of fandom for the love of favourite animes, mangas, games, and the like. I got to watch performers taiko drum, speak with local artists in the Artist Alley/Dealer Room, and of course, see a great number of local cosplayers. Simply put, it was a unique and fun filled experience!

 

In the spirit of the event, let’s talk about COSPLAY!

“COSTUME” X “PLAY” = COSPLAY

Cosplay is a performance art; it is about celebrating a love for a favourite anime/manga/game character or Japanese fashion aesthetic by emulating how they look and even behave.

The word itself originates from combining the terms “costume” x “play”. The word was coined by Nobuyaki Takahashi of Studio Hard while attending a World Science Fiction Convention held in Los Angeles in 1984. Those who do cosplay are called cosplayers – people who dress up in a costume or fashion style that represents a specific character from a game, comic book, cartoon, manga, anime or Japanese fashion aesthetic (such as Lolita, maid, or school girl). The concept of cosplaying has actually been growing as a hobby since 1990, becoming a unique and grown pop culture phenomenon in Japan and other countries, like in Vancouver!

Cosplay is often associated with “Otaku” culture – a word that describes a person with obsessive interests, commonly with anime and manga fandom. The Akihabara neighborhood of Tokyo is a popular gathering otaku site.

And if you thought cosplay only had to do with clothes and accessories, you are mistaken! Since 1998, there has been a number of cosplay restaurants popularized in Japan, catering to devoted anime and cosplay fans. Waitresses and/or waiters at such cafes dress up as video game or anime characters, or maids/butlers, in Tokyo’s Akihabara district in Japan. You can actually experience something akin to the real deal at anime conventions in Vancouver! J-Fest in fact had their own version of a “Bishounen Cafe”!

These café’s are more than just about food, they are about the entire environment from décor, to the behaviour of the servers and how they interact with customers. At a maid cafe, for example, don’t be surprised when the maid servers take your food order and call you “master”!

O-Higan

A Spring Festival

O-Higan — March 21 was the first day of the Spring O-Higan, a 7-day festival to honour the spirits of our Japanese ancestors, and the time to give offerings. It is a holiday that is celebrated by nearly every Buddhist sect, with many special services usually observed in temples, both in Japan and abroad.

お彼岸(ひがん)は、雑節の1つで、春分・秋分の年2回行います。 春分(今年は、3月21日)・秋分(今年は、9月23日)を中日とし、前後各3日をあわせた、7日間が、お彼岸の日となっていて、仏壇や仏具の掃除、お墓参りをしてお墓の掃除やお供えをするのが、一般的!

O-Higan

We create a different manga for Nikkei Life every month! To check out some of the previous mangas, check out our Facebook! #MANGAMONTHLY

Sakuramochi

Girls Day ~ Hinamatsuri 雛祭り

Today is Hinamatsuri! or Girls’ Day. It is a special day in Japan, celebrated each year on March 3. Platforms covered with a red carpet are used to display a set of ornamental dolls (雛人形)  that represent Emperor, Empress, attendants, and musicians in traditional court dress of the Heian period. 

We are celebrating today by eating Sakuramochi (桜餅). Sakuramochi is a Japanese sweet consisting of sweet pink-colored rice cake (mochi) with a red bean paste (anko) center, and wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom (sakura) leaf.  This is traditionally eaten during the spring season, and especially on Girl’s Day and at flower viewing (hanami) parties.

Read more about it in our manga!~

hinamatsuri

We create a different manga for Nikkei Life every month! To check out some of the previous mangas, check out our Facebook! #MANGAMONTHLY

Satsubun

Setsubun – The “Bean Throwing Festival”

The seasonal divide

Setsubun – “season division”. It happened  just yesterday, on February 3rd. It is considered the day before the beginning of spring in Japan. It is often thought to be the peak of the cold season, leading to the onset of the warmer spring season, so it is celebrated as part of the spring festival.

Long ago, February 4th was considered New Year’s Day, so on February 3rd (New Year’s Eve) people would want to welcome the new year by cleansing away evil spirits. They would throw soybeans outside and at a person wearing a Oni mask (demon mask) while screaming “Get out evil!!!”.

ご存知でしたか? 昨日2月3日は、節分でした。

節分は、暖かい春を心待ちにした人々が春祭りの一つとしてお祝する行事。実は、昔は、2月4日が正月と考えられていました。新しい一年が始まる前日の2月3日に、一年の悪い運を追い払い、同時に新しい一年が、楽しく過ごせますようにとの、願いを込められた日が、節分。この日には、鬼のお面を被った人に「鬼は外!福は内!」と叫びながら大豆を投げるのが(豆まきと呼ばれている)、伝統行事の1つ。

To celebrate, we have created a manga all about it!
そんな節分のマンガが出来上がったので、ぜひ読んでみてくださいね。

Setsubun Manga

We create a different manga for Nikkei Life every month! To check out some of the previous mangas, check out our Facebook! #MANGAMONTHLY