Asian American Expo took place on January 14-15, 2012 at the Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, CA. Though Pomona is not the first place I think of when one thinks of Los Angeles' diverse Asian American community, it is a fairly large venue for a program of this scope. This is our first time attending the Asian American Expo. The title of this report comes from the Tagalog movie of the same name. We had the song, "Master of Japan" stuck in our heads on the way over to the event.
We were helping out Pacific Media Expo's cosplay and lolita fashion show on both days. Our copy editor, Jared, served as the MC. Filipino American Lolita designer, Doll Delight, also showcased her latest designs during the show. To clarify, this was not a PMX event, but rather, PMX was helping Asian American Expo by providing programming relating to Japanese pop culture.
Japanese pop culture was pretty much absent at this event. Then again, the average attendee was old world Asian American families and their children. Most of the dealers were selling food and services for that selected demographic. It was not surprising to see old Chinese adults carrying two eco bags filled with various Asian foods from the pavilions. In contrast to other Asian culture street fairs, this felt like a market for older adults. Nothing much was there in terms of crafts or history. There also seemed to be more a draw for Chinese families, as Mandarin was the preferred language of the fair.
One of our favorite things about Asian cultural events is the food booths. This event had varying Thai, Chinese, and Japanese food. Deb, Becky, and I really loved the milk tea. Jared enjoyed the takoyaki. All of us had to agree that the okinomiyaki was pretty good. The food prices were pretty cheap. One could get two okinmoyakis for $5. However, one thing the cosplay and lolita performers did not like was the mystery meat scent that reeked the fairgrounds. "It smelled like a fried rotten possum meat," said our copy editor. I asked the food booth what it was, but they declined to answer. Amazingly enough, there was a long line for the mystery meat.
The show consisted of cosplayers and lolitas doing a runaway walk on to preset music. While the event was there to promote PMX, the cosplayers had a pretty good time. A few cosplayers expressed how different it was compared to anime events. While we waited for our turn, it was nice to see entertainment by belly dancing troupes and kabuki groups.
The cosplayers and lolita fashionistas performed their runaway show two times in one day; once in the main stage and once in the outdoor stage. The crowd seemed very taken away by the show. Photographers lined up the front row to get a glimpse of the performers. Even after the show, cosplayers were interviewed by Asian network television to talk more about their hobby.
Many thanks to Pacific Media Expo for this opportunity. If PMX has the opportunity up again, I highly reccomend that cosplayers in the LA area take advantage of it. Pomona may seem ways away from civilization, but I highly reccomend carpooling with friends to get to the Pomona Fairplex. Until then, see you at the next one!
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