This past Sunday, it was Japan Day 2010 in Central Park. This year is special due to the 150th Anniversary of the First Japanese Diplomatic Mission to New York. Last year’s Japan Day was pretty lively. Ai Kawashima and Orange Pekoe came to the U.S. and gave us some good performances. This year, the event didn’t have any huge superstars from Japan, but had significant guests such as Sado Watanabe and Kumiko. So, was this year’s Japan Day better than last year’s? Not really.
With the lack of big-name Japanese stars, this year’s Japan Day felt worse off than last year. The performances were ok. I got a chance to see the Tokyo Fashion Festa show featuring GRAMM (aka VY). The show could have been a bit longer. The designs they had were ok, but this is kind of expected when they only have like 15 minutes to show off everything. There was one girl I saw up there who didn’t really look “lolita”-ish to me. I’m not too familiar with the lolita style, so I could be wrong. Toshi from Lilac came up to lend VY a hand and he made VY good. Overall, the show was nothing more than a teaser for their J-Summit performance later that day.
Minami Kizuki came up and she did ok. She was at last year’s Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Kumiko and Sado Watanabe gave decent performances. But, I feel it should’ve had a bigger impact than last year’s. If you had Ai and Orange Pekoe, then you should have someone even bigger than both, though you can say that Watanabe is in a class of his own. They need to bring more artists that are CURRENTLY popular in Japan. That’s how you stir a buzz and make Japan Day 2010 stand out. I had some problems with them finally releasing the English press release only a couple of weeks before the event.
I had a funny incident where I was taking pictures of Watanabe and one of the volunteers told me not to take any pictures, even though I had a Press Pass on me. Thankfully, one of the heads corrected her and she apologized. It just left me wondering whether she had any proper communication about this because there were other press photographers taking photos. I even showed her my pass and she still said no. It was weird, but things worked out smoothly and didn’t get heated.
The most lively events were the gathering of cosplayers up in the top of the hill. There was a sword-fighting tourney and a small ninja parade running around. Yeah, the best things were not organized by promoters.
The organizers of Japan Day better step it up next year. They need to add a few new workshops & events to keep themselves fresh. Maybe they should add karaoke next year. What do you guys think?
Photos taken by Tony Yao. For more photos from Japan Day 2010, visit our Facebook fan page.