Though I’ve lived in Boston for nearly three years, I have not been to Japan Festival. Japan Festival is an annual event in the city of Boston. It usually takes place over in Goverment Center. Because the culture fest has grown so large, it moved to the larger, spacier Boston Commons down the street. At the same time, Greek Independence Day was happening on the other side of the park. You could spend a day having a gyro for brunch and ramen for a later lunch (and a side of ramune). Both cosplay and j-fashion communities were planning to head to the event. I wasn’t quite sure what to wear. On one hand, I could wear Kokoro from Dead or Alive in her idol outfit, or I could just wear a simple country style lolita coord so I could make food tasting much easier.
I went with my Innocent World JSK in sax. Lighter blues are my favorite color and I have plenty of accessories to coord with. The socks are from a Baby the Stars Shine Bright lucky pack. The bolero is offbrand that I purchased from QTLand years ago. The rose circlet is from a specialty quincenara store in downtown Los Angeles. They normally go for $10 and come in a variety of pastels. The blouse is from Bodyline. The necklace was a secret Santa gift from Kayla S. from the Western Mass. community. The wig is from a Chinese ebay store; it was supposed to be for Erica Fontaine (Sakura Taisen), but since Chinese ebay wig stores can be a 50/50 deal, I found more use for it in j-fashion coords. It was my first time with anime-orange hair ala Orihime (Bleach) and Matsumoto (Bleach).
I took my significant other to this event. Since both of us are originally from Los Angeles, we were used to attending Japanese culture festivals such as Nisei Week, Obon, and Cherry Blossom Festival. We used to contribute to those events by being show MC’s or cosplay contest judges or even selling at the anime swap meet. Certainly, comparing festivals from Los Angeles and San Francisco would not be fair to Boston’s Japan Festival. There were community and culture booths lined around the west side of the Commons. Some of these promoted travel to Japan or taking up the Japanese language. My favorites were the booths that sold cultural kitsch and hand crafts. I was amused to see Dragonball themed incense. There was a stage that had performances that ranged from a cosplay fashion show and musical performances. While I did not participate in the cosplay show, I did enjoy watching the j-idol cover group, Showa Boston AKB. I was really happy to hear AKB48 music at the festival. We also ended up going to the Purikura booth. For about $5, you can get some cute photos printed of yourself.
This is the real line con! It was reccomended that if you wanted the takoyaki treats, you would have to get there a little before 10AM. The line circled through the festival. Ganko Ittetsu’s takoyaki was the most popular at the festival. I was in the mood for ramen and because I didn’t have a full breakfast (save for a breakfast bar), I ended up finding the line with the shortest wait for ramen. I still have yet to find a ramen place in Boston that is on the same level as the shops in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo and my hometown in the South Bay. I went with Nico’s Sio Ramen. I wasn’t a huge fan of it. The portion was small for $10, I’m used to having double the size for more. My other half and I also discussed how cold the ramen bowls went fast because of the cold weather. However, my other half was able to find a few delicious Japanese treats from Sakanaya. He picked up some rice balls and bean paste filled bread for his lunch. He liked it so much, he ended up buying more bean paste filled bread for breakfast for the next few days.
All the Boston and New England lolitas and j-fashionistas met in the Public Garden by the George Washington statue. This was a short walk from the festival area. In spring, the Public Gardens is a nice place to view flowers and cherry blossom trees. Because spring is still unsprung, we just went to the nearest cherry blossom tree to take a group photo of all of us. It was a nice time to mix and mingle with friends and welcoming new girls into the community. We had a really decent turnout for the meet – a few of us celebrated spring by dressing in pastels. Additionally, we all to a photo for LACES – Lolitas Against Cyberbullying and Exploitation to show solidarity for their efforts.
Though smaller than Los Angeles’ Nisei Week and San Francisco’s Cherry Blossom Festival, it was nice to see the city of Boston celebrate Japanese culture. While I was disappointed in my ramen choice, I have not given up my quest to find Boston’s best ramen. (anyloli up for a food adventure?) People at the event were warm and welcoming. I did run into people who decided to “ninja” some photos of cosplayers and lolitas without permission, unfortunately. It was still a nice day out. Even with a little drizzle, there was much to do, explore, and enjoy. The best part was catching up with friends – the festival gave some ample time to do so. In the future, I hope that the weather is kinder to Japan Festival. It was getting chilly through the afternoon. 2PM felt like 4PM. Otherwise, I had a great time catching up with friends and just spending the day at Japan Festival. Hope to see you all again soon!
For more photos from Japan Festival 2015, check out our gallery over on our Facebook page.
– Eri Kagami
scarlet.rhapsody @ ymail.com