Nashville Cherry Blossom Japan Relief Event 2011

Yay!

The Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival became the Nashville Cherry Blossom Japan Relief Event! In light of recent events, many vendors offered to put part or all of their proceeds towards relief efforts in Japan, and there were many ways to donate.

 

The only foreign consulate here in Tennessee is one for Japan, and we’re proud to have it!

Saturday happened to be a very cold and somewhat rainy day. I only got to go to the event for a couple hours and didn’t get to see many performances (I had been really hoping to see taiko), but I saw that so many people showed up! The event was a great success, as also noted on its Facebook page. By the way, I suggest you check that out, as many people have posted photos there that are better than what I was able to get (though nonetheless I will fill this post up with my pics!). I was happy to have been there! So nice!

I didn’t get many photos (I need to get better at this whole photography thing), but I think the ones I did get capture the spirit of the event. For example…




Cherry blossoms!

Anime fans!

Gatherings!

People in kimono!


Adorable robotic baby seals?!

Performances!

And friends!

I’m glad that we could all come together to help and celebrate Japan, and Japan’s connection to Tennessee! I hope it’s nice and sunny next year.

(I made this sand garden, too! I was feeling out of it, so it's kind of boring.)

Animations from Cute to Cool

I enjoyed doing my past blog matsuri research for nice independent animations on the internet made by Japanese people. I should keep posting them from time to time. Here’s an adorable one I just saw, which is actually Taiwanese:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qCbiCxBd2M[/youtube]

Don’t read the comments there if you go to Youtube; though you should never read Youtube comments anyway.

Speaking of animation, I also just saw some pretty neat and elaborate sketch animations for the next Castlevania game. I actually don’t see these kinds of things often, so it’s really cool.

omg
BOOSH!

Download them here.

Ambassadors of Kawaii

Kawaii is more than just a word meaning “cute” to be thrown around by 14-year-old manga fans on deviantArt. In Japan, it’s an entire culture, one that has captured the hearts of many and slowly creeped its way westwards to claim others as well. Good thing, too: I’m weak to adorable and tiny things. Very weak.

Sweet lord.
Sweet lord.

Japan has pretty much cornered the market on cute. And since Japan appointed a cartoon ambassador of anime last year, it stands to reason that the next step would be appointing (non-cartoon) ambassadors of cuteness.

They're so cute it's killing me
They're so cute it's killing me

It’s no surprise they’re already popular in Harajuku. They look like they stepped right out of anime. They might start glittering and undergo a magical transformation at any moment…and then giggle innocently, completely unaware of why you gape and stare.

Foreign Ministry head of cultural affairs Tsutomu Nakagawa said this:

“We want people abroad to know these kind of people exist in Japan and to feel close to them.”

I think what would surprise us more is letting us know that people other than this exist in Japan. Because, let’s face it — all these foreign otaku and other sorts obsessed with Japan abroad would like to think one out of every two Japanese people they would encounter would appear to be this way.

Anyway, I like it. I’m all about style, and “kawaii” never dies. Japan already has huge cultural appeal, but still seems aloof to many. This will help.