Thursday, May 28, 2015

Passport to Taiwan 2015



Hello everyone, when you think about festivals they give you performances, food, vendors, raffles, & games. When we went to the Sakura Matsuri events during the spring season, they celebrated Japanese culture along with blooming Cherry Blossoms for all types of ages. But when we come across another Asian festival other than the Korean Parade & Festival we went every October, and boy that was some kind of festival that celebrated with one culture and ethnicity. The festival I am talking about is the Taiwanese festival known as Passport to Taiwan. Start this damn blog!



You know what; let's write this blog in Sakura Matsuri style. Ah forget it, not this time. The first thing you notice is a lot of food vendors serving all types of weird food and snacks. At least it's tastier but the problem is some isn't cheap. Almost most of the volunteers are Taiwanese. Other vendors will include raffles and other business activties including Eva Air & China Airlines. In the past, there are people performing such as Uzuhi, Cobu (I think), and of course their own Taiwanese vocal singer of the band is NoriceuR. I haven't even remembered much so let's move on.



The performances are like Chinese style. I am not used into this stuff and its takes time to get used to. By the way I arrive around 2PM. They’re bad but repetitive. The raffle drawings are also decent. They give you an email because they know that the people that buy tickets decided to leave.



Overall, the Passport to Taiwan event is decent and it's one of those near summer events that people would enjoy. You see many Asian people enjoying the food & the performances. I have nothing else to say to I got to go. See you soon.

By the way, I won't write a blog on Smile NYC at The Producers Club.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Sakura Matsuri Stories


Hello everyone, it's time to write this blog on the Sakura Matsuri tour. After all the accomplishments, it's time to write our stories. As you know the Cherry Blossom flowers known as Sakura grow in the spring season and it represents love, faith & peace in your hearts. When it comes to Cherry Blossom festivals, the person who created it that follows the Japanese culture of what's in their heart. Before I get to that stage, there is something personal I like to say first.

I would never regret of how Reni Mimura got me drunk in August 25, 2011 and this year when I accidently gave away our blog site. I am trying to become a friend of the Japanese female Brooklyn artist but failed miserably. As you know I will talk about Reni Mimura when I get to that story.

 
 

The first thing that came to my mind is that I grew up attending the Sakura Matsuri in Brooklyn New York starting in 2012. I'd say that it was a great festival that included traditional Japanese Culture along with fun & games for all ages and introducing cosplay and manga. It was an epic time that I decided to take on the Brooklyn franchise. In 2012, it was my first visit on a Saturday, then in 2013 I attempt both days and 2014 which is Saturday only. What I have to say about the Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri is the programs and they’re completely different while most of it is the same. Some programs included the flower demonstration, the library, the marketplace, and much more. What I really like is the Parasol & the Cosplay Contest which held separate days. Cosplayers don't usually take over the Cherry Blossom festival in Brooklyn which is not traditional but it's an exception for someone to put up a program. As for myself, I always like Cosplay & Anime and I used to think the Sakura Matsuri is like a Japanese convention but nope, not even close.

  

Sakura Matsuri in Brooklyn has always been great to me but in 2015 we took a break on it and send someone else there. That's when we really explore the Sakura festival quest whether it's good or not. In 2013, that is when I decided to take on Stony Brook University for their Sakura Matsuri event. You assume that it's the same as Brooklyn but no, it's one of those shitty Cherry Blossom festivals. I also mistaken think that there will be cosplayers but don't think too hard because I was just a rookie and founded out that cosplay is not part of traditional Japanese culture that they claim to love. There is something wrong with it, I don't get to try on a Kimono, you pay money to see shows which is an unorthodox and the marketplace is extremely small. By the way, my friend Sumie that I was there. I never knew that otherwise I would have known that I come for her in the first place because of Kaoru Watanbe. I left way too early because of this shitfest. Not if 2013 but 2015 also even though we never went back to Stony Brook again. Overall Stony Brook Sakura Matsuri is absolute shit and it's one of the worst ones I ever went.

Don't get me wrong because this year New Rochelle gets their first Sakura Matsuri. We will see when we visit in 2016 including Brookline Massachusetts. There are Cherry Blossom Festivals that we have planned but didn't go this year. One is Roosevelt Island; the other is Nashville, Delaware, Buffalo, Seattle & Denver. The Denver Sakura Matsuri only celebrated in the summer because of the cold Rocky Mountains which blooms very slowly. Seattle had 2 Cherry Blossom Festivals which is outstanding. The early one started with Sakura Con and then the Sakura Matsuri which both held at the Washington State Convention Center. At first, I thought Sakura Con will be held at Washington DC but when I found out that it's at Seattle, its way too far. Both of these held inside of the convention which is okay but it would have been better if celebrated outside.

 

Now we come in with Washington DC which is the best. Before the celebration, there are a couple of festivities around the National Cherry Blossom Festival which held several days from March to Mid-April. You expect that there will be Cherry Blossoms in the city and yes there is. However, they cheated to get their blooms out which is a rumor. The Sakura Matsuri by JASWDC is a huge market place with 4 stage performances. It's huge but what do you expect. There's everything going on Washington DC, there are cosplayers, Lolita’s, Kimonos, everyone is trying to become Asian and the performances are great. I went 2 times in a row but this year, I didn't stand a chance this year. Think of it as Japan Block Fair in New York except a larger version of it. Washington DC smacks all other Cherry Blossom Festivals, but the Cherry trees didn't succeed New Jersey's. The only year I ever went is 2013 and 2014. Overall, it's highly recommended.

 

Then we come in to Branch Brook New Jersey which we first visited in 2014 & 2015. You think that their 39th Annual will expand their Japanese Culture which included Cosplay and Manga like with Brooklyn or Philadelphia but no. It's not terrible but disappointing. First of all where's the Asian Food, Try on a Kimono, Yo-Yo Fishing, or Japanese Products. You don't see them at all and that was a disadvantage to the Sakura Matsuri franchise. The performances are not that bad either and some demonstrations are interesting. What people enjoyed the most are Cherry Blossom trees that are the only thing they like including taking pictures under the trees. I am not going to rant too much but at least the kids are enjoying it. Even when the cosplayers taking over, it's going to be weird. So what's going to be the 40th Annual Bloomfest in 2016? We will find out? Overall, I like Bloomfest even though I pleaded them GUILTY for lack of Japanese spirit.

  

Next up, White Plains! Our first visit is 2014 & 2015. I'd say it's pretty damn good. They got their items Sakura themed as well as items. The food is great the performances are okay and there is fun for the kids. What I really do not like is the try on a Kimono which is extremely slow this year in 2015. White Plains is too perfect to celebrate. Then this year only in 2015, here comes Flushing Queen's 11th Annual Sakura Matsuri. Again the same thing except it's too traditional if you know what I mean. Family themed but most likely a membership hangout celebration. Both are great Cherry Blossom Festivals.



Oh boy, now let's talk about Randall's Island. Their 2nd year in 2014 wasn't great but it's BORING. All you do is struggle, struggle and fucking struggle. Then when 2015 comes up, it's MUCH BETTER and enjoyable. At least the Randall's Island Park Alliance seriously worked hard on it but don't expect and improvements next year. Overall, it's good but you should try for yourself.

A long time ago, there is a celebration at Sakura Park in Morningside. I can't remember the year but this crazy music fest just gets in me.



Now we are talking about Reni's Maid show which is Sakura Matsuri style. The maids are in Kimonos celebrating Cherry Blossoms. They order food, watch performances, played some games and more. It was great at the time but meeting Reni now after I've no longer seeing her, its fucking terrible. The BIG reason why is because Reni Mimura got me drunk and she is a liar. I thought I can trust her. Matter of fact, no one can be trusted EVEN if they are good person. Don't expect a nice person cannot smoke or drink but really, they do even if they go to church. I hate it every second. Even Reni performs in the Washington DC Sakura Matsuri, isn't this sad? Another sad thing is that her monthly maid shows is stopped and Maid Cafe NY are closed. I guess Satoshi is being a big asshole waiving the entire budget on it. Things have changed now!

  

The worse of all is Japan Day @ Central Park which is NOTHING to do with the Cherry Blossom Festival. If you think Japan Day was bad, it's also Japan Festival Boston as well. Both food lines are long, ridiculously overcrowding, the performances are decent, Cosplayers taking over the festival, and much more. The activities are almost the same but back in 2011 is when Japan Day @ Central Park is started and Japan Festival Boston is the only time we went this year in 2015. Overall, some are decent and some are absolute bullshit. It's lame but nuff said.

 

Next up, Allentown Pennsylvania. After visiting their 2nd Annual for the first time, I actually liked this one even though it has some problems. The Cherry Trees didn't bloom on time, the cold breezy weather shivers me, not much food and performances and other problems. The executive worked very hard on it but I do appreciate it. It's not terrible but I enjoyed it as much as I can. As a result, I took home a Parasol and painted it myself. That is a symbol of great friendship of the Allentown Community and I may come back on April 30, 2016 if I feel like it. Come on, you expect the kids actually enjoyed it? Yes! Because it's what makes it so great but it shows a little bit of Asian culture.

 

Other than Pennsylvania, there's Philadelphia as well and it's our first time. Philadelphia celebrated way too early and the Cherry Trees did not bloom on time. It's sad and disappointing. Even though most of the programs are great but it was not worth it. The cold wind is even worse. Philadelphia shows a lot of effort and it's close to the Brooklyn Sakura Matsuri. Philadelphia is one of the greatest Cherry Blossom Festivals but I do love it. By the way, Kaori comedy was there. If you think one celebrated way too early, there's a Cherry Blossom Festival that celebrated way too late and that one is Harrison New York.

 

The first time in Harrison in 2014, the Cherry Blossoms actually bloom but in 2015 goes way too dead. It's the opposite of Philadelphia. When it goes way too hot it gets fucked up. Not to mention that there are problems in 2015 than 2014. In 2015, the power goes out during the Rover concert, mascot fell while Shoko Daddario speaks, and in 2014 the rain struck the festival. Harrison New York has brought up with many varieties that the Sakura Matsuri franchise has to offer. It's an awesome festival and it's very very good. Don't expect that it's better than White Plains because it's still the best. Let's see what Harrison New York store in 2016.



And finally, Stamford Connecticut. Surprisingly it's been celebrated where the oldest Cherry Blossom tree that continues in bloom. Not bad but it's repetitive. My only complaint is the Anime music in between stage performances. It should belong in Manga & Cosplay events not traditional Japanese festivals. Another one is it rained out right before the festival ended much like in Harrison. I kind of wish we went in 2014 but what do you expect. The 2015 year has been downgraded from last year. What you expect is what you get! At least Stamford is decent but anyway I would like to come back to Connecticut.

What you see in most Cherry Blossom festivals? A try on a Kimono, Tea Ceremonies, Taiko Performances although Harrison never had one on the 2nd annual, Yo-Yo Fishing, Japanese Food, Origami’s, & flower demonstrations. I have to say that it was quite an adventure for the last 3 years and we will continue to rise. We will try something different. No matter which Cherry Blossom Festival we find, we will come over to your area and celebrate. Keep in touch with us because next year the tour will come back with a VENGENCE. Thanks for reading and see you next time.

And by the way, I won't write a blog on Ballet Arts event last Sunday.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Japan Cultral Festival, The MATSURI 2015

Hello everyone, it's time to write this blog on the final Sakura Matsuri tour. After all the previous visits this year, we have accomplished these Cherry Blossom Festival events of the East Coast but there are many more we haven't even tried out yet. Originally, we wanted to go to Nashville but it's too far even for Macon Georgia's Cherry Blossom Music Festival. Even so, their Cherry Blossom Music Festival has nothing to do with Japanese Culture so I want to give Macon Georgia a bitchslap on the face and is scheduled right before Washington DC & Philadelphia. Even Hawaii celebrated their Cherry Blossom Festival way too early before spring. We had Sakura Con planned but its way too far on the West Coast in Seattle and it has 2 of them in the same venue. Surprisingly right? If we ever go to Sakura Con, then that counts as a Cherry Blossom Festival before the traditional Japanese culture without cosplay. Ladies & gentlemen, today I'll talk about Harrison New York's Cherry Blossom Festival & it's the final tour.

Before we get to the story, there is a history lesson. If you remember the Japan Arts Matsuri event which held every year in November with the food, performances & sometimes games. It was an epic back then especially in 2012 when Foxy Foxes stomped the competition. It is a 2-Day festival with different programs. First why they called it Japan Arts Matsuri? Matsuri means festival in Japanese? Should it call it, Japan Arts Festival? Second if the name is in Japanese, they should call it something else like Nihongo blah blah Matsuri. It is organized by El Kameda along with JaNet (Japanese Networking). That questions me is what happened to 2013? Foxy Foxes is supposed to make a return to the same event but Japan Arts Matsuri never happened. Matter of fact, the event is discontinued. In 2013, that's when El Kameda decided to move to the Westchester area. In 2014, it is confirmed that Natsuko Hayashi had Visa trouble and is unable to continue in America which is why the Foxy Foxes just came and flopped. Enough said, let's move on to the next story.


Last year on May 5, 2014 is when El Kameda decided to create a Japanese festival here in Harrison New York brining back that the Japan Arts Matsuri had. It's a perfect celebration to younger or older people to experience Japanese Culture. They named it the Japan Spring Festival rather than naming after towns and cherry blossoms. They would have call it Harrison New York's Cherry Blossom Festival or Sakura Matsuri but no. It was never named at all. Their festival was a success last year and accomplished. You can even view the Cherry Blossoms and I got to say that it's the best Japanese or Cherry Blossom Festival ever had right from the start. The other one involved is Shoko Daddario who emcees the event. So how good is 2015, let's find out!

First of all, they decided to name it THE MATSURI! What? Did they not think of an actual name for it? Columbia University named the event THE MATSURI as well but it's called the Columbia Japan Society Matsuri. Of course they didn't have Cherry Blossoms and I checked while they bloom between April & May. Actually the name of it in Harrison is called Japan Cultural Festival, THE MATSURI. Another thing is Harrison also in New Jersey right before reaching Newark. If you ride the PATH train, then you will know what I am talking about. It's like having 2 Penn Stations and 2 Harrisons.


Anyway, right from the beginning you will see that the Cherry Blossoms already died out from some trees and some pink flowers are on the ground. You know why, because the festival is celebrated WAY TOO LATE. As of May 17, 2015! If you go back to my Philadelphia Sakura Matsuri blog back in April, they celebrated WAY too early and not much Cherry trees bloomed. The same goes for Allentown but it's the cold that didn't have their trees in full bloom. Also, when I got off at Harrison from Stamford's Sakura Matsuri the flowers are still in bloom & I have to pay extra and wait for the next train. Harrison should have celebrated their event as of May 2, 2015 which is the same day as Randall's Island & before the White Plains or Stony Brook's Cherry Blossom Festival on May 3, 2015.

Another issue with this festival is the temperature is 80 degrees which is not my big deal but at least it never rains. While Rover performed, the power got shut down and it takes 15 minutes to get the show back running. Lateness is also unacceptable. By the way, their MATSURI had 2 mascots. Some chipmunk and the other one I cannot describe. If it were Cosplay then I accept it but then again some people actually wear Kimonos. What's really funny is the chipmunk fell down during Shoko's pep talk.

So what's in the festival itself, you see games, try on a Kimono which I didn't bother this time, & food. Some games require buying a raffle ticket which is $10 for 2 tickets. They also have a Charity cause for the 3-11 victims and Nepal. Seems like every Japanese MATSURI had a charity auction which is a good thing. What's missing in this festival is the program schedule. You see one on the Sollazo Recreation Center but not for the stage. Actually, you want to know where the program schedule is. It is at some shading spot or something but I never picked that up. Seems like Harrison got it right with the Japanese food that came from actual Japanese markets and not pointless foods like burgers, pizza, or hot dogs you seen in New Jersey's Cherry Blossom Festival.


The Sollazo Recreation Center had fun and games as well including the Tea Ceremony. It is the best way to teach the children some Japanese Culture including the flower arrangement, playing with traditional Japanese toys and make icing cookies. What ticks me off is the cookie shaped like a Sakura and so is the entrance which is used from paper. Should it be the Cherry Blossom Festival? Also, if they're making cookies, should they order actual Cherry Blossom Salt to put on a cookie? They should be baked before icing them. Now last year, all of those programs they had in the Sollazo Recreation Center are held at the Harrison Public Library. This year, the library was closed for renovations and that is the reason why it's moved. Also, last year they have workshops which I remember when Tsukumai members Nobuko & Sumie explain the instruments and perform. Like with this year's Stamford, last year's Harrison New York's rain right before the festival ended. I think we talked too much about the festival let's get on with the performances.


You think that it shows some kind of Japanese culture but some of it does. However, many of them are from the j-Summit New York event and Hiroshi is also here. The performers included Nob, Showji, Shinoe, Ai Shindo, Rich Kameda which is a no show & Rover which performed WAY back in 2014 at the Bowery Electric. Either Hiroshi brought them to Harrison like with Audrey's Japan Nite band or they come on their own. By the way, Maya did come but never performed. What if Chiela Takao at Harrison but she left after White Plains and so is Kenchi. What are missing this year are the Taiko performances comparing with last year when Sakura Taiko came over to Harrison New York. All others seem like a piece of cake and that's what brings the Japanese entertainment to the Sakura Matsuri franchise and is much like with Japan Block Fair. Hell, even Yosakoi dance brought the event for the 2nd time. Isn't that amazing? Overall, the performance is not bad but it evolves its nature.

So what is Harrison's MATSURI event is about? Could be Cherry Blossom, Hope, Faith, Love, and Japanese Spirit? I do not know but what I do know that it copies the same exact moments from the Japan Arts Matsuri except it's an outdoor festival. You don't see the Sakura Matsuri in Flushing Queens have this, it's perfect and being true! You know what; I am not going to tell you my personal story. I explained way too much that the story is already too personal. I didn't bother talking to both Shoko Daddario & El Kameda because I do not know them, even though I wanted to but it is not even worth my time. I chose to unfriend El off my Facebook, and it's because we never met. Its game over from there! Now for the final verdict.



The jury is found Harrison MATSURI staff, El Kameda & Shoko Daddario innocent. Just like the first time being successful, the second time is also being a great success. Keep up the good work. I enjoyed it, but please celebrate the MATSURI event where the Cherry Blossoms still in bloom. That's all the trips but that makes me wonder if I should return to the shitty Cherry Blossom festival in Stony Brook Long Island. Summer is coming way too early and the Cherry Blossoms have died, so there are anime conventions on the way. Thanks for reading my Cherry Blossom trip blogs and see you next time.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

EmCon 2015

Hello everyone, it's been a while going to anime conventions since Castle Point Anime Convention and the recent convention I went to. So open your eyes and ears because I am getting ready to write this blog on EmCon which stands for East Meadow Convention which is an anime convention held at the East Meadow Public Library.


When you arrive, right off the bat you see this convention as boring as hell. Really? I wasn't expecting anything big but it's just a free convention held by a public library that they already paid for so deal with it.


You know what? Let's write this blog in Sakura Matsuri style! Why? Because when I walked around the library you find that they have CHERRY TREES around the back entrance area and the front entrance area where the parking lots are. If there are Cherry Trees, then we should call it East Meadow Cherry Blossom Anime Convention. I know it's not Sakura Matsuri and sounds stupid but its way better than having an identity crisis. Let's get on with it.

There are the good things and the bad things. Like I said before it's a small convention but a lot roomier. It's like the opposite of Big Apple Con when the convention space is small & high attendance. When grabbing the program booklet you think that the Cosplay Contest will hold last Saturday but nope, it's only on Sunday. That already brings on the confusion because it is a 2 day convention and the day is not listed. When you are at the program map, you will see everything. Orange is Saturday & Green is Sunday. NOW you get the picture. The vendors aren't bad and the artist's alley is repetitive and friendly. We have to step into the Castle Point Anime Convention style where we are not allowed to take pictures of the Artists Alley. There is the maid cafe downstairs where you grab as much food or drinks as you like for free. Unlike most maid cafes, it is very decent and you can play games or watch anime.

The panels are sort of okay but I'll explain in my personal story. The others are Anime screenings, Anime n' Crafts & Video Games. If you're a hardcore gamer & if you're an adult or teenager, then this is for you and to make friends.  For Sundays, you get to participate in a Pok√©mon tournament but instead I went to Harrison's Matsuri event in the New York State.



I arrive to the Library around 11:30AM but what you see is what you get. I took a small tour and then went to the Artists Alley and met someone who can draw Shojo. It costs $3 and paid her in tips and takes about 30 minutes. During the wait, I watched the Detty Cosplay team. The next thing is that I went to Sue Lee's panel after I retrieve my item. What she said is about her career, raffles, & tutorials. It's nothing special but meeting her is random and I won't become a fan now. Her autograph poster is too expensive anyway. The next one is Hudson Chanoine. You think that he teaches you to draw or something but nope, you just sit there next to a bunch of young talented artists asking questions they got trouble on. BORING! Brittany Lauda is nothing special so I won't bother staying for the whole panel.


There is only 1 musical performance and its Hitomi & the Rainbow Bubble girls. You think it's any better than AKB48 or TsuShiMaMiRe, and then it's just about the same as all the other J-POP concerts. That's the entire story. All in all, this convention is okay. It's fun, small, boring, repetitive, and overall shit! You don't feel like you're enjoying the event at all, as for an adult I do not feel any younger. If I was that person I would like to be part of the Cosplay contest or play video games with people I don't know. Now for the verdict!



The jury is found East Meadow Public Library Anime Club innocent for successfully running a convention safe for all attendees. I have to admit that I do like EmCon myself but if I get a chance I should come back next year. Here's one more trip and it's coming. That's right, the 2nd Annual Japan Cultural Festival the MATSURI. See you again!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 2015, 3rd Week

Hello everyone, it's been a while writing a blog on restaurants. The last blog I have written is that god awful Broadway Comedy Club. Before we get with the final Sakura Matsuri event, I have Pianos and the Sugar Bar that happened last week.


Last week on Monday, when you attempt to sit at the table the waitress or waiter immediately comes up to you. Pianos made it clear that the seating area is for hungry customers and I been there for a very long time. Comparing with Broadway Comedy Club, my server isn't that insulted. All I did is serve soda & sometimes beer and it costs me money. Did I walk out unpaid? Actually the refills are free but when you order soda from your bartender it costs you money. Most of the time, you have to remain standing at all times. There are 2 shows last week which is Youth Yamada & Lulla Miyuki. I didn't bother drinking alcohol at all. Pianos are very repetitive and whenever they have performances on the upstairs lounge, I would come there every single time. The showroom doesn't allow coats and is now in effect. Each coat is $1. Let's move on with last Friday.




My 2nd visit with the Sugar bar is a little different than the last one. There is no dance floor for you to dance and there are tables there. The first thing I did is to buy a drink and sit at a table. Otherwise the waiters would come up to me asking me for food or another drink. Believe me, you have to purchase after you paid your music price and there is no other choice. What happens you get kicked out right BEFORE the show starts. Do you get your refund? At least in 2013 before I quit Reni's Maid Show, I did have my refund. Anyway my servers kept me busy with water, water & water while Fighting in the Streets perform.

What's different than the Broadway Comedy Club is the orders is not $10 minimum and the Tokyo Tapas Cafe cut me some slack. I better not come to Tokyo Tapas less than $20. What I heard about Tokyo Tapas is the orders for foods are $15 minimum. Don't you mean maximum & I haven't gotten the match. Oh well I paid Tokyo Tapas a huge tip.

Bottom line, I enjoyed both shows but at least the restaurant venues are decent. I hope my blog is at least 300 words so next blog is East Meadow Anime Convention and believe me; it's going to be a good story. See you next time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

jSny 5-2015

Hello everyone, it's time to take on j-Summit New York. I haven't gotten a chance to write it last week because it was a slow week. Anyway let's get on with it.


After an awful massive overcrowding event on Japan Day @ Central Park, I went to The Bowery Electric and what you see here is no exception. You think this show is any better than the last, and then I should tell you the story. Keep in mind that I won't be ranting the event about the crowd or whatever so let's get straight with the resources.

When you enter the lower level of the bar, it takes a little bit too long to start the show but a short brief introduction to some Cinefest of Asian movies. That's icing on the cake, I'll get on with the performances and I won't criticize about the good or bad. By the way, Rich Kameda is out of the picture otherwise another one will take its place so deal with it.

The first one plays a guitar while he sings solo songs. Now during his performance, I saw a familiar face which I won't tell you who it is or any mentions like with the Brooklyn artist. It makes me angry but why bother getting to know her ah screw it. Let's continue with the story. The second one is Ai Shindo and back in June 2013 is when I first saw her performances. She sings vocal while she plays a piano while sitting down. Really, you have to be comfortable while playing an instrument? In comparison, even if I never meet & greet Ai but her looks does not make any difference. And no, I won't follow her. Unlike Chie-Chiela I will follow since I became a friend and I got rid of some people off my list. Oh yeah, TiA's shows as well so I followed whatever I want.



The third one is Tomiya and she's kind of interesting for her band. Too bad I never spoke to her other than the beginning. It was okay though but the way she moves during vocal singing is just awkward. I would like to continue following Tomiya but it's just not worth my time. During the show, I got people take pictures of me in my Kimono. Probably because the parasol became the star of the show and that is really sad. The fourth is Shoji & friends along with Maya & Shinoe. I saw them perform in Kyoko's talent night on Mondays but other than that, there is not much to say. The fifth performance is Nob and what I can say about him, absolutely nothing! He just sings while he brings people on stage including myself and that is because I was showboating to everyone.


The sixth and final performance is Ruco & the family cats. I have no personal interests of following Ruco for her shows especially late at night but she is kind of random every time I see her including The Ideal Orchestra. She performs in funk & hip hop style much like in Foxy Foxes. By the way, did you know that Robin's Egg Blue came over? Some singers or bands can promote themselves in upcoming shows into the event and having fun at the concerts.

Even though I had a good time, there isn't much punk rock other than Tomiya but it was okay. j-Summit is always fun but I what I expect is to bring more performers from Japan. I am hoping Chiela comes back in the Winter or IRI comes to NYC this year. Whoever registers to the August event, I have to get ready to meet & greet. See you next time with the story Fighting in the Streets at the Sugar Bar.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Japan Day @ Central Park 2015

Hello everyone, it's time to take on Japan Day @ Central Park. You know, back in 2011 when they had a purpose of donating funds to the Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Fund, it was great back then and it was taken place as the Rumsey Playfield. I remember when Yuko Ikeshita performs with Aisha which is WAY back. Then in 2012 I started to enjoy it and going further it started like shit. You think Japan Day @ Central Park is different than 2011 and beyond forward I already wrote in my previous blogs. Then let's find out in 2015.


I have to be honest, Japan Day @ Central Park is the greatest event of all time and you agree with me right? People cosplayed into the park; make new friends, enjoying activities and performances. I am sure that you guys think that Japan Day @ Central Park was the best right? That's your opinion but I have to take this review honestly. Does Japan Day @ Central Park is based on Cherry Blossoms? I don't think so! Japan Day is not even close to Randall's Island & Brooklyn Botanic Garden. You think that the Cherry Blossom Trees are still active but nope, some flowers have already died out. Remember my Philadelphia review that they celebrated the Cherry Blossom Festival way too early, well Japan Day celebrates way too late. Really Japan Day is celebrating Japanese culture on a single day on all types.

2 weeks ago, we went to Japan Festival Boston and it's also celebrating Japanese Culture. We are going to compromise; does these 2 have an identity crisis? And right off the bat, this festival ALREADY has some overcrowding attendance. You think this is bad? Trust me; it gets much worse when you enter the festival. Just because Japan Day has over 10,000 attendees and runs successfully makes it a good festival. Some people do but like I said my reviews are personal. Anyway, Japan Day has brought AKB48 to the event which brings on the swarm of people coming over right before the festival is started. On my personal note, I enjoyed Japan Day @ Central Park this year but the stories I about to tell will disappoint you.


The tea has a free supply of flavors while supplies are last. It's already bad but the other free supply is much worse. The Onigiri, Gyoza, Okonomiyaki, Yakisoba is FAR worse than before. As soon you are about to get food after the performances, the line is already way too long. Does the lines have wheelchair accessible? Absolutely not! Even Japan Festival Boston didn't have gate lines but at least it's a straight line and it costs money to get the food. The Snacks and Warabi Mochi lines are short and quick No problem. No improvements just let the cripples fall on their knees.

Did you see that shit, I bow and photographers snapping pictures at me. You think Japan Day will have a charity auction for Nepal like with White Plains Sakura Matsuri, but nope all the money goes to the Cherry trees. Did Central Park have enough of them? I never told that Stamford have a charity auction too but for what cause? It says $1 suggested donation but then again I had no idea. The 2 guests were Hello Kitty & Domo are decent. The lines are smooth but they had their own fixed schedule.

The activities line is frustrating. You think it's smooth but really, it's not. Why the hell you need to get in line for Yo-Yo fishing? Maybe for Origami, Calligraphy, Kabuki Face Painting or Try on Yukata but everything else is just kills me. In Stamford, you get to select the times for the Kimono and hell even Philadelphia can choose the times for the Shofuso house. By the way I never try Hello Kitty & Try on Kimono this year.



Japan Day may have a few good activities for the family & their mothers but what really ticks me off is the line. The bandshell stage area is absolutely WAY TOO FAR worse than the food lines. You have to be in front of the stage during intermissions or before the performance even started. The performances are not too bad but on my personal note, I saw Soh Daiko, Japanese Folk Dance, Samurai Sword Soul, & Fighting in the Streets.



Until I get to the intermission with Rio Koike who also Emcee Philadelphia Sakura Matsuri, Cobu, EXPG Boyz & AKB48 had a mouthful of people up front and you can't pass no further than where you go. Last year, they did AKB48's fortune cookie dance and this year 6 members came in person to perform. But even if you saw AKB48 up front including to take pictures and guess what? You ready for this? You ready? YOU CAN'T MEET AND GREET THEM AT ALL! So what's the main reason? It's for security reasons and they are only limited to the stage. At least I didn't go home empty-handed; I got AKB48's CD at no cost. Here's my rant!



So AKB48 comes over to New York to perform at Central Park and went back to Japan. There are a lot of J-POP female dancers coming over to New York to perform but I would imagine if AKB48 performs at Japan Nite every spring year or even j-Summit New York. Only then you can meet them. However there are other J-POP female performers like Babymetal, Perfume, Starmarie, jungles, Akabane Vulgars, & TsuShiMaMiRe performed previously in New York City. The only good thing I experienced is meeting Starmarie & TsuShiMaMiRe and they're really rare unless you constantly going to Japan to go to their concerts. Even if I want to AKB48, the member’s age will really disappoint me like with Babymetal even if I never meet & greet. Did you know that EXPG Boyz performed in a really young age as 15 years old? If I were an adult female, then I am already disappointed.

You know what, that was a good experience! I just went there and waited for the time to go to j-Summit New York and am game over from there! I didn't bother writing or telling my personal story, because every story I told is too personal and I hang out with my personal friends which is stone cold bullshit. Bottom line, Japan Day @ Central Park is the biggest bastarization to the Sakura Matsuri franchise even though they don't celebrate Cherry Blossoms. When it comes to the food line, it should be avoided at all costs. And to the president, please celebrate it on a convention space. Don't celebrate here in a public park. I also notice that cosplayers carry weapons but they haven't got aware of it. Now for the final verdict!



The jury is found Japan Day @ Central Park staff & volunteers GUILTY for turning the Japanese Festival into an amusement park. Even though I finally had a good time at Japan Day @ Central Park again, the festival overcrowdings ruined my schedule time. If you think Japan Festival Boston is better than Japan Day, at least it's decent even if I come to Boston alone. Now I know why you're thinking? Even though Japan Day @ Central Park is already a success to most people, I wonder if the Natsumatsuri event is going to happen this year. What is their punishment? They should strand in a desert for the rest of their lives without food or drink. That's it for Japan Day, I should talk about j-Summit New York and then on our way to EmCon. Will Harrison will redeem itself? Find out next time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Stamford Sakura Matsuri 2015

It's been a while folks, but I traveled to Stamford Connecticut. So grab your popcorn, grab your nachos, grab your soda, grab your beer, grab whatever you want sit back and relax because Sakura Matsuri is BACK WITH A VENGENCE!

Before I get with the story I'm giving a great shout out to the Allentown Cherry Blossom festival for the Parasol painting program and am the only one we went this year. Their next one is April 30, 2016 but let's not get way ahead of it. It's not a bad festival I reviewed but it's great for the family.

So far last week, we traveled to White Plains Cherry Blossom Festival and it has become great. It has great performance, food, and the vendors. It is the best Cherry Blossom Festival we ever experience 2 years in a row. How is Stamford Connecticut? Let's find out!

 

Stamford at Mill River Park has a historic run of the planted Cherry Blossom trees much like in Flushing Corona Park when the JAANY family planted their own Cherry Blossom trees at the Queens Theatre area. According to the historic timeline, a guy named Junzo Nojima purchased and donated 100 young Cherry trees and planting them one by one at Mill River Park in 1957. That's interesting because Junzo Nojima died in 1983 and the Japan Society of Fairfield County began in 1987 and continue the family tradition. It is unknown how the Sakura Matsuri event is started and I couldn't figure it out in Philadelphia either. Today in the year 2015, the Sakura trees continue to grow and it's the oldest tree we ever met. Sadly the Sakura flowers are beginning to die here in New York City and I recently visited Flushing yesterday. You will see that the pink flowers on the ground.

The first problem you'll notice is how slow the festival is setup and how delay the festival started. At least it's running on its good schedule. The other problem is that it doesn't have its program schedule either and that is really sad. No matter which vendor I went to there isn't any show schedules. I kid you not! Here at the Stamford's Cherry Blossom festival, there is an origami program, Yo-Yo fishing (I know it's getting old but it's a babies game), try on a Kimono, & Calligraphy. There are others too but I haven't gotten a chance to look.


The food vendor is absolutely decent. You think that they serve something Asian, they actually do. Matter of fact, they had Ramen & Sushi. There is a Cherry Blossom turkey roll but really, I shit you not. It's just a roll with full of turkey ham shaped like a Cherry Blossom flower. Why not Sakura paste on top of it? And what's under the turkey roll? Is it Sakura leaves or lettuce? Don't claim the food that do not have the Cherry Blossom flavor and Sakura tea uses actual Cherry Blossom Salt Pickle ingredients and Randall's Island uses it. What's irritating is that they do not carry change less than $20 and that is something that they did not prepare. Also they should have made the bread or dough from Cherry Blossom flowers and mixes it in the blender.

 

What I like about the Stamford Sakura Matsuri is the performance. Here are the performers of the festival. Junko Fisher, the Japanese Dance Institute of New York, East of the Sun, Taiko Masala & Samurai Sword Soul. Everything went well but what really bothers me is the light heavy rain that flushes the festival clean right before it ended. So let me get this straight that comes from my mouth.


What I heard is last year’s Sakura Matsuri in Stamford when the Japan Block Fair vendors are at the site. I never went but that's what I heard from people, if Stamford had that, why they couldn't do it again? Where's Hakata Tonton, Mimi & Coco, Go Go Curry, or Naruto Ramen? What Stamford doesn’t have a good budget to put the real Asian foods & drinks back to the festival? At least is better than hot dogs & burgers. The food is not the only problem but during this year's festival between performances you heard anime music that are cover songs and from Hatsune Miku. If they had anime songs, why not add an Akiba lounge or hire some anime company to run a Cosplay program. I know Cosplay is not traditional Japanese culture in a Cherry Blossom Festival but at least add any anime or manga programs that is similar to anime conventions. Hell, even Connecticut has an anime convention called ConnectiCon. Why ConnectiCon did not promote themselves to the festival? Anime Boston did it on Japan Festival Boston. Matter of fact, even the White Plains Cherry Blossom Festival had a cosplay dance and vendors like Tenshi No Ai to the festival. Isn't this sad? My review is just an appetizer folks, here's my main course of the story.



Like I said before, arriving on time at Mill River Park after 11AM had delays. They should have done it last night or in the early morning. I didn't have a problem when I had the map from the Stamford Metro North station. After Junko Fisher's performance, I went away from the festival area to get hot dogs. There is another problem to that. Not if the park vendors don't have change but the hot dog trucks don't have it either. So I kept the $20 and went to Dunkin Donuts and only then I can break the $20 bill just to spend $6 on the Cherry Blossom Turkey Roll. By the way I didn't enjoy the hot dogs, almost all the time I stayed in the same spot just to take picture Once I decided to leave the stage area after East of the Sun, I went to the Kimono booth. What surprises me is I wore the SAME Kimono design from the White Plains festival. What does the people in some company traveled with their Kimonos? Even at White Plains you have to pay the photographer & pictures. The festival ended when Samurai Sword Soul got washed out in the rain. Unlike 10tecomai, they continued performing in the rain and that was really entertaining. Why not bring 10tecomai to Stamford? Meh, now for the verdict!



The jury is found Mill River Parks & Japan Society of Fairfield County, Inc. Innocent for properly organizing Sakura Matsuri franchise. It's not bad but repetitive. Randall's Island was better and White Plains was awesome. If you think Sakura Matsuri in Stamford is great, there is a reason why they hold the oldest Cherry Blossom tree. Hell, even Allentown has one too. I hope next year it gets better than before and not downgraded. I would recommend coming over to Stamford Cherry Blossom Festival including their Cherry trees, then this is for you. Next episode is when the overcrowded Japanese festival comes in and that my friend is Japan Day @ Central Park. Thank you for reading and see you next time.