Last week I went to Paris with a friend and we spend one day on the Japan Expo in the 'Paris Parc des Expositions'. We went there on Thursday – the emptiest day for visitors we expect - but already the train was so full...
The Parc des Expositions can only be reached with one train line and just from one direction (the other direction would be from the airport so almost nobody is coming or going from this direction). But the oragnization was very good. The staff divided the coming mass early into people with ticket and without. We hadn't bought a ticket beforehand but that was no problem. Many counters were opended, so we didn't have to wait that long.
Finally we reached the entrance of Hall 6.
It was amazing. First we got ourselves a festival plan and program. In Hall 6 were mainly stands for games and goodies, so not really my thing but for my friend. So we parted there for the day. I went to Hall 5 where more culturelle stands were located but also (Manga & Anime) Goodies, Fashion and Sports. From there you could also to enter the different stages (Live stage, main stage, conference room).
First I went through the culturelle stands and viewed some shows on the Culturelle Stage (traditional Japanese Dance, Taiko & Life of Samurai). It was quite interesting though I only saw the demonstration part of the Taiko and Samurai Show because my French isn't that good so I couldn't understand the whole explanations U.U
There were also stands with original Japanese food and sweets, even stands with only different kinds of Green Tea and of course my beloved Matcha *_*
On the stands where they sold Donburi, Udon etc. so many people were standing in line >.< And the food was quite expensive (13,- € for a meal and f.e. 3,50 € for an Onigiri), but I chose a nice little shop on the opposite which sold some Matcha sweets but also pans. I bought a delicious Matcha Plunder and for lunch a Yakisoba Pan and I saved a Tamago Pan for later. It was really good ^o^
Besides the culturelle area started the sports area where they prepared special areas for Kendo, Aikido and even traditional Arrow shooting. Aikido and other combat battling was also made that the visitors could try/learn some things for themselves. But I didn't try.
I also watched a part of the Cosplay Show on the Main Stage. It was really a large hall and a cool stage. They had installed threee monitors and used really cool light installations. I was impressed of the quite many CLAMP Cosplayers. But all the Cosplays looked really good, I was impressed! It was a good show^^
But I was surprised about the pretty less cosplayers in the halls. I had expected more to be there. I guess it was just 50% of the visiteurs. There were also many people who were interested in Japanese culture & lifestyle or in games so that Cosplay really didn't take the main part like it does on German conventions.
I also took a walk through the Goodies' and the fashion stands. Especially the fashion showed many parts of young Japanese style, from cupcake things and Liz Liza Style over Gothic to traditional (looking) clothes.
You could also get enough Mangas, DVDs and other Merchandise from your favourite Animes and Manga and also K-Pop Bands. But that part was like on every other convention I know from Germany.
I had also time to watch some live shows on the Live Stage. I saw the drummer group Satsumasendai Odoridaiko, they were really really good though the members were all still so young. Their drums and dance were so impressive, I would have loved to hear more songs from them^^
After them started another group: Neko Light Orchestra
Everyone painted their face black with white structure and wore blue wigs. It was some kind of Rockband which also used instruments like violin and cello and the singer had a very high voice (a bit of celtic mood), but it was beautiful and they were very funny.
After the concert I met up with my friend and we tried to leave the Parc des Expositions...
Like I said it was just one train in one direction and everybody was leaving around 7 pm when the Exhibition was closing...
Though trains arrived every 5-10 minutes, every train was so crowded and it was hard to get inside. Falling was no longer an option inside the train^^'
We were lucky that we had bought a train ticket beforehand because the lines at the counters and automats were also unbelievable long X.x
So I must say, it was really a cool Expo but we were afraid to visit it on the other days because if it gets more crowded, I don't know what to do... ^^'
So the Thursday was the perfect day for us (because I wasn't interested in the other live acts which were planned for the next days and the culturelle program would be repeated).
I was happy to have been there but I don't know if I visit the Japan Expo again because I know many culturell aspects know (also of course of my own visits to Japan) and if I'm not interested in the Live acts or Cosplay and I don't know if Paris is worth another visit next year...