Orlando Japan Festival 2011|
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, November 7, 2011 Share
Each year I always look forward to the Orlando Japan Festival at The Village at Hunterís Creek. Usually I drive up alone. This year was different and therefore better. I drove up with my good friend Jean who is half Japanese. Jean loves to talk and did most of the talking, which I am thankful for because it took my mind off all the traffic on I4.
We missed our exit but Jean used her phone to pinpoint our location and it actually worked out better because we missed the toll road. Having passed the exit for Celebration Station, we continued on to International Drive and took that all the road for the airport, which led us to John Young Parkway.
Arriving at a quarter past noon the biggest obstacle of the day was finding a place to park. The whole area was packed. We ended up in the back lot behind the festival.
This yearís festival was very touching because a lot of the proceeds went to the Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami. So much work needs to be done in that region and it takes money to do it.
What made 2011 so great was meeting friends that I met through USF J-Club and Tampa Japanese Meetup. Jean and I ran into Hiroto and May. Hiroto is Mr. Kansai who tells the best jokes and loves drinking beer. That is part of the charm of the Kansai area, meaning Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, most Kansai people are fun loving party animals that make any event better.
I ate my usual curry rice with a fried shrimp on top, for some reason. I have seen curry rice with many different things and fried shrimp was a new one for me.
Jean and I went shopping and Jean bought beautiful serving plates and a Matsuriza Taiko Drumming T-shirt that came in handy later on.
I bought a rubber kaiju from the original Ultraman TV series, called Pigmon who is pink, human sized, and has two grey hands that hang down. I also bought a plastic bento box for lunches, and 3 Shiina Ringo CDs, a Jpop star who was popular 10-years ago.
Next were the events. It was raining pretty hard as Jean and I got two seats, front row center. The rain was cold and awful and Jean put her new T-shirt over her head and gave me part of the shirt to cover up with. The rain poured down off and on and I was freezing. Half an hour later the rain stopped and it got really hot with a tremendous humidity. Then everyone rushed to get seats in the first row and Jean and I already had ours secure.
This yearís events were good. I like the taiko drumming and watching different drummers run into each other to knock one off a certain drum so someone else could play. The koto performance and dancing were good. The two events that were long and drawn out were the Judo demo and the cosplay contest. I had high hopes for the Cosplay contest. Most of the costumes were predictable and boring. There was one good costume from a Japanese girl wearing a furry animal costume that fits over the entire body with an opening for your face to stick out. I thought she should have won. However, the girl dressed at Sailor Moon won only because she showed her butt to the judges. Anyway, after the contest I talked to the Japanese girl in the furry outfit and had to take a picture.
That is pretty much it for this year. We ended the evening by going to a nearby sushi restaurant, where I had Unagi don, grilled eel over rice with a special sweet eel sauce.
If you didnít go, you missed out on a lot of fun. I will be there next year.
"The Asian Aperture" is ©2011 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.
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