Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cool Japan Festival, 2012

Brochure (1)
Brochure (2)
Venue: High Street Phoenix, 
Lower Parel, Mumbai.
Dates: 16-18th March.


Schedule, 16th March
Schedule, 17th March
Schedule, 18th March
I heard about the Cool Japan Festival from my friends at MAC (Mumbai Anime Club) who said anime & manga is going to be a part of it. Being an ardent fan of anime/manga, I decided to go all the way to Mumbai to attend this festival. At the last moment, I was asked to be one of the volunteers for the festival, something I gladly accepted since I thought that taking an active part on this festival would make it a more enjoyable experience. I arrived in Mumbai on 14th March. Later in the evening, we went to MAC's headquarters to finish some last minute work for the festival. It was then that I was allotted the Japan Publications Trading (JPT) booth.

March 15:

15th was kept aside for rehearsals, where volunteers were briefed about their roles & became familiar with their work. MAC performers did their stage rehearsals along side the rest of the performers who had flown in (Wadaiko Drummers, Maiko performance, Enka performance etc). The official inauguration was held in the evening (by, amongst others, notable designer Narendra Kumar), and there were a few performances before we wrapped up for the night.

March 16-18:The festival officially began from the 16th. The volunteers were given red t-shirts with the Cool Japan logo for the event. The booths used to open at 11am & closed at 9pm. The whole event was organized at the courtyard of the mall close to one of the entrances. Over 50,000 footfalls were accounted over these 3 days, in no way a mean feat! Mention-worthy events were:
  • Maiko Performance: [Apprentice geisha are called maiko (舞子 or 舞妓), literally "dance child") or hangyoku (半玉), "half-jewel" (meaning that they are paid half of the wage of a full geisha) - wikipedia]

The 17 year old Maiko performer who wowed us all with her dance. Kudos to her dedication for multiple performances every day in the unforgiving Mumbai weather!
  • Wadaiko/Taiko Drummers: [Wadaiko is the Japanese name for both the act of drumming in a traditional Japanese style (of which there are many) or to the drums themselves. The name comes from the Japanese words 'Wa', meaning 'Japanese', and 'Taiko', meaning 'drum' - wikipedia]

 They completely stole the show with their mesmerizing performance. We used to wait eagerly for their performances every day! As per them, they have the biggest family of Taiko drummers, consisting 12 members.
  • MAC Performance: Mumbai Anime Club had it's 30 minute time-slot for various performances everyday. This was obviously the main attraction for us. The schedule included a Band performance by MAC's own band- Wasabi Vibes, Dance performance by girls & a Cosplay fashion show.
'Kawaai' Dance Band!

Leon, the Cosplay Idol! :D

Wasabi Vibes- on stage

Cosplay Fashion Show

 Other events included-
  • Robot Show:
      • Enka performances by Mr. Sarbjit Singh Chadha

      • Sushi making demonstrations:  


      KAC(Kolkata Anime Club) Involvement:
      There were 4 members of Kolkata who attended this festival, including me. While I was a volunteer & Ajitabh Chaudhuri went there as a participant of the sketching competition, Reetam Majumder  performed as a Wasabi Vibes member & also took part in the cosplay fashion show. Rhea Chowdhury also cosplayed at the event, details of which can be found here.

      Reetam, performing for Wasabi Vives, also cosplaying as Ren (Nana)

      Cosplaying as Urahara

      Rhea, cosplaying as an anbu