J-Pop Summit Festival 2012: Day 2 Recap

Kylee entertaining fans at J-Pop Summit Festival 2012.

Finished reading about Day 1 of J-Pop Summit Festival? Here’s a recap of the events of Day 2!

Bay Area Girls performing at J-Pop Summit Festival 2012.

As Day 2 started and I arrived in Japantown, the first act I saw on stage was Bay Area Girls, a local band consisting of five 14 year-old teenagers. They covered mostly American songs (including Carly Rae Jepsen’s smash-hit “Call Me Maybe”) and did a nice cover of one of Namie Amuro’s songs as well. Bay Area Girls has been getting a good amount of attention from music insiders and the sky’s really the limit for them as they are all VERY talented.

VEX Mode performing and cosplayers dancing on stage.My love for DJs kicked in as I went to see VEX Mode play some Vocaloid remixes for fans. As you can see, they really had a good time and everyone was encouraged to dance. And no, I did not go up to dance. Those kids would put me to shame. 🙂

Rome Kanda's "Samurai Spirit" at J-Pop Summit Festival 2012.

Silly samurai antics were amiss as Japanese comedian, Rome Kanda (who is known in the States for being on ABC’s “I Survived a Japanese Game Show!”), showed off his sword skills for the audience. He cracked a few jokes about his life and then fought his students to show off his “Samurai Spirit”. Kanda was also promoting his digital manga biography, “Samurai Spirit: The Story of Rome Kanda”, which is to be released (in English) on all Apple i-products and Android-enabled devices. The manga is already out in Japanese and the artwork does look pretty neat.

"BABY THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT!" Fashion Contest at J-Pop Summit 2012 Festival

Another awesome fashion show/contest took place as BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT had an “Alice in Wonderland”-themed show. This show totally triumphed over the other two fashion shows held on Day 1. There were some amazing outfits and two male lolitas (one of them wore knickerbockers!) even participated in the contest. I was so enamored by some of the contestants that I had a few personal favorites. In the end, one of my favorites did win and it was this absolutely stunning Queen of Hearts lolita who acted completely in character (even to the judges and the audience) throughout the contest. Amazing show.

Kylee performing at J-Pop Summit Festival 2012.

And finally, the star of the show appeared! Kylee has been getting a lot of attention as she has appeared on the Today Show and sang for U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this year. And this is before she just recently turned 18. She’s considered to be a real-life Hannah Montana. Whoever made that claim hit the nail on the head. Kylee brought up a lot of energy on stage and you can tell that she was really having fun out there. Her music totally matched her personality. Kylee was a really good choice to showcase the upbeat energy of J-pop music for the show. I also wanted to point out that Kylee took part in the LIZ LISA fashion contest and Vocaloid Dance Contest as a judge on Day 1. It was great exposure for the fans to see her beforehand, so they can get to see her genuinely honest (and sweet) personality.

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On a final note, J-Pop Summit Festival 2012 was well worth the visit and I wish that New York truly had something similar to it. The only regret is that I wished more EVA cosplayers showed up (though they might have showed up for the EVA movie screenings that occurred later in Day 2) and I would have to loved some EVA-related skit performed on stage. Other than that, the event was well-organized and people enjoyed themselves. I also thought the MC of J-Pop Summit, Steve Chun, did an excellent job at hosting the performances. I would definitely love to attend next year’s J-Pop Summit Festival.

Hope you enjoyed reading the recaps!

All photos were taken by Tony Yao.

J-Pop Summit Festival 2012: Day 1 Recap

J-Pop Summit Festival is about to start!On the weekend of August 25-26, 2012, I got a chance to check out J-Pop Summit Festival 2012 at Japantown in San Francisco, CA. I have to say that it was probably one of the most fun events I have been to in a while. There was a lot of great music and entertainment to be had.

The Glowing Stars on stage at J-Pop Summit Festival.To start off on Day 1, I caught the Glowing Stars, a two-person chiptune band that focuses on using video game sounds into their music. As a fan of 8-bit music from my love of video games, I found their music to be quite entertaining and upbeat. Unfortunately, the duo said that they were going to end the band after November 8, 2012. I would have loved to see them again next year.

NicoNico streaming from J-Pop Summit Festival 2012.

I decided to walk around a bit and went into the New People building (which is amazing, by the way). What I saw was the world-famous Nico Nico streaming live from the event and talking to a variety of cosplayers. Pretty cool sight to see and I even got caught on stream while walking past the reporters (props to the guy in Gintama cosplay). I also went to check out the Evangelion Pop-Up Museum on the 3rd floor, which contained a wide variety of EVA artwork, sketches, figures, t-shirts and other merchandise.

LIZ LISA fashion show participants and judges.

Afterwards, it was back outside as the LIZ LISA fashion contest began. The girls all looked pretty cute and a variety of notable judges (including J-Pop Summit’s main headliner, Kylee) gave the top 3 girls some pretty awesome prizes. “A fashion fusion of the retro and trendy that accentuates a girl’s charm”, huh? Sounds like my type of girl. Am I right, guys? 🙂

Onigilly food cart at Japantown.

Did I mention that there were awesome food trucks at the festival to serve food for attendees? All types of Asian food were available, but there was one food cart that caught my eye and it was Onigilly. All of their rice balls were made with brown rice. I decided to make it my lunch spot for both days. There was a cute little picture on the cart of one of the members of Counting Crows who said that the Miso Tuna rice ball was “f*****’ delicious!” I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.

GRAMM & FRILL presented by H.Naoto.

h.NAOTO took the stage next with its “GRAMM & FRILL” fashion show and debuted its new line of clothes for the Autumn/Winter seasons. It was nice and the music played fit the show.

Akabane Vulgars on stage at J-Pop Summit.

Next up was the Tokyo-based, all-female “blues rock” trio, Akabane Vulgars on Strong Bypass. And boy, did they bring the house down. Performing some of their hits along with new songs, Akabane Vulgars showed off why they made a great impression at their first overseas appearance at SXSW 2012 earlier this year. Yumi Uchizono’s (guitar & vocals) voice was the perfect mix of rough and sweet. Her sister on bass, Miki Uchizono, was very charismatic as she heavily put her hands up in the air to get the crowd going. Lovely, soulful energy from this band. Akabane Vulgars are on a U.S. tour right now and they might be heading towards your area. Check them out if you love punk rock, blues, and soul. You won’t regret it.

Vocaloid Dance Contest at J-Pop Summit

Finally, the main event of Day 1: the Vocaloid Dance Contest. To tell you the truth, I’m not that familiar with Vocaloid music. This was my first, in-depth experience with Vocaloid music. After seeing all the contestants pour their heart and soul out, I can see why Vocaloid has captured the imaginations of people all over the world. It’s perky, catchy, and the dances being performed are well-done. The end was adorable as many young folks went on stage to dance with the contestants. In my honest opinion, Vocaloid makes huge sense for a event such as J-Pop Summit.

That’s about it for Day 1. Stay tuned for a recap of Day 2 (featuring Rome Kanda, BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT, and Kylee) and some final thoughts on J-Pop Summit! See you soon!

All photos were taken by Tony Yao.