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J-Pop Summit Festival 2012 August 27, 2012

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
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2012 J-Pop Summit Festival 139

I went to this year’s J-Pop Summit Festival held in San Francisco’s Japantown during the August 25/26 weekend. This festival was a great way to end my summer vacation as the school semester starts tomorrow (or should I say today). The next Japan related event I plan to attend won’t happen until next year so it was also a way to end my con/event season as well. I enjoyed this year’s J-Pop Summit Festival, though a bit less than last year’s though.

I went both days, taking photos of the festival overall on the first day, though since there wasn’t much to see besides the street booths and the peace plaza, I got slightly bored towards the second half of the day. At that point I decided to focus on events happening on the stage area like the fashions shows and music performances. On Day 1 I was looking forward mostly to the Vocaloid Dance Contest as it’s cool to watch. I remember that last year Danceroid came to the J-Pop Summit Festival the kickoff the annual contest and I was glad that they came, well actually only two of them came last year, but the one Danceroid I’ve followed the most out of all is Kozue Aikawa. Anyways, I like watching talented dancers doing dance covers, and this year’s contest really had some great competition, everyone did really well. There was a few  things I found strange with this year’s contest. First, the judges. Most of the judges were OK, though there was one notable judge that to me was making things uncomfortable in a funny way. She is a professional dancer but with no knowledge of Vocaloid or the dance choreography that goes along with them, so her comments on the dances themselves were off sync. The first dance she judged was where she mentioned that she didn’t know what to expect to see in these dances and that she had no prior knowledge of anything Vocaloid. Well to me, to be a judge for this kind of thing, you kind of need to be knowing a little about the contest’s content before judging it. It felt like they just brought her in as a judge just because she is a professional dancer. The commentary she gave throughout the rest of the contest was very brief and general, which was funny at times as since she couldn’t comment on the Vocaloid aspect of the dance, she basically said things like “It was very good” and “I like the hips and hands moving” and so on. The second thing I found kind of awkward was the speaker host of the festival. He is a local radio host (I forgot from where) and during the contest kept asking the contestants right after their dance “So tell us about your outfit.” While that is not a out of subject question, it felt kind of unimportant to ask immediately after someone dances. Sure, the outfit does make a person, but the contest focuses on their dancing and their ability to perform well with energy, movements to music sync, and expression. I thought he should of been asking them about what they felt about their own dance performance, and then he could of asked them about their outfits, but maybe that’s just me. The third thing is what I think all contests need: A person like Simon Cowell, someone who gives constructive criticism. It’s kind of lame hearing the same feedback over and over again, the judges always just saying “like your dance and energy” with little variation of feedback between judges for each contestant. I know that each of them did well, but still there’s always room to improve, just saying that your good doesn’t help them to improve for the future. In the end, the Vocaloid Dance Contest was nice to watch, though it was getting cold out with the fog and all.

On Day 2 of the J-Pop Summit Festival, I got there at about 3:30pm or so as I already scouted the festival the day before, and so there really wasn’t much I wanted to see besides the events at the peace plaza. The lolita fashion contest was just finishing up when I arrived, managing to take a few shots before it was over. I happened to bump into a friend I met at Anime Expo this year and so we talked for a bit before the main event of Day 2 started, the Kylee music performance. Now prior to this festival, I’ve never heard of her before. She is a 18 year old half-American, half-Japanese musical artist signed with Sony Music Japan. Her music is a mix of pop and rock. She plans to focus her music on on Japan more than here to bridge the gap between herself and Japan. Her performance was good, and so was her band. If you want more information about her, check out her website at http://www.kylee.jp/ I stuck around for the final act which was a performance by DJ Amaya whose mixes I have on my iPod. It was cool but not too many people came down to dance and it made me feel that the festival ended on a good but weak note.

Overall the festival was OK. It didn’t have too much going on that I was really interested in. I did see some cosplay but not enough for me to try to take pictures of. I hope that next year’s will have more interesting stuff going on because it’s the first time in an event like this that I found myself waiting for something photo worthy to take pictures of.

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2010 Hyper-Con/J-Pop Summit Festival September 18, 2010

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Japan, Otaku.
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Today I attended two events, the first was Hyper-Con which was like an extremely small version of an anime convention  and the second was the 2010 J-Pop Summit Festival at SF Japantown. I will first talk about Hyper-Con.

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2010 Hyper-Con

Hyper-Con was my first so-called anime convention. Compared to real conventions I’ve seen pictures of online and heard of from my friends who have gone to them, this was a pretty bad convention in my opinion. It’s a two-day event that was held at the Boys and Girls’ Club of San Francisco building which was a small building that felt like an elementary school. There were several rooms used for this event, there was the outside entrance that had a couple of bands playing, there was a gym that was used for vendors and artists to sell and show off their works, an anime viewing room, a video game room which was all fighting games like Tekken, Street Fighter, etc., a room for panels, and a cosplay area. I don’t really have much more to say about this event, but I do have pictures to share so I’ll leave you to view them so that you can see Hyper-Con for yourself.

Live music in the parking lot where you enter.

The vendor tables felt more like a swap meet.

Out of vendors, I was especially interested in the one that was selling figures and stuff.

Various forms of fighting games were present such as Tekken, Street Fighter, etc. Later in the day there was a tournament for the games but I already left.

There were several good cosplay at Hyper-Con, but not many like at a real con.

Now I can’t be saying that it was all bad, though I would have liked the cost of entering the con to be less ($12 for today and $10 tomorrow). There were a couple of factors that made it the way it was. First, the place that it was being held at is nothing compared to actual convention centers, extremely small. Second, Hyper-Con I think is new and so not that many people know about it yet, so it may improve in the future and one day it may even become a big con in the Bay Area (iono). Third, the weather today was horrible in my opinion, it wasn’t raining or windy but really muggy and warm like Hawaii, so I felt like I was sweating all the time. I wasn’t originally planning on coming to Hyper-Con, but decided to go because I thought it would be great as practice for the real thing. My first major anime con I’m going to will be Fanime 2011 in San Jose.

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The first picture in this post is from today’s J-Pop Summit Festival 2010 in San Francisco’s Japantown. I have more photos but let me just quickly talk about this event. I left Hyper-Con early with friends and hopped on a bus to J-town for the festival. Once we arrived this is what we saw.

There were tons of people around, it almost felt like the Cherry Blossom Festival again but without the Sakura. There were cosplayers around too, but most of them were as Harajuku girls due to an event regarding them. I also saw these cute cosplayers too.

They are dressed as characters from the Vocaloid series, a Japanese software that people can use to create a digital singing voice for music. It is popular in Japan and it is also gaining ground here in the US too. They even had a Hatsune Miku “Live” concert held at the Viz Cinema in the New People building. I heard it was sold out so maybe they will expand to other parts of the country.

Here are a few more photos of the J-Pop Summit Festival 2010.

Pocky eating contest. Winner gets a year supply of Pocky. The MC hoped that one of the contestants would choke. The guy with the while shirt won.

People taking a picture of my friend Craig who is known for cosplaying as the guy from Brain Age. If you know the face of that guy from Brain Age then you know what my friend's face looks like.

Was my first time trying Taiyaki. It's basically like a pancake shaped like a fish with filling inside. I got one with chocolate inside and it was good, just wish I had a glass of milk with it.

I know I've shown this before, but it always looks so photogenic to not photograph. This is the Peace Padoga in SF's Japantown.

My loot from J-Pop festival, Hi-Chew and a Ritsu plushi (I need Yui and Mugi to complete the band). I spent about $30 today; $12 at Hyper-Con, $10 for Ritsu, and 8$ for food including the Hi-Chew.

It was nice to go out with friends to these events but I’m tired now. J-Pop Summit Festival was fun and also it helps bring business to Japantown. Normally when there is nothing going on at J-town it becomes deserted, no one around when compared to the crowded events like the Sakura Matsuri. I probably won’t be going to any more events like this until the 2011 Sakura Matsuri due to school taking priority, but I still have my first semester Japanese class and my AnimeFX club meetings so my mindset is always towards Japan.