November 28, 2013

Japan Expo Bruxelles

Hello everyone!

My last big Japanese event this year was the Japan Expo in Bruxelles on Novembre the 1st.

Early in the morning I took the train to Cologne main station and caught the Thalys to Bruxelles. It was very relaxing though my first thought about the Thalys was 'in what brothel am I here?' XD
But I arrived in time in Bruxelles, understood the subway system and found myself in the middle of the city. Unfotunately I had no idea which way I shoud get off the subway station and how I get to the Expo hall then. My street map wasn't helpful at all when you don't find any street names or so. But I was lucky and saw people walking down the street who looked VERY much like they would head to the Expo as well. So I followed them and voilà, I reached the Expo hall without problems^o^
Though I got really confused when everyone passed through a gate behind which was a castle-like building O.o It was really a gallery but I couldn't imagine the Expo to be inside. It looked quite beautiful:

Gallery building
But everyone was walking around the building... and then we reached the real entry of the Expo XD 

Expo halls
The entry fee was 10,- €, so quite cheap for such an event! The Expo had opened at 10 am, because I arrived around 1 pm I hadn't need to wait in line and could just buy my ticket at the checkout. Then it wasn't as crowded as I had expected. Though it was Friday, novembre the 1st is a holiday in Germany and Belguim, so I expected more people to be there. But good for me, it was easy to walk around and watch the many stands with merchandise, manga and mangaka, Japanese (culture) stuff but also American comics and merchandise, accessory and other goodies.

Here are my gets:

Japanese Obi modern style
artbook 'South Side' & manga 'Drug&Drop 1' (by Clamp)
piture of maste Yoda (Star Wars)

shopping bag with cute onigir ^.^
Besides the shopping I also watched some shows at the Expo. In the main hall the program started with a Taiko group from Bruxelles. They were really good and also made some jokes on stage.

Taiko group on stage
The next performer on stage was the Japanese Emo Punk Rock band 'Blue Cloud'. They really rocked the hall but most people didn't get up on their feed so their effords were quite a failure^^;
I must confess I also just watched them. The music style is not really my cup of tea but for 45 minutes it was quite entertaining.

band perfomance of 'Blue Cloud'
The next shows I watched on the 'culture stage'. A Japanese cook performed some Japanese dishes on stage and finally made a super cute bento of his ingredients. He made Tamagoyaki (omelette), rice balls with faces (onigiri), ebi fried (fried shrimps) and Kaarage (fried chicken) and as deko for the bento he uses some salad leaves and cutted sausage. Thorugh a camera you could watch what he was making in the pan and how he cut the ingredients and so on. I was really impressed and he maded so fast...

the cook on stage
bento is ready
On this stage the Taiko group had another perfomance. They introduced the basics of Taiko and after the performance people from the audience could try for themselves to beat the drums (with instructions from the group leader).

the Taiko group playing again
In between times I also watched a part of the cosplay competition which took place in the afternoon and last for around over two hours in a whole. Two moderators made the announcements, one in French and the other in Dutch. I really asked myself if they assumed that most of the people understand both languages equally? Because my French is quite rusty and I haven't leaned Dutch (of course you understand some words because it's mixture of German and English) I didn't understand very much of what they were talking about but the cosplayers were really great. They did cool perfomances and the cosplays looked very beautiful.

all cosplayers of this round on stage

In another part of the halls the Expo arranged a special Japanese village where you could many culturel aspects of Japan like Ikebana, Origami, Shôgi and so on. I was not so interested in these things because I have already tried them and must say that not many people were in the village^^;

entrance gate of the 'Japanese village'
rush hour in the village
Another insteresting point was the initiation of a Japanese town with info posters. This year they introduced 'Fukuoka'. It was nice because I plan to visit the city in the future so it was interesting to read about culturel aspects, life in town, special dishes and festivals of the region.

Fukuoka information poster
At the end of the day the only negative point was that the program of the Expo ended at 6 pm though it was opened till 7 pm. I don't understand this and so I left just before 6 o'clock. I have seen everything, spend enough money and my collegues was waiting somewhere in Bruxelles because he didn't find his way to the Expo hall^^; (he wanted to arrive some hours later but he never arrived and just spend some hours in town *fail*)
But I had a very good and successful day and when I will have time I am going to visit the Expo next year again^__^

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