Hello, it’s been a long time since I made an actual blog post, I hope you readers are still around! One of the really cool things about being in Japan is that I can actually attend the small events that take place here and there :). Unfortunately, Dera Hobby was not the greatest event around and it was small enough that they actually had people patrolling to make sure you weren’t taking pictures. However, the guests were who made it interesting. Hit the jump for more!
I guess I’ll start with a short kanji lesson for those of you who want to learn a little Japanese :). For those of you who don’t, skip on! Let’s start with the short phrase to the left of the logo.
東海 – Toukai –
Small Region in central Japan that’s home to Japan’s 4th largest city, Nagoya, and is often regarded as the heart of Japanese industry as a number of reputed Japanese companies have their headquarters set up here. The most notable of these companies being Toyota, which is located in the town of… oh gosh, Toyota. SURPRISE!
地区 – chiku – which means area or region.
最大級 – sai dai kyuu – literally translates to the highest grade or the best. In this context, it means the largest.
アニメ＆ホビー – anime & hobii – Technically not Kanji, and I’m sure most of my readers already know that this means anime and hobby. Anime is straight forward, but the word hobby in Japan can mean anything from BB guns and train kits to anime figures and Gundam model kits.
祭典 – saiten - means festival.
So all in all, the above phrase means, “The largest anime and hobby festival in the Toukai region!”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all that big :P. Here’s the building it was held in, I took this pic about an hour before the start of the event.
I feared for the worst when I saw there was no line. An event in Japan with no lines just doesn’t feel right. After getting a bit closer, I found the line , but… What is this, I can see the entrance?
For those of you who don’t understand why I’m making such a fuss about a simple line, please check my post on the Tokyo Anime Fair 2009. If you read the first portion of that, you’ll most likely understand.
A number of retailers were there in force, such as Kotobukiya, who had brought their entire stock of unsold figures to the event. They were selling figures at between 5%-50% off depending on the popularity of the character as part of their “event special”. Animate and Torano ana were also there with their usual wares, but nothing really worth covering. I did spot this though, before some lady jumped in my face and said NO PICTURES!
Apparently, the town of Nerima (in the Saitama prefecture) was also participating at the expo to try and rally people to attend the upcoming Matsuri in Nerima during September. For those of you who don’t know, Nerima is also the home of the much loved Lucky Star characters, and the townspeople have wasted no time in attempting the capitalize on that. They even made the characters into honorary residents of the town. A simple example of Otaku power, prior to the participation of the Lucky Star portashrine at the festival, it drew 5,000 people. After the addition of Lucky Star, the same festival drew 50,000 people. I wonder if Lucky Star will have a continuation any time soon.
There were a number of guests at the event as well, including the voice actor for Vegeta (Dragonball Z). Unfortunately, it’s over 9000 doesn’t exist in Japanese :'(, had to settle with a simple Kakarot quote. The idol group SKE48 was also present, who’s live concert I did attend, but I simply don’t understand the charm of a group of 48 underaged girls performing some god awful dancing.
The guest that I attended the event for, and want to draw everyone’s attention to is a singer known as Himeka. I was blown away by her live performance of Cruel Angel’s Thesis and the Valkryia Chronicles OP. I can’t believe I forgot to mention this song in my playlist additions, but give this a listen.
Regardless of whether or not you liked the song, how about if I told you the singer was a French Canadian? 😀 Her real name is Catherine St-Onge.
Surprised? She was the winner of last year’s All Japan Anime Song Singing Competition, beating out 3600 other JAPANESE people for an award and a record contract. Her debut track is the Asu e no Kizuna which is also the opening to the Valkyria Chronicles anime. I ninja recorded her live with my ninja recorder, but unfortunately the quality is god awful. If you’re really dying to hear the full song then I guess it would be worth giving it a whirl.
There is a small interview at the end of the section, and Himeka basically tells everyone that she is from Canada, she’s trying hard, and she wishes to continue singing songs that are inspirational so she can become someone who can encourage everybody.
That’s it from me at the tiny tiny Dera Hobby, but being able to see Himeka live was more than worth it. I will definitely be buying her CD single! Us, Canadians, have got to help each other out! Hope that was a semi enjoyable read! Laterz!