JP and I decided to stop by Japan Day again this year. When I say “stop by” I really mean it as we didn’t spend more than an hour there this year.
While they added a few new things this year, they took away some good stuff from last year too. For example last year they had that talking robot tent. It was that Japanese lady android who could speak in English and Japanese. However this year it wasn’t there and in its place they added “photos with a kimono clad Hello Kitty.” Well I suppose this will get all the kiddies lining up (and did they line up) but I just grabbed this photo and moved on.
The crowd this year was ridiculous. If you look in the photo above, that’s not a mob of people standing around watching the stage. That right there is lines from both sides waiting to get free yakitori and yakisoba. Give me a fucking break. Go to the multitude of JP restaurants in NYC and pay the fucking $6 and get your pre-packaged yakisoba geezus. It’s like these people have been starving for the last 3 months and finally they can get some free food or something. Even lines in Russia for McDonalds weren’t this long
We stopped by the tea ceremony tent but of course all the snacks and stuff got handed out to those who got there probably right as it opened. It was kinda cool to watch but I didn’t wanna stand burning in the sun so we left that after a few minutes as well.
Overall here were the positives for me: The first tent when you came in had like a MASS (way more than last year) brochures about Japan travel. We picked up a ton of them relating to Tokyo for our first ever trip to Japan in 2010. We also stopped by the tea tent, but unlike last year they didn’t let us grab like 5 cans, so we only got 3 bottles of tea. Actually 2 were uron-cha that I only drank because it was BURNING hot. It’s strange too because it’s not like the weather was hot, in fact in the shade it was quite cool, but the sun was like directly burning on the entire area. This means even if you stood in the sun for 5 minutes you could just feel your head bbqing. Needless to say I didn’t want Japan Day sunburn part deux so we grabbed all our pamphlets and tea and headed home.
While the stage stuff was nice to listen to, particularly that Umami group, I didn’t really care to stay to hear the rest. I really liked Shimizu Shota last year, but I just couldn’t care less for any of the artists they had this year. Sadly a lot of good Japanese guests have cancelled their appearances to any of the events in NY thanks to the infamous swine flu that’s spreading like the plague in Queens. Maybe next year there will be something worth sticking around for.