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2010 San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival April 20, 2010

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
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San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival 2010

Every April in San Francisco we have our annual Cherry Blossom Festival (Sakura Matsuri). This was the second year for me going and it was great. I went on April 10, the first day and April 18, the last day of the festival.

To see all of my pictures taken from this year’s Sakura Matsuri, visit my Flickr @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/coolmikeol/

2010 San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival

On the first day of the festival I took pictures of Japantown and of the Festival itself. I knew for a fact that the first weekend of the festival was the best time to take general pictures of the festival and Japantown because the second weekend of the festival had more events happening such as the grand parade and the cosplay contest, which I would be busy taking pictures of. Another reason for me going on April 10 was because I was going to meetup with other DC.com members, planned by another DC.com member. At the meeting time I was supposed to look for a person holding a self-made DC.com logo flag, but after about 45 minutes later I gave up and took the time to just enjoy the festival and take pictures. In JPTW, there is a store that sells figures and other anime related goods. I saw a very cute Azusa key chain from K-On! and bought it for only 9$. About a couple of hours later I just happened to spot the DC.com flag and briefly talked with them. It’s cool meeting people from online communities that you don’t see face to face.

April 18 was the big day, because it had a couple of main events scheduled for the day such as the grand parade which had a lot of Japanese culture related floats and performances, and the cosplay contest which was my focus of the day. My day started with a 40 minute bus ride from the west side of SF to the civic center plaza, where the parade would start and the cosplay contest would begin. I brought  my double (fake) swords back gear wrapped up on the bus for my friend’s cosplay. (The CCP is right in front of City Hall.) I arrived at around 11am  to find a few members of my Anime club already there, a few cosplayers. (I did not cosplay.) There were a lot of great cosplay around, this being my first time attending a cosplay event and asking to take pictures of the cosplayers. I’ll let some of these pictures do the talking.

Cherry Blossom Festival Cosplay

Cherry Blossom Festival Cosplay

Cherry Blossom Festival Cosplay

Cherry Blossom Festival Cosplay

Cherry Blossom Festival Cosplay

Before 1pm my group left to beat the parade to Japantown. We knew that was going to be extremely crowded on the final day of the festival. I think it’s the most crowded time of the year for it, because any other time of the year it’s deserted. It was about a 20 minute walk from City Hall to Japantown (which I thought would take longer, take a look at google maps to see how far SF City Hall is from JPTW). Our group decided to go and find places to eat, some of the members splitting up to find places that had spaces to eat (which was hard because almost every restaurant and food place in JPTW had a wait line or no space at all). I declined to eat at a restaurant because I wasn’t too hungry to eat a full meal and also I am cheap. I had a Spam Musubi and Guava Hawaiian Sun for only 4$. After eating my meal I knew it would be a while for my group to finish eating at their restaurant so I went around and took pictures, bought a Mio key chain from K-On! from the same store as last week, and found a few more cosplayers to take pictures of. At 3pm my group and I met up at the main area of JPTW, the Peace Padoga for the cosplay contest results. After that we headed for the nearby Hotel Kabuki to rest in the lobby. Pretty much we took over the lobby area as we were a big group. From there my day ended with me taking the bus back home.

Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossoms

I had fun because I got to spend it with people I know and I was able to take a bunch of pictures for my blog and Flickr. It was the first time for me attending a cosplay event rather than just going to the festival and taking random pictures of the festival like last year. Maybe I will go to more events like this in the future, but for now it’s time for me to focus on my upcoming final month of the spring semester of school before summer vacation.


Code Geass March 30, 2010

Posted by coolmikeol in Anime, Manga.
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When I was in high school I used to watch only a little bit of anime. Actually I wasn’t really into anime like I am today, to me it was just a show. At the time I wasn’t really paying attention to the story at all because I just watched random episodes that happened to be on Adult Swim. Later on when I got more into anime that’s when I watched all the episodes from both seasons.

Here’s a quick summary of the main story:

“The series is set after Japan’s conquest by the Holy Britannian Empire on August 10, 2010, a.t.b. with their powerful new robot weapons, the Knightmare Frames, stripping Japan and its citizens of all rights and freedoms and renaming the country Area 11. The titular Lelouch is a Britannian prince who was disowned by his father, Emperor Charles Vi Britannia, after his mother was murdered, and has vowed to kill his father, the Emperor, and destroy Britannia. He gains an ability through the mysterious power of the Geass, becoming the leader of the resistance movement to fulfill his two wishes: to seek revenge for his mother and to construct a world in which his beloved sister Nunnally can live happily.”   (From Wikipedia, because if I wrote the summary from memory I would be forgetting general details)

It was the first anime that I watched that had a deep story that made me think about how it relates to real life. It was cool how Lelouch is able to devise and counter most obstacles that was in his way, especially how it ends at the final episode. The cast of characters is good, ranging from average school girls to military and class based people. The most of the main characters of Ashford Academy each play a role in the main story; Lelouch, Suzaku, Nunnally, Nina, and Kallen.

I heard about rumored new 2010 Code Geass project that may or may not be true. It may be based on the early history of the Code Geass world set in the Edo period. More details if this information is confirmed to be true. Here is a link to ANN about this news.

Its been a while since I’ve watched it so I can’t say too much about it. I think its best if you watch it and judge it yourself.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 December 1, 2009

Posted by coolmikeol in Anime.
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This anime drama was really something. The animation and the plot was really good, especially near the end *Spoiler*. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 was “Directed by Masaki Tachibana and written by Natsuko Takahashi, it is an original series that is being co-produced by Bones and Kinema Citrus.” (from Wikipedia)

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Anyways heres a quick summary of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0. It starts off with two kids, Mirai and Yukki Onozawa, visiting a robot exhibition in Odaiba when an earthquake with a magnitude of 8 shakes the main area of Tokyo. Everything is in ruins and aftershocks continue. A person named Mari Kusakabe who is also on the way home to Sangengaya rescues both of them and helps them to return back to their home in Setagaya. Along the way they face different real life scenarios that may occur during an actual earthquake.

What I liked about this short anime drama is how it had used actual research (as stated in the beginning of every episode) to create an anime that would showcase the event of a big earthquake hitting the Tokyo area. Everything felt plausible  that could happen, so it was something different from the usual love/action/school animes that are everywhere. The last couple of episodes were very shocking, as it had some things happen that you would not see coming. (Warning Spoiler content: if you don’t want to know the ending stop reading here.) When the episode came where Yukki was admitted to the hospital, it seemed like he survived and left the hospital with Mirai and Mari. But at the end of the second to the last episode, it is reveled that he did die at the hospital and that probably Mirai’s mind blocked it out due to shock. He was shown being with them like usual after leaving the hospital, so there was no hint of his death. What really confused me at first was how the anime showed Yukki alive in the episodes following the hospital, and how the characters just didn’t show any hints. After watching them over again with this in mind, I realized that only Mirai could see Yukki’s ghost and that Mari never spoke to him or ever made references about him. That part was really well made to trick the viewers into thinking that Yukki and Mirai would get home together alive. The same episode that reveled his death also had hints to him being a ghost, like how there was a strange light from above or how he would always disappear whenever someone else other than Mirai shows up. The final episode really brought on the tears, as I’ve had relatives die and I know how it feels to lose loved ones, but also I could relate to the anime in terms of the characters. (I have a little brother and sister that are similar ages to Mirai and Yukki.) When Mirai helped Yukki home despite being a ghost, Yukki saying that he wanted to be with his sister all the way home, and when he said “I love you” to her, it was so emotional. The music was very well done, especially the part where Mirai finally finds her mom and hug and cry, while Mirai watching Yukki disappear along with the light of the sun. This anime drama will always hold a special place in my heart, as one that shows reality and emotion to an anime. Watch it.