This year, we caught a lot more of the scheduled events than we have in the past. We saw:
- A kendo demonstration by the Tacoma Kendo and Iaido Club
- We tried to see a tea ceremony by Chado Urasenke Tankokai Seattle Association, but we were seated way back in the room, and couldn't see anything that happened while the participants were kneeling.
- We went to an excellent lecture titled Japan's Apocalyptic Imagination in Anime, Manga and Art delivered by Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica.
- We watched a couple episodes of Revolutionary Girl Utena, which is actually a genuinely hilarious show... but also really bizarre. As far as I can tell, it's about a school in which a bunch of female students fight duels to win the right to marry another student called the Rose Princess. The show is rife with lesbian imagery in a really ridiculously over the top sort of way. Just watch the opening credits... you don't even need a translation!
- Finally, we went and saw Berryz Kobo on the main stage. My gf describes them as an all-girl, Japanese equivalent of the Backstreet Boys. This was their first show ever in the U.S., but they already had fanboys who knew all of their choreography, and were almost more enjoyable to watch in their own right. Also, during one of the audience banter breaks, one of the girls came out on stage dressed as a fish to practice her English with the audience. Totally. Serious. If video or photography had been allowed in the concert hall, I would have tried to take some, but you'll have to settle for their official stuff. "Let's Enjoy!"
Last, but not least, I took lots of pictures! I apologize in advance for some of the blurry photos... I like snapping candids, and even when taking posed shots, would often have only a second to snap a quick pic before being jostled away by the crowd.