By Brittney MacDonald, Senior Columnist
Anyone who has attended one of Vancouver’s many local conventions knows that such events are ridiculously addictive. Enjoying your favourite TV show, movie, or game just seems so much better when you have about 100 other people equally as crazy as you are about it. Unfortunately, in the off-season from about December to March, there’s nothing for a convention-goer to look forward to!
Enter J-Fest, a one-day celebration of Japanese arts and culture put together by Anime Evolution, which will also hold a three-day convention in June. J-Fest acts like a preview for the larger conventions held in the spring and summer, and features events such as anime screenings, a costume contest, kanji lessons, and game tournaments.
Held at Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby, the event had roughly 800 people in attendance, despite a huge downpour of rain. It began with a taiko drum performance on the main stage, which was followed by a Japanese dance demonstration and koto (Japanese string instrument) concert.
At the very centre of the museum was a maid café/host club. Drawing from a uniquely Japanese form of entertainment, guests were served tea and cake while a server in a yukata (Japanese cultural robe) entertained them with jokes, stories, music, and impressions.
The highlight of the event was the many cosplayers who attended. Decked out in mostly handmade costumes of various characters from both American and Asian TV shows and games, they provided a colourful backdrop that even the locals seemed to enjoy as they came out and began to take pictures.
Despite the weather, J-Fest proved to be an exciting preview of what is to come at this year’s conventions: a welcoming, fun celebration of nerdism, diverse culture, and cartoons!