Makuhari Messe is one heck of a ginormous exposition facility, big enough to accomodate the Millennium Falcon, Jabba the Hutt, numerous Darth Vaders AND Han Solo’s ego all at once. When Star Wars came to Tokyo, I had to go along to help celebrate.
Kei is a funky if kind of mad old guy I met one night on a random photo-walk through Shinjuku’s skyscraper district (West). I was on the bridge shooting pretty city lights and so was he, me with my dSLR and he with some weirdly contrived home-made compact camera.
Once a year Anime fans from all over the world descend on Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba for the huge Tokyo International Anime Fair, filled out with cosplayers garbed as their favourite cartoon characters, live banjo shows and coming movie previews, gundam statues, huge parade balloons of anime favourites, stalls selling pillows printed with manga stars, scarcely dressed sword-wielding plastic models, unicorned robots, and a lot of cheerful people spending money, posing, and taking photographs. Full Metal Alchemist
In Akihabara electric town, a district a bit north of Tokyo and jam-packed with a riot of tech-shops selling all manner of computer gear and accessories, the Akihabara maids roam. Decked out in frilly French maid outfits, wide-eyed and gushingly friendly to perps, they prey on the nerdy ‘otaku’ that inhabit Akiba’s warren of back-streets like level 3 kobolds in a beginner dungeon. Pretty in pink.
Sunglasses, pomade, gravity-defying quiffs, leather jackets, black gloves, check. 50’s music, party atmosphere, gyrating hips and waggling bent knees, chicks in preppy floral dresses, crowding camera-toting tourists- BAM!- welcome to the Tokyo Rockabilly club- Yoyogi chapter. Showing his gang colors- black, leather.
At the meeting point of the painfully fashionable Omotesando street and the city-looping Yamanote train line, triangulated between Harajuku`s ultra-hip boutique fashion zone Takeshita street, the soaring lines of Kenzo Tange`s 1964 Olympic Gymnasium, and the giant red tori gate at the entrance to the 88 year old Meiji Jingu shrine, you`ll find the Harajuku cosplayers. `Cosplay` is a Japanese popularization of a common concept: costume play. In other cultures such dressing-up has traditionally been reserved for Halloween parties, college toga parties, and masque balls. In Japan, cosplay is perennial- on the bridge outside Meiji Jingu they can be found …
I started reading some Japanese manga recently. Here’s a photo of the ones I’ve read so far: Here’s a rough breakdown of their content: Crows- A blonde kid with super fighting powers turns up at the Crows school and starts kicking everybody’s asses because they get in his way. One-Piece- A kid with special powers (GUM-U GUM-U Mr. Fantastic-style stretchy body, allowing for GUM-U GUM-U rocket punch and etc..) wants to become the Pirate King, and kicks everyone’s asses because they get in his way. Naruto- A ninja kid with special powers (he’s got strong magic maybe) acts like an …