Right now, I'm gonna put the Ask Emi column on hold for a moment because I have more interesting news to share with you. That and nobody seems to care about Emi.
Anyway, this is my second time going to Sakura Matsuri. If you've never heard of it, it is a Japanese cultural festival in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden every Spring. Again, I attended on Sunday for two reasons. A- it's not as crazy (half the teenagers show up on Saturday) and B- the Cosplay Fashion Show takes place on Sunday. And again, I wore my Giovanni costume. I was going to wear one of my Star Trek uniforms, but decided against it because this is a Japanese festival and Giovanni is the only anime costume I have.
Once I entered, I ran into Jason, a photographer friend who knows me to a certain degree. We caught up with each other and I looked over the booth he was at (if you'd like to know more about the online magazine Jason works for, look up Cosplay NYC). I walked around for a bit and looked at the nearby vendors. They were all selling various Japanese paraphernalia, from kimonos to wall scrolls.
I listened to a performance of Taiko drums that involved children from the audience. Mind you, everything I've discussed so far happened in the Osborne Garden. After that, I met up with another person in that area. We hung out for a bit, then I went to find a spot to watch the Cosplay panel that was taking place. I saw Dokudel (
), Uncle Yo, and some of the other panelists getting ready for the panel. It was a very interesting discussion where they explained their experiences in the cosplay community and gave pointers on making costumes and dealing with people at conventions. When the panel concluded, I interviewed a professional photographer and filmed Uncle Yo. I wanted to interview Dokudel, but she was busy chatting with some other photographers. We did catch up for a bit, though.
As you can imagine, I was pretty bummed I couldn't get that interview (a little background... I tried to interview Dokudel once when she wasn't as famous as she is now. That first time, my camera malfunctioned and the footage was lost. Now, she has a hectic schedule).
When that was done, I went to the main stage and looked at Japanese dancers displaying classic dances. I liked the part when the lion came out (there was a dancer dressed as an Asian-style lion). Then I heard more Taiko drums. I like Taiko drums. They totally rule.
After that, the main event: The Cosplay Fashion Show! I saw Jason and the other photography pros get in position for the show. Uncle Yo was the MC and the costume models came out and strutted their stuff. This year, they had video game characters (e.g. Mortal Kombat) and Marvel/DC cosplayers in the mix as well as some Pokemon Gijinkas.
After the fashion show, there were a mass of people taking pictures of the cosplayers (including myself). The police (not garden security, but NYPD officers) were telling everyone to back away from the cosplayers while the professional photographers did their thing. After that, people were able to take individual pictures of the cosplayers. The cops also instructed people not to chat with the cosplayers unless they knew them personally.
The only other downside to this year's Sakura Matsuri, interview aside, was the fact that I got sunburned.
Apparently, somebody thought it would be a good idea to have the main stage outdoors as opposed to being under a tent like last year. I will upload the cosplay pics I took when I get the chance.
Overall, it was pretty good. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys cosplay and cherry blossoms. Given the size of the crowd this year, people already did.