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Japan Expo USA 2014 September 1, 2014

Posted by coolmikeol in Events.
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Japan Expo 62

I attended Japan Expo USA 2014, my first Japan Expo located this year at the San Mateo Event Center on Saturday, August 23 only out of the three day event. Its meant to be an all around festival event celebrating Japanese culture and pop-culture under one “roof”. Rather than a roof however, it was all in an enclosed gated area of the Event Center, with buildings in the area housing the dealers hall, panel room, and video game room.

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Upon arrival at a little past noontime and paying $10 for parking (with no in and out privileges), my three friends and I entered the gate at JX with our printed tickets where we exchanged them for our badges which was a ticket stub in a badge sleeve along with lanyards. We first entered the main building which was where the dealers hall was along with a cultural display of artwork. It was a pretty small area, but I guess it was expected for the venue size.

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After browsing a bit around there, we wandered the rest of Japan Expo which had more space outside than inside, with food trucks and booths outside, two music stages facing one another; one for cultural shows and the other for music shows, so the sound coming from both of them at the same time didn’t blend so well. The video game room was a small square room that was dark but had AC. The only games I saw going on was Super Street Fighter 4, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and a bit of Marval vs. Capcom. The card games were pretty much non-existent.

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The only other major inside area was the combined martial arts/panel room. At the time we entered it was showcasing Naginata practice and anime DVD releases.

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 After that we went back to the main building with the dealers hall and bought some stuff and saw some things, tasted some sake (not me, I don’t drink and I was the driver), and saw some itasha cars before leaving before 4PM.

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Overall Japan Expo USA 2014 had the ingredients for a good event, but the place it was being held made it feel less of real event and more of a gathering. I also felt that it wasn’t worth the $30 ticket and $10 parking. I didn’t take much in terms of photos because nothing much interesting was going on. I felt that last year’s was better, even though I didn’t go, when it was at a convention center. I’m hoping that next year the venue will move to a better location. About if I will go again, it will depend on a few things, but as of now I don’t plan to. My next con will be AOD 2015 (Animation on Display), which I didn’t go to this year because of its move out of San Francisco. I’m definitely looking forward to returning there at a much larger and established venue. 

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