Friday, May 19, 2017

Sakura Matsuri Stony Brook University 2017



Okay the wait is finally over, this is last of the tour. Here it is, JAPAN FES! Yeah, that is what you mean right? JAPAN FES, it is one of the best-organized events in New York City. JAPAN FES previously called Japan Block Fair; the one I am going to talk about is the Webster Hall event. The lines may be irritating but once you get in and brought your admission fee you will receive one free ticket to exchange with your food. Yeah I got Mochi balls made from rice and soy sauce.

 

Here is a variety of performances such as Taiko Drumming with dancing, Japanese music performances, calligraphy, and even the dragon dance. There are children in the event but WHY THE HELL would you SPLASH SOME SAKE and it does not make sense but what if children decided to taste some Saké. It's enough with this shit!

But wait, this isn't what you want to read is it? Nah, this is JAPAN FES from January 1st 2017.  You want to read about the Long Island Sakura Matsuri right? Aw, COME ONE you really want to talk about this? Well, I am gonna do it JUST FOR YOU because I like you a lot. Now don't take that too serious. Here it goes!



It's been 4 years of absence and I NEVER thought of going back to Long Island Sakura Matsuri. After all, of the disappointments and frustration I chose to give it a second chance. Let's go back to the year 2013; there isn't a Cosplay program back then it just your basic festival with traditional Japanese culture. The theatre performances cost me money for 2 different shows. I got so bored that I chose to leave early because there isn't much fun to explore comparing with White Plains Cherry Blossom Festival.

The first thing that really bothers me is getting to Stony Brook from the railroad. Last year I arrive around 10 AM and this year I arrive at P.M. That is because the Port Jefferson line from Huntington is a 1-hour and a 30-minute wait. As you enter through the main and east entrances of the Charles B. Wang Center, you are required to pay at the door. Once you pay, they will give you a wristband. Thankfully, I already registered so I was able to gain access. Unlike most of the Sakura Matsuri events held in a college campus or high school, they NEVER ASK YOU FOR YOUR SCHOOL ID and believe me NYU fails to comply with the guests including the damn strawberry festival. I never went this year! Long Island Sakura Matsuri made it very simple but comparing with my 2013 visit, the indoors require payment.

 

Charles B. Wang Center holds Asian theme events at Stony Brook University it's no wonder it got the Sakura Matsuri reputation. Even so, there is Cherry Blossom trees planted within the area. This year there are frequent changes and immediately the Tea Ceremony is held at the Skylight Gallery instead of the Chapel.



The first place I went is the Lecture Hall 1, which is Reakt's show, then to the Jasmine Restaurant to get something to eat. Once again, there isn't too much to explore and the schedule performances are mixed up. Let me tell you something before I start bashing the festival. If you are someone and you like to fold origami, enter tournaments, or taiko drumming then this is for you. If you rather like watching the shows at the theatre but don't care about the other programs including Cosplay, then this is right for you. You all probably better known than I and it go without saying, but this festival is horrendous! And you know the most pathetic thing about is, this festival isn't even 20 years old. Just barely, you think by 2017 there some be kind of quality standard.

What is this, Sakura Con? That's what it look like and it's more like a convention not the festival. The Anime short films are what most Anime conventions hold. In fact, there is Sakura Con in Seattle, which is based on the Cherry Blossom Festival, but in Anime Style. Just tell me, why there are 2 REAKT shows in one go! That doesn't make any sense; this is why I never went for the second time and why because people are able to keep up with the schedules? This is really ass!

 
You gotta to be kidding me, it's 3:15PM and they already closed the ticket registration? This is so ridiculous, this festival isn't just bad, it's REALLY BAD! I am not even kidding around its fucking horseshit. What if someone like me arrives after 3:30PM and found out that there is no ticket registration. Even if I paid for it, I ended up wasting my money for nothing so you can enter free. If the Sakura Matsuri is held at the university campus, why there are no guards to check your wristbands to verify that you paid for your ticket. Again, this is NOT a convention it's a damn festival. If you remember one of my older blogs, which is Liberty City Anime Con at Crowne Plaza White Plains, they give you badges and the guards actually check your badges in some areas. So what the hell is this shit, you should be checking attendees not scamming people and letting unpaid people in for free EVER in a Cherry Blossom Festival.



So here's the rest of the story, I went to all over the areas including the Starlight Gallery and watched some of the theater performances. What's even more irritating is that they changed the Lecture Hall 1 programs to Lecture Hall 2, WHY is there something wrong with the area? It's the only room I went for the Cosplay Fashion show and I'll be surprised that it's somewhat decent. So after the Cosplay fashion show and guess what's next? Seriously, I want to you guess what's come after this! The final part of the festival is to go into the Chapel for the Bamboo flute, yeah. What kind of festival is this, is this some sort of an insanity test? Well I am done, I'm sorry but that's all I can do this festival doesn't quality as shit! It's like the equivalent of shit taking a shit! This is unspeakably shocking BAD its sickly low some it's a fucking suffering in the minds it's a bunch of FUCK and it doesn't belong in this planet. Somebody gonna take care of it, this is a job for the VERDICT!



The jury is found the Long Island Sakura Matsuri Staff and Ryu Shu Kan, GUILTY for corrupting the festival. This festival is a disgrace with repetitive performances, lack of security, registration closes early, anime screenings that is nothing do with Sakura Matsuri, indoor performances and a fuck ton of other things.

This is the only worst experience I ever had in the 2017 year so I am officially done with the tour. Even though I have some May 2017 events left, there is a chance to redeem itself. I really hope I organize my own festival in 2018.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri 2017

After the Shonen Knife Concert, we are heading to Sakura Matsuri in Brooklyn New York. I had to say that it is one of the LARGEST Cherry Blossom Festival events than any other and it is held over 60 or more programs and not to mention that we visited 6 TIMES. In 2012 that is when we visit the Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri for the first time, 2013 is the only time we went TWICE, 2014 is once again going one time and my first visit to White Plains Sakura Matsuri, 2015 is when my brother took my place and is because I went to Allentown Cherry Blossom Festival at the time and last year it was COLD and RAINING. Brooklyn cannot be beaten by other Cherry Blossom Festivals which includes Randall's and Roosevelt Islands, NYU & Queens. Bronx is the ONLY borough that doesn’t have a Sakura Matsuri and so is Staten Island. 2017 marks the 36th anniversary and Cosplay is been around since 2011. Looking at Barberton Ohio, their Cherry Blossom Festival is like an amusement park and marks the 60th anniversary. Maybe next year I should book OHIO. 2015 is also the year that Chiela is still in the USA because I assume that she came and went from Japan but I was wrong. She left in May 2015 and she was met at White Plains Sakura Matsuri.



What's so great about the Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri is the Cherry Esplanade which is the perfect and is once again good timing like with Philadelphia’s Cherry Blossom Festival. The petals snow and create a walkway. I always thought that the Philadelphia Sakura Matsuri at Fairmount Park being a copy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden but there are a minor difference. It is also getting repetitive with Sachiyo Ito, Taiko Masala, Soh Daiko and others but that is nothing to complain about since traditional Japanese performances are part of the ingredients and without Taiko Drumming, there won't be a festival. I forgot to mention that Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri also the only festival that costs much higher than Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Long Island or Brookline's admission fees. Unlike anime conventions, you don't get discount prices by attending both days, YOU HAVE TO SPEND BOTH EVENTS AT THE SAME PRICE so if you are going both days you have to pay $60 UNLESS you are a BBG member which you always enter for FREE. I think I dissected this presentation enough so let's get on with my personal story.

 
Captain Butterfly Cosplay

Coming back the 6TH time at the Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri makes me want to enjoy myself than last year and most of the time I explore around the area and take pictures of Cosplayers much like I did with anime conventions. Personally, I like Captain Butterfly Cosplay and Electrocosplay which I noticed immediately from Facebook and took a picture with a cosplayer. I rarely take pictures with a cosplayer and I don't do it often but to ask them for a photo. While taking pics with a cosplayer, I have to remain in a closed position only to myself. Yes the COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT rule!!! One thing that bothers me is that some people don't ask me for a photo before I even make a pose and that is irritating. Few years back, I saw Akunei BUT originally I wanted to take a pic with Akunei sometime but she disappeared from social media.



I visited a few places such as the Bonsai Museum, the Japanese market which I brought my new red Parasol from which you saw me in a pic with Captain Butterfly Cosplay, the Rotunda where you see the Origami collection instead of the dolls and the visitor center where I used the bathroom. Unlike last year where I went to the auditorium and slept during the Tea Ceremony, it didn't happen this year.

 

The only performance at the Osborne Garden is KuroPOP and that is it. Other times I hang around the Cherry Esplanade and sometimes I take bathroom breaks until the time I meet up with Taiko Masala.


On the right, Onyxglow Cosplay.

The main stage at the Esplanade is given me some issues because people are always sitting down and people around the sitting area are standing up. I wish they have chairs like with Philadelphia Sakura Matsuri or the Queens Sakura Matsuri. The best show would be the COSPLAY FASHION SHOW in which the photographer like me MUST BE IN STANDING POSITION and up front of the stage behind the line. 2012, 2013 and 2014 year is the time that the stage is underneath the big tent and the rope is around far from the stage making it hard to take pictures. No one other than the press people goes past the line and to the stage.



Now for the verdict, there is no need to think that it's bad festival after all 6 visits. Of course they're innocent. I can never stop enjoying the Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri but what's in for next year, I don't know. Maybe I'll go to the Saturday Sakura Matsuri in Brooklyn again or will not visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden next year. Whatever it is I am going to find out. This concludes this blog and I'll see you at Long Island Sakura Matsuri, the last one of the tour. See you then!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Shonen Knife Concert 2017 at SunnyVale

Alright, here's the next part of the story which is after Roosevelt Island's Sakura Matsuri. After many years from Reni Mimura to Rico Yuzen, I have continued to support the living Japanese female music artists. There are so many Japanese female group bands from Japan that I have attending in the past years. It's the year 2017 and I never got a chance how good Liberty City Anime Con is from last year and I can't remember if I wrote a blog on Long Island Retro Gaming Expo. Unfortunately I won't have time to write every blog on Anime Conventions.

  

Although I was completely away from Reni Mimura, I was still going into cloak mode to avoid her from seeing me. Reni has been changed since the Satoshi era but unfortunately it's already too late for me so I cannot re-visit her. My life already move on but like I said, from Reni Mimura to Rico Yuzen. 2UNE is also met from Liberty City Anime Con but as for UNO from 2UNE she is not used to being met personally and Sneko is completely forgotten but still a fan of her.



Megumi Matsumoto on the other hand is still followed and being my friend since 2013 which is the same year after I left Reni Mimura.



Yako Eicher and family, beginning around September 2016 is when Aya Kameoka which is Yako's daughter came to the USA and her instrument is vibraphone.



Beginning in the 2017, Sasaki Chika is met at both CRS and Silvana. Sasaki is one of the Tokyo girls.



Did I forgot, Rino Inaba? NO but it's actually TOO personal to talk about! On the 2016 year, Rino was met and so is going to Nabe Harlem for Nobuki Takamen when Hideminy became Facebook friends until the year 2017 when we sat together at Club Bonafide enjoying Rico Yuzen's Quartet show.

That's pretty much discussing the 2016 year BUT this story is the real deal. SHONEN KNIFE!



Out of every Japanese female group band I followed such as the Akabane Vulgars, TsuShiMaMiRe, Bala, The Suzan, Zarigani$, CHAI, MIZMO, Starmarie & Jungles a.k.a Red Bacteria Vacuum. If anything I missed I will fill it in. Shonen Knife are very strict and right from the beginning. Oh yeah, AKB48 at Central Park but I didn't care about that. I am sorry that I don't have pics for this blog but that is because it is Shonen Knife's request that taking photos and videos during their concert is not allowed. There are 3 bands at Sunnyvale in Brooklyn New York. I could have taken pics of the other bands but I don't care. They are the Prits, Yucky Buster & of course the main event SHONEN KNIFE. The show is SOLD OUT immediately the day of the show is started.

The first 2 shows people are getting crowded like crazy but I didn't think Sunnyvale has a bathroom until I look and found out that their bathroom has a sliding door. As usual, I got no one including my friends coming over to the Shonen Knife concert comparing with the Miyavi concert.

After waiting for the Shonen Knife concert to go on, I went up front. That is until the people that attended the concert decided to go ape shit on the other people. I have been to too many concerts that is punk related including UZUHI and believe me, this almost like with UZUHI's show. Things are not going so smooth. It's a good thing that some of my friends are not here otherwise this next part of the story which I'll explain. As people continuing partying with Shonen Knife and roughhousing with other people, one of them decided to PICK UP THE PERSON and DROP THE PERSON ON STAGE WHILE ONE OF THE GIRLS IS SINGING, THEN THE MIC STAND FELL ON MY FACE HITTING MY UPPER LIP!!! It was bleeding SO DAMN BAD that I thought I needed medical attention. The next thing I got from people I heard is "Are you Okay" "How many punk band concerts did you attend", I said to that gothic guy MANY TIMES.



As the soreness on my lip continues, the show still goes on. After the show is over, I brought the CD which is the LATEST ALBUM and leave. I don't get to talk to Shonen Knife, I don't get to have a selfie with them and I ended up getting hurt during the show. It wouldn't matter since my lip is busted and I don't want a selfie with a broken lip. Shonen Knife may be popular and released like OVER 30 ALBUMS and been to many shows!? DAMN!? At the end of the story, I brought the Chap Stick immediately and used it on my sore lip. What a damn shame!

Thank you for reading and see you at the Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri blog!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival 2017

Sakura Matsuri has continued while the Cherry Blossoms are in bloom especially the Kwanzans which it lasts around 1 or 2 weeks. Continuing with the Sakura Nihon Festival Tour, Roosevelt Island is the next one. I believe is their fourth or fifth year but I can't really count and it's my first time visiting the Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival. One thing that bothers me is that it's the same day as the Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri. But there are minor differences; people who can't afford the Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri can come to Roosevelt Island for free. That's right; the ticket admission is $30 which I am going to talk about the Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri the next one.



In the past, the Roosevelt Island Sakura Matsuri is always a short one. You probably expect this one like with Randall's Island, but no. This one actually shows true Japanese culture. As I am walking around the Cherry Blossom walkway from the (F) train or the Tramway, you see Bento Boxes from BentOn Cafe, Tea Ceremonies, Kimono Try On, Origami Fishing Game, Calligraphy, Face Painting & traditional Japanese performances. Aside from Brooklyn where you have 60 or more programs, Roosevelt Island is making some promises of what the Sakura Matsuri is about especially for people living on Roosevelt Island. If you remember last year's blog with Iona College, they butchered the Sakura Matsuri franchise.

 

Almost the entire festival, I was on the stage area. There is a small flaw but I am not talking about the festival I am talking about the park itself that should be fixed. One, there is a power outage on that day meaning that some trains skip Roosevelt Island and the Tramway wasn't functioning at the time. The other is the bathrooms. They don't have toilet paper, paper towels, water and soap. What a shame but the water fountain does work.

 

I won't be talking much so there are a variety of performances. Here's Kicho Kai, IchiFuji Kai Dance, Samurai Sword, Masayo Ishigure & Koto Shamisen Ensemble, Neo Blues Maki which I thought it was dead or not but whatever, RIJA Yosa Koi Dancers, & Soh Daiko. To me, I wasn't a HUGE fan of Kayo Yoshioka of Neo Blues Maki but I stop following her along with her crew although I love Japanese blues and jazz band. At first, it looks like Kayo gotten her new hairstyle but REALLY it was just a wig. Not a big deal but not with today’s standard followers which includes Rico Yuzen, Megumi Matsumoto, TiA, Lulla LayLa & Megumi Watada with Tomoya Ogawa. I don't meet Kayo in person anymore but only once which is what it is. Neo Blues Maki had too many malfunctions in which of some of their songs got delayed due to a power outage. They should have postpone or cancel the show completely but they still played on which they NEVER give up. Not a bad show but it was worth it. Soh Daiko played a good show as well which is why Taiko is the main ingredient to Cherry Blossom Festival events.

 

Now with the verdict, the jury is found the Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival staff team and Roosevelt Island Residents Association innocent. To me, I think it's very enjoyable and it shows a lot of promise. I forgot to mention in my story that my friend won and gotten the ticket for the Sake tasting which is the north of Roosevelt Island at Main Street. Before I get with the Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri, there is another place I went before that. See you next time!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017 - Flushing Queens

Where do I even begin? It is the second Sakura Matsuri tour and the JAA Sakura Matsuri is one of the destinations that came to me. There has been a history with JAA and it has been a third time coming to their Sakura Matsuri in Queens. As the year grows it is always the same but a little different. Despite the cold weather, the Cherry trees are in a good condition. With some of the Sakura trees growing and dying at the same time, the Yoshino and Higan cherries grow first before the Kwanzan flowers, which is my personal favorite Sakura flower.

Comparing with 2016, I was originally going to plan a project but I immediately canceled it. Is it good to put up a picnic during the festival when you do not have your own permit? No, but people may find it strange. The festival never gets different but it gets the same every time you come over. It is not a bad thing, but sometimes you have to stick with the traditional Japanese performances of Taiko, flower dances, choir singing in Japanese lyrics and shaminsens. The Sakura Matsuri's main ingredient is actually Taiko drumming and the tea ceremony. At the end of JAA's Sakura Matsuri, they planted a new cherry tree with a plaque honoring someone in the JAA community. New cherry trees are being delivered to their planting tree in Flushing Meadows - Corona Park every year BUT I guess it is time for us to use their space to organize our own event. You may be thinking, what if I want to become a JAA member? To my knowledge, NAH! I did not want to join their community but the JAA are good people of the community.

 

Beginning the festival, Soh Daiko takes the stage. Usually in Cherry Blossom festivals, the Taiko drumming got the people entertained. You may be wondering, what if COBU will make a debut to the festival. It is not one of the events where you get performers they chose only the locals that they could find. After Taiko, there is some talking. I have to admit that the JAA had good roles but imagine if I go to every of their events to see what the community really does.

 

There is a small flaw, the food. I heard visitors making complaints but really, it has not been marketed really well. I never actually get their bento lunch, which is from Benton Cafe by the way, but in order to get it you must pre-purchase it. I noticed that Randall's Island had food trucks, but instead of having a donation to get bento, lunches they should have a food truck instead like most of the Sakura Matsuri events do.  Benton Cafe now has a truck so it is not really much of a big deal for me. As the event continues there is JAA Chorus, the Ichi-Kai & the flower dance which is usually my favorite. Once again, I did not bother going to their tea ceremony. Did you know that the Parks Department of Flushing Meadows - Corona Park Co-Sponsored their Sakura Matsuri event by JAA?
 

JAA Sakura Matsuri is okay, but really changed the community very well. Without JAA their cherry tree planting would not have the Sakura Matsuri in the past 13 years. It is also celebrating not for the cherry trees but the 110TH ANNIVERSARY! JAA has been around for multiple years and they are still going much like the Soka Gakkai International. I do not think there is anything else I should say about JAA Sakura Matsuri.

 

Now for the verdict, for the third TIME the jury has found the JAA Sakura Matsuri innocent. If JAA can celebrate their 14th anniversary of their Sakura Matsuri in 2018, I will definitely be there. After the JAA Sakura Matsuri, I did have a hard time finding the Magika Maid Cafe Cosplay Picnic, which is the real deal. It was not too bad that I was here for a short time. With Maid Cafe NY went down, new Maid Cafes are building in the city of New York.



In 2018, this is when I am going to take over! There will be a second Sakura Matsuri in Queens at Flushing Meadows - Corona Park. The event will not happen unless I obtain and approved my permit from the City of Parks Department which is required if I have an event with 20 or more people. The JAA Sakura Matsuri is USUALLY on Saturday of the 2nd or 3rd week but we are taking the SUNDAY SLOT. Can we do it, let us find out in 2018. See you in the next blog with Roosevelt Island.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Philadelphia Sakura Matsuri 2017

Hello everyone, I haven't written my blog in months and the reason why I stopped writing because I was more into my gaming projects and I worked too hard. I am also trying to save money for a trip to JAPAN. It's that time again to write and review my trip with Sakura Matsuri. This year I am VERY LIMITED on the Cherry Blossom Festival trips and I can only choose 5. The first trip I am going to review is Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia. Before I get into that I should get with Rico Yuzen's Jazz gig.



I don't usually write blogs on people or any shows in a while but it's a reason why I stopped writing my blog. Rico has been met a year ago but I won't talk about any of the details because I kept it for my ears only. To me, Rico has been a great Jazz singer since I often met her much more than Lulla, literally. Her Trio band included Nobuki Takamen which is guitarist for Jazz shows and Haruna Fukazawa the flutist. Nobuki was met from Sumie Kaneko first before Rico and Haruna was met from Yako & Alan Eicher. With Haruna and Nobuki on Rico's side, they made an excellent combo for Jazz performances. I brought Rico's first CD a while back.  Notice that heart necklace on Rico's neck, guess who is given from. I of course but again, story about the necklace and how I give it to her won't be told. Rico's Quartet show at Club Bonafide is just DAYS away, but I have to make sure that I am ready for this moment.



By the way, that's CHAI.



Returning to the Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival for the 3rd year and by now it's starting to become repetitive. It's the same thing over and over and over AGAIN but a little different than the last. Washington D.C. suffers the same fate. Takagawa Taiko just overflows the crowd and I don't understand why Taiko drumming is such a trend to people? Taiko Masala in Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri also overflows the crowd. So why not Soh Daiko in Queens Sakura Matsuri by JAA? Every year a mascot in Philadelphia is different and you remember last year they had a mermaid, now Tolalan the Cat which is I am so surprised from the city of Fukuoka, the place I want to meet CHIELA because she is from Fukuoka. Chiela and I are completely away from each other. The best thing about Philadelphia is that the Cherry Trees are in FULL BLOOM! Would you believe IT? The Cosplay lounge never gets old. I have enough with the presentation; let's get on with my personal story.



Ignoring the ticket with the Shuttle Bus, the first thing is I went to make Calligraphy. I scattered around the area until I decided to join the stage starting with the Harajuku Fashion show, then MIZMO in which my friend Hiroshi has been sponsoring. They are the Enka Trio Japanese female band and they're awesome including the costumes or outfits they wear. Each time they perform, they wearing the different types of outfits from Kimonos to Lolita fashion. After the show, it's sad that they don't sell CD's but a Tengui which I brought instead. The Cosplay Fashion show is great but because I didn't post any pics on my blog, there were some sexual poses of the show that you shouldn't be looking at and I caught these photos. Better take a look at the Ronchan Cosplay Facebook fan page and you know what I mean. Moving forward with Kanadete Sourou which I actually met last year but it's a shame that I have financial trouble but their band is KICK-ASS. I just HAD to get their CD's. They will come back to Philadelphia but someday I hope with they play in New York City. That's if Brooklyn Botanic Garden has the BALLS to invite them but then again, their festival is always late.



Unrelated to the Philadelphia Sakura Matsuri, I went to Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1 to meet them for the SECOND TIME. MIZMO are such nice women to meet and they're from TOKYO.



Now with the verdict, the jury has found Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia innocent for continuing making the festival the best of the best in Philadelphia. I always think that the Philadelphia Sakura Matsuri is a counterpart to Brooklyn New York but not all of it is the same. Next story will be the JAA Sakura Matsuri of Queens and see you soon.