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Pacific Media Expo 2012 — Day 3 by Nergene Arquelada (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

November 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Pacific Media Expo 2012 concluded on Sunday at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton.  The final day of the annual Asian pop culture convention still had a wide range of programming for attendees to enjoy.

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For the past several years, this convention has hosted a Filipino martial arts tournament on it’s final day.  This year included a Brazilian jiu jitsu tournament for the first time.

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Gourmet food trucks once again were included as part of this convention.  On Sunday, attendees could get a bite to eat from Truck Norris, a gourmet food truck specializing in Hawaiian and Filipino food.

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Guest of honor and industry guest panels continued throughout the morning and early afternoon.  Sunday’s programming included panels by anime guest of honor, Momoru Yokota.  Panels by industry guests included a panel with some cast members of Power Rangers Samurai and another panel featured some of the US voice actors from the series Puella Magi Madoka Magica.  Actor Dante Basco turned out to be the most popular guest at this year’s convention.  His panel was the only guest panel to be hosted in the convention’s main events hall and it was completely full.

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The Pacific Media Expo fashion show is traditionally on the final day of the convention.  This year’s fashion show featured designs from several brands including dolldelight, h.NAOTO, and Baby the Stars Shine Bright.  Tomo and Satsuki, music guests of honor from the band Moon Stream, also participated in the show by modelling designs from the Alice and the Pirates line.

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The convention ended with closing ceremonies with guests of honor Masumi Kanoh, Mamoru Yokota, and Moon Stream in attendance.  The daruma was completed with Mamoru Yokota filling in the left eye, signifying a successful convention for 2012.

Pacific Media Expo returns to the Los Angeles Airport Hilton for next year’s convention, which will run November 8-10.

Pacific Media Expo 2012 — Day One by Nergene Arquelada (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

November 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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Pacific Media Expo 2012 is now underway at the LAX Hilton in Los Angeles.  This is the ninth year for this annual Asian pop-culture convention.  This convention has a very diverse array of programming including music, Asian film and Korean drama screenings, a large martial arts tournament, Japanese fashion, video games and contests, and cosplay.  Festivities began Friday afternoon with opening ceremonies.  Many of this year’s guests of honor were in attendance, with the exception of  Z8, fashion designer from the GRAMM line of the h.NAOTO brand, who had to cancel her appearance because of a health issue.

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Other guests of honor for this year include Masumi Kanoh, designer for the brand Baby the Stars Shine Bright! and anime guest of honor, Mamoru Yokota, a character designer, producer, and animation director who has worked on such titles as Macross Frontier, Death Note, Kanon, and the movie, Air.  Music guests of honor for this year are the band, Moon Stream.  Vocalist, Satsuki, and guitarist, Tomo, appeared at Friday’s opening ceremonies along with their support band members.  The honor of filling in the right eye of the traditional daruma was given to Masumi Kanoh.  With that, the convention was officially declared open.

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The big event for the first night of Pacific Media Expo was the concert featuring winner of AX Idol 2004, Stephanie Yanez, local band, Psycho Bando, and guests of honor, Moon Stream.  Pacific Media Expo continues through Sunday.  Saturday’s programming includes guest of honor panels for Mamoru Yokota and Masumi Kanoh, Cosfest (the convention’s cosplay competition), a Vocaloid concert, and another concert by Moon Stream with opening act, Lolita Dark.  The band hinted at Friday night’s show that Saturday night’s concert will be more of a rock ‘n’ roll show, without the VK fashion and makeup, and a different setlist.

Pacific Media Expo 2011: Day 3 by Nergene Arquelada (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

November 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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Pacific Media Expo 2011 concluded on Sunday in Los Angeles.  The final day of the convention included a wide array of events.  For the third consecutive year, the convention hosted the Way of the Stick and Blade:   Tournament of Filipino Martial Arts.  The tournament featured the martial arts of  Eskrima, Kali, and Arnis and included forms, full contact stick fighting, and padded stick fighting.

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The fashion show is one of the highlights of the convention.  This year’s show featured designs from ATELIER-PIERROT, which is known for their classic Gothic Lolita styles.

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There was also a panel with some of the cast and crew from the upcoming indie thriller, Innocence Blood.  The panel included actors C.S. Lee and Alexandra Bokyun Chun.  Also on the panel were child actor Lance Lim, director, writer, and producer Sun W. Kim and director DJ Holloway.  The film is scheduled to be released next year.

Other events on Sunday included a full day of workshops and demonstrations devoted to Asian ball-jointed dolls.  It was an opportunity for those who wanted to learn about these dolls or share advice about their care and maintenance.  Another panel featured the American voice actresses from the classic anime series Tenchi Muyo.  Appearing at this panel were voice actresses Petrea Burchard, Rebecca Forstadt, Ellen Gerstell and Sherry Lynn.  This was a year for very diverse programming at Pacific Media Expo.  There were many new and unique events for this year.  Pacific Media Expo will return to the LAX Hilton next year and promises to be even bigger.

 

Pacific Media Expo 2011: Day 2 by Nergene Arquelada (J!-ENT Interviews & Articles)

November 13, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

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Day 2 of the Pacific Media Expo Asian pop culture convention in Los Angeles included a full day of panels and event.  Gourmet food trucks are all the rage in Los Angeles and for the third year in a row, upscale food trucks have included Pacific Media Expo on their schedules.  The Kogi food truck made a short appearance on Day 0, a day before the convention officially got underway.  The Takoyaki Tanota mobile cart fed attendees on Friday night.  Truck Norris, a truck that specializes in Filipino fusion cuisine, arrived in time for lunch on Saturday afternoon.  These trucks are a welcome sight for con-goers looking for an alternative to the very few eateries within walking distance of the convention.

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Cosfest, the convention’s cosplay contest took place Saturday afternoon.  Although this convention usually gets far less entries than other conventions, the competition is fierce due to the cash prizes that are awarded to the most deserving contestants.

Unlike other cosplay competitions, Cosfest allows costumes from all aspects of Asian entertainment including music, television, and film.  Cosfest is always one of the more popular events of the convention. This year’s contest was one of the largest ones in recent years.

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During Cosfest’s intermission, the audience was treated to musical performances by various groups as well as a viewing of the best videos from this year’s anime video contest.

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Saturday night’s concert was opened by local band, Lemon Drop Kick.  Lemon Drop Kick has made several appearances at Pacific Media Expo.  Their first appearance at this convention was in 2005.

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Music guests of honor D headlined Saturday night’s concert.  It was their second concert during this year’s convention.  The set list for this Saturday night’s show was different from Friday night’s concert, and true fans made sure to attend both shows.  The crowd was very enthusiastic for both shows and this year’s concert series for the convention was very successful.

Pacific Media Expo concludes Sunday at the LAX Hilton in Los Angeles.  Sunday’s programming includes a fashion show featuring designs from ATELIER-PIERROT, a panel featuring C. S. Lee and Alexandra Bokyun Chun from the upcoming thriller, Innocence Blood, a Filipino marial arts tournament, and a full day of workshops for fans of ball jointed dolls.

 

Pacific Media Expo 2011: Day 1 by Nergene Arquelada (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

November 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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The eighth annual Pacific Media Expo Asian pop culture convention is currently underway at the LAX Hilton.  This convention is known for its wide range of guests and programming spanning many aspects of Asian pop culture.   Not only are there events related to Japanese anime and manga, there are also guests and events related to fashion, martial arts, music, Korean drama, and Asian-American entertainment.  The convention returned to its former venue after being at the Pasadena Hilton last year.  Fans were given the opportunity to vote for this year’s location and so it was decided that the convention return to the LAX Hilton.

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The convention’s first big event was opening ceremonies.  Most of the guests of honor were present including anime director Yasuhiro Imagawa, who is known for directing Giant Robo and Tetsujin 28.   Suzumi Atsushi, is this year’s manga guest of honor.  Her works include Venus Versus Virus and Haridama Magic Cram School and Amefurashi: The Rain Goddess.  Also in attendance was mecha designer  Tsuyoshi Nonaka, who has worked on mecha designs for Mazinkaiser SKL, Shin Mazinger Shōgeki! Z-Hen and DICE.  Finally, this year’s fashion guest of honor is Yuko Ashizawa of ATELIER-PIERROT.  Opening ceremonies concluded with Ashizawa filling in the first eye of the ceremonial daruma.

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Live programming continued into the afternoon and evening, including a panel featuring guests of honor Imagawa and Nonaka, who delighted mecha fans with a joint panel.  Another panel was devoted to Allegiance,  a musical production about the World War II Japanese internment.  Producers Lorenzo Thione and Jay Kuo were there to discuss this unique musical as well as cast members Paul Nakauchi and George Takei.  Later in the afternoon, guest of honor Ashizawa held her EGL fashion related panel.  This was the first appearance for ATELIER-PIERROT in Southern California.

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Music and live concerts have always been a big component of Pacific Media Expo.  Friday night’s concert was opened by local band, Dig Jelly, who were making their fourth appearance at Pacigic Media Expo.

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Headlining this year’s music program are music guests of honor, the visual kei band D.  Fans of D lined up hours early to get the best spots to view Friday night’s concert.  D will also headline Saturday night’s concert, featuring a different set of songs.  Pacific Media Expo continues at the LAX Hilton through Sunday.  Saturday’s events will include panels by guests of honor Suzumi Atsushi and D as well as the conventions CosFest cosplay contest, where cash awards will be given to the the show’s best performers and costumes.  D will perform is second concert, which will be opened by local band, Lemon Drop Kick.

Lunar New Year 2011 by Nergene Arquelada (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

February 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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During the last few weeks, there have been many events celebrating the Lunar New Year.  It is the year of the rabbit.  For the past few years, I’ve gone to Chinatown near downtown Los Angeles to attend the festival and parade.  Once again, I did that this year.  However, this year’s visit was mostly sightseeing with friends and taking more personal photos rather than attempting to do any coverage of the festivities.  Every year that I’ve gone, there was a festival that was put together by local television station KSCI-TV.  It was a fairly large festival with food, merchandise, and service booths.  There was also a rather large stage featuring entertainment from many Asian countries.  The station also puts on a Harvest Moon Festival later in the year and it’s almost the exact same festival.  That festival was not there this year.  Instead, there was a much smaller festival near the northern end of Chinatown.  It was decent, but rather cramped.

This year, KSCI-TV brought their festival to Charles Wilson Park in Torrance and it was held two weeks earlier than the event in Chinatown.  This turned out to be very convenient since this was much closer to where I live.  During the early part of the day, it wasn’t a very good day for a festival.  It was cold, windy, and raining fairly hard.  This turned areas of the park into a muddy mess.  Featured entertainers were seriously considering canceling their performances because it was too dangerous to perform.  Fortunately, the sun came out and the rain stopped in the early afternoon.  When the weather improved, the crowds came and it turned out to be a very well-attended event despite the conditions.  Fans were very eager to see the headlining acts–Joseph Vincent and Clara C.  Both acts seemed to have very loyal followers.  I don’t know if this festival has moved to Torrance permanently, but it was nice to have such and event so close to home.

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Pacific Media Expo 2010

December 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Pacific Media Expo (PMX) 2010 was held on November 12-14 at the Pasadena Hilton.  This was the 7th PMX.  This was also a new location for this convention after being held at the LAX Hilton for the past four years.  Guests of Honor for this year included animator and director, Hiromi Kato, and actress Amy Okuda of the web series, The Guild.  Representing Japanese fashion were Miki Nohmoto from Alice and the Pirates, which is a sub brand of Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, and Yumi Fujiwara from Innocent World.  The Nom Nom Truck became the first food truck  to be a Guest of Honor for this convention.    Also, for the first time, PMX had Korean Guests of Honor with actor, Jang Dong-gun and director, Sngmoo Lee.

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One of Friday’s featured events was the Asian Food Challenge.  There was a slight change in format for this year’s contest.  Instead of rounds in which contestants ate various exotic dishes from Asia, there was simply one round to see which contestant could eat this year’s mystery food in the shortest amount of time.  The food turned out to be balut, a boiled duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly developed embryo inside.  Contestants had to eat six of them. The prize for winning was a $100 cash prize.

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Friday was also capped off with a concert.  Concerts are a staple for PMX.  In the past, major acts from Japan have performed at this convention.  In the past few years, there were concerts on every day of the convention.  This year, there was only one concert and it featured three local bands.  New to PMX this year was Tanuki Suit Riot, which played covers of anime and video game music.  Also returning to PMX were local rock bands, Lemon Drop Kick and Dig Jelly.  While it wasn’t the biggest concert that PMX has ever hosted, these local bands still managed to fill the room with enthusiastic fans.

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Saturday was filled with a wide variety of events.  For the second year in a row, PMX included a martial arts tournament devoted specifically to Filipino martial arts.  This event started early in the morning and lasted throughout the day.  New for this year was the Starlight Fashion Festival, which was basically an EGL carnival.  Attendees paid an extra fee to enter this event that included various games and activities for prizes.  Saturday also featured CosFest, PMX’s Cosplay Competition.  The top prize for CosFest is $300, which tends to bring out some high-quality costumes.  It’s still one of the shorter cosplay competitions.  This year, there were about 20 entries.  It’s one of those contests where the halftime entertainment lasts just as long as the actual competition.  CosFest is also different since entries aren’t limited to Japanese animation, manga, or video games.  Other genres such as Asian music, film, and EGL are accepted.  This year’s Best of Show winners were a group doing a musical number from the Korean group, SNSD.

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Sunday is usually a slow day at conventions, but at PMX, some major events still remained for the final day.  For the second consecutive year, PMX featured a fashion show showcasing the designs from the fashion Guests of Honor.  It is one of the more popular events of the convention.  One of the the final events of the convention was The Warrior’s Way panel, featuring Jang Dong-gun, Sngmoo Lee, and producer, Barrie Osborne (Lord of the Rings, The Matrix).  A short clip from The Warrior’s Way was shown followed by a Q & A session using pre-selected questions submitted by fans.  Surprisingly, a panel featuring a Korean guest was extremely popular and every seat in the auditorium was full.  Some attendees and media came to PMX specifically for these guests.

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PMX 2010 showed a slight improvement in overall attendance from the previous year. That’s quite interesting when you take into account that there was no major musical act performing this year.  The new venue showed it’s weaknesses as it was apparent that its space was not adequate for an event of this size.  It was much smaller than the LAX Hilton, which resulted in smaller rooms for just about everything.  The main floor was basically a series of very narrow hallways.  A few attendees said that it made them feel claustrophobic.  Elbow room was hard to find at this particular location and that seemed to be one of the major complaints for this year.  Cosplayers didn’t like it because there could be no location to hold large group gatherings and photo opportunities.  On the bright side, the neighborhood was nice for photos as long one was willing to go off-site.  There are some beautiful buildings within walking distance of the hotel.  The location was also better for after-hours activities and dining than the LAX location.  Another success was the expansion of the food truck program.  Over the weekend, five local gourmet food trucks were a part of PMX.  All of them did very well and some of them completely sold out of food.  Lines were long, but attendees seemed to be willing to wait.  It will be interesting to see what this convention does next year.  If more growth is expected, who knows where this event will be in 2011?

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MacrossWorld Convention

November 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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The MacrossWorld Convention was held on the UCLA campus on October 9-10.  Apparently, this  was the 10th anniversary for the MacrossWorld Convention.  Honestly, I’ve never heard of this particular convention before this year.  Out of curiosity, I decided to pay a visit to this convention.  Admission was free, so I thought that it would be an interesting day trip.  I think anybody who is an anime fan has watched a few episodes of a Macross series.  I remember when the American dubbed series called Robotech was on television when I was growing up.

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I only went for the second day of this convention.  I was surprised to find how tiny this convention was.  All programming and exhibits were contained in one room.  There was plenty of Macross related items on display.  Most of the items were donated by attendees.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot of merchandise for sale, but the large amount of items on display was certainly impressive.  There were items from every Macross series and movie.   One of the first events of the day was a screening of the new Macross Frontier movie.  There were no English subtitles to help those of us who did not understand Japanese, but since the movie was released only a few days before the convention, it was quite a feat to be able to have a screening here.

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Mari Iijima, the voice of Lynn Minmay from the first Macross series performed a short concert here.  Although most of the songs that she performed were some of her own original songs, the crowd was still entertained, especially when she performed some of the music from Macross.  The convention room was completely filled for her performance.  Once again, given the small size of the convention, having Mari Iijima as a guest is a really good item to have on the program.  Other events for the day included a Photoshop demonstration by Tommy Yune, a cosplay contest (there was only 1 participant), and a contest were participants had to transform a 1/55 scale Valkyrie into various configurations.  I found my visit to MacrossWorld to be quite entertaining.   It was a interesting convention to visit if you are a fan of any Macross series.

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Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture

September 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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The 19th Annual Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture was held on September 11-12 at Pt. Fermin Park in San Pedro, California.  This is a festival that I’ve been attending for many years.  The first time I attended this festival was back when it was held at LA City College, which was back in the early 1990’s.  It was a really small festival attended by only a few thousand people.  These days, attendance can get to over 20,000 for the 2-day festival.  It claims to be the largest Filipino festival in the United States and I don’t think anybody can dispute that.  Over the years, I’ve seen many changes to this festival.  There were times when this was an enormous festival with plenty to see and do.  During the past few years, budget cuts have taken their toll on the festival.  I miss such things as the old Culinary Arts Pavilion, where cooking demonstrations and cooking contests were held.  I remember events such as the poetry slam, the DJ battle, and the Pinoy Visions film screenings.  All of those are gone now.  Even a $7 per day admission charge isn’t enough to bring a lot of these old events back.  Just a few years ago, this festival charged no admission at all.  Every year, it’s always a guessing game to predict if the festival will have more or less than the previous year.

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This year, it was very apparent that there just wasn’t as much to see.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much empty space within the festival area.  Usually, all this space would be filled with vendor or service booths or a demonstration area or an arts and crafts pavillion.  In some years, there was a rock climbing wall.  This year, a lot of it was a big empty space with most of the booths pushed to the edges of the festival area.  Despite the obvious downsizing of the festival, what didn’t decline was the strong attendance and quality entertainment.  Usually, I would attend both days of this festival.  This year, I was only able to attend on Saturday.  Usually the bigger names in entertainment are on Sunday and therefore, attendance is usually greater on the last day.  Saturday is usually less busy.  However, Saturday’s attendance was pretty strong and I felt it was better than in previous years.  This festival is still going strong and that’s a good sign.  Hopefully, there are better days ahead for this festival.

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Nisei Week 2010 by Nergene Arquelada (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

August 31, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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The 70th Annual Nisei Week Festival was held in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo on August 14-22.  I’ve been going to this festival for many years.  I think the first time was in 2003.  I’m not sure anymore.  Little Tokyo is home to several festivals throughout the year, but Nisei Week in the largest.  There’s a lot to see over the nine days of this festival.  Last year, I did a lot of coverage of this event.  I was there for a total of four days.  I saw a lot of incredible things.  Although it was fun, I really didn’t feel like doing that this year.  It was an exhausting experience to say the least.  Also, the absence of the Anime Festival this year gave me less motivation to at least be there for the entire first weekend of the festival.

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This year, I only attended two days of this festival, which were the two Sundays of the event.  The first Sunday is the most popular day of the festival because of the Grand Parade.  Also returning for this year was the Tanabata Festival.  There were 3 stages in various locations in Little Tokyo providing entertainment throughout the day.  There was a little bit of everything–cultural performances, rock bands, martial arts.  Even with the absence of the Anime Festival, there was still a lot to see and to keep myself busy.  At the tail end of the Grand Parade was the Nebuta Festival, which seems to get bigger every year.  Seeing these lighted floats rolling down the street is certainly and awesome sight.

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The second weekend is a lot slower paced.  There’s not as much going on, but there’s still plenty to see.  I chose to attend the final Sunday of the festival with a few friends.  This is closing day of the festival.  Also absent this year was the JSN summer matsuri, usually held on this day at the Weller Court shopping plaza.  On this day, the main events were the Taiko Festival and the Closing Ceremonies and ondo.  We also spent some time looking at the exhibits in the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center.  Honestly, in the many years I’ve been going to Nisei Week, I’ve never really taken a look at what went on inside there.  We found a vendor where you can buy your own set of samurai armor.  We also found various art and clothing exhibits and demonstrations.  We ended the day by participating in the ondo at closing ceremonies.  The dances are fun and easy to learn.  It’s always fun to participate in some aspect of a cultural festival.

This year’s Nisei Week was fun, but it’s alarming to see more events being lost.  The anime festival was not there this year, but will return next year.  The organizer was simply out of town for the weekend.  The JSN summer matsuri was gone for this year.  A few years ago, the street festival and anime festival got consolidated into one event, but that was not a significant decrease.  The Tofu Festival no longer exists.  Nisei Week is getting smaller and that’s not such a good thing.  It’s a great festival.  It’s one of my favorite events of the summer.

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