So, following on a previous post, the Japan Day cultural event hosted by the Japanese Consulate here in Cape Town came and went, and now, of course, comes the time for me to report on happenings. Sadly, due to personal reasons, I could not stay around until the end of the event, and had to leave halfway, so things are going to be a little incomplete. Luckily enough, plenty of people were in attendance, and I’ll post some of the videos and photos – since my camera skills were somewhat inadequate on the day.
Actually, they were really sucky.
It is the first time an event of this kind has been held here in Cape Town, and as such, I believe it was something of a learning experience for everyone involved – there were plenty of positive and slightly less positive aspects to the event, and I will touch on them as I make my way through the report.
It was, quite frankly, a beautiful day to be outside, as evidenced by the number of people in the park, but this also made it somewhat tricky to find the area that the event was set up in – due to a lack of signage I had to look around rather carefully, but I finally managed to track down the location.
The event occupied a rather small area around the Amphitheatre stage, and consisted of a Koi display, a Bonsai display and a set of tables which contained information related to Japan and several traditional games visitors could take part in. Things were fairly quiet at the start, but there seemed to be a growing amount of interest as the day moved on, and very soon things became rather crowded as people tried their hand at the various activities, which included origami.
The area was dominated by the stage, which was where most of the exhibitions would be taking place. MC for the day, 94.5 Kfm’s Benito Vergotine kicked things off just after 12; and the gathering crowd was treated to a fine display of Japanese Traditional Drums by Tamashii Daiko.
The drumming display was followed by an Aikido display, which drew many ooh’s and aah’s from the kids clustered at the front of the stage. I know right? Martial arts is always cool.
After a bit of a break the cosplay fashion show started, and I can state, with a reasonable level of confidence, that the cosplayers managed to steal the show. The crowd of spectators had become pretty substantial by this time, and each of the sixteen cosplayers were greeted with cheers as they walked up onto the stage. M WEST Photography has a video uploaded, and you can give that a watch below:
This was, however, the point at which I had to depart, and so I will leave it up to any commenters who were there to fill in any details if they so wish. And drop any photo-album links if they took photos and video (there were a few) – I’ll cover as well as I can at the bottom though.
First though – I believe more photos are in order. Of course, I’m faced with the terrible fate of having to choose photos from among the many epic and excellent photos floating about. Sucks to be me, so I’ll link to all the relevant albums at the bottom of the post (feel free to add any I missed in the comments).
And now, as much as I dislike the idea, on to the criticisms – in a bid to be constructive I have to acknowledge that this was the first time an event of this nature had been organised by the parties involved, and there was a certain level of inflexibility on the part of the City of Cape Town – something the participating parties couldn’t really control. But every experience provides room for improvement, and we hope my commentary gets taken note of :)
First off – the venue. Green Point Park is, in its own way, fairly spectacular, and it was nice to have a change of scenery from CCT’s (Cosplay Cape Town) usual venue, Kirstenbosch. But it was plagued by issues such as a lack of shade (turns out I wasn’t the only person who got badly sunburned that day) and seating, and the fact that it is a community park contributed to the complexity of the arrangements, since permits are needed for almost everything (including, possibly, breathing).
Secondly – a lack of signage. Once again, this was something that would require a seperate permit, and not something that could be accomplished in time.
Thirdly – lack of access control. This particular criticism is somewhat multi-faceted, but I’ll address my thoughts as well as I can. By the time I left, the event had attracted quite a crowd, which, ideally, was the entire goal; but given the small space available to operate in the situation caused people to be standing on top of each other for the most part. The cosplay group attracted a remarkable amount of attention, and I believe the cosplayers were somewhat taken aback by the number of people approaching them. This is all good and well, but if the cosplayers had been able to set up a table from which they could address questions (which, I believe was the initial idea), it would have made things a little easier to deal with, and questions could have been passed to those a little more comfortable with answering them.
The crowded conditions also made getting decent photos something of a challenge, although based on what I’ve seen of MWEST’s initial photos, he managed quite well.
The final issue, and one that was mentioned by a number of people I spoke to, was the lack of food. Japanese cuisine is worth an expo all by itself, and part and parcel of Japan’s culture – however, once again the event ran into restrictions with regards to what was permissible inside the park area.
All that being said, I won’t take anything away from the event – a lot of information was shared, and I do believe that everyone there had a great deal of fun. There is plenty of room for things to improve, should another event of this nature be held, and I believe it will.
So – on to the readers. Were any of you there? What were your thoughts about the event, and what would you propose to make future events even better. Sound off in the comments below – I’ll figure out a way for the feedback to make its way to the consulate. I should note that they have already received some feedback from the cosplay group – and it looks like another Japan Day may take place in the future. I’ll keep you updated if I hear anything