Animethon

Calgary Japanese Festival Omatsuri – Running the show…

What was I doing when all my friends were enjoying Anime Revolution and Otakuthon last week-end?!

I was running the Entertainment at the Calgary Japanese Festival Omatsuri!

I explained my responsabilities on the festival board in a previous post below. Basically this year, I was in charge of the Entertainment/Outdoor programing – and everything related to that including but not limited to: the performers, the volunteers, the stage, the dressing room, food, admission and expenses for all these people, the MC-ing, the talent show… ALOUETTE! It was a lot of work. The festival was blessed with almost 3000 visitors, gorgeous weather, enough food for everyone and non-stop on-schedule flawless entertainment. I was exhausted, in a lot of pain from running around all day (foot surgery two months ago) but still managed to pull this off without any significant hiccups. I am still a bit surprised myself.

As promised, I performed during the Anime & Jpop Talent Show. My first song was “Time Goes By”, one of my all time favorite Jpop song from “Every Little Thing”. The second performance was “Sora wa takaku Kaze wa Utau” from Luna Haruna (Fate/Zero) in a duet with Yan Zhou (Animethon’s karaoke contest director). We had recorded that duet before but we never performed it live together. I think we sounded great together ^^;

After my performances, I was told by several people that my Japanese singing was perfect, that when they were closing their eyes, they were under the impression that they were listening to a genuine Japanese singer. Well, I guess I’ll take the compliment :)

Now, will I do it again next year? I don’t see why not. It might be a problem though if once again, Otakuthon, Anime Revolution and the festival are all on the same week-end…

Here’s the video of my performances.

You can see my photo gallery on the Omatsuri Facebook Page here!

 

My daughter Kara at Animethon 20 – Little cosplay Princess :)

Two weeks ago, I tagged along The 404s Improv Comedy group to Edmonton’s premiere anime convention Animethon!

I hadn’t been to Animethon in over 3 years! This week-end was the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the event – and also the return of my husband Mark Nguyen as MC for the big events such as the Opening/Closing Ceremonies and the Cosplay Contest.

Speaking of Cosplay Contest, I had planned for weeks to enter my daughter Kara in the new Junior Category and have her debut in the awesome world of Cosplay. After modifying her original Sailor Moon costume to fit her 3 year old body (she first wear the costume when she was 6 months old), I also made a full size “Moon Wand” using clay, paint and jewels from Michaels. We practiced her little “skit” for about a week to make sure she would be ready for the big stage.

Kara started to go to conventions and expos when she was 5 months old and never really stopped. She’s used to big crowds, long days, the noise, the costumes… and she’s hard to keep off the stage, especially when her mom or her dad are on it :)

Participating in the Cosplay Contest was just another milestone in her fantastic journey.

Being as photogenic as she is, it wasn’t long before she was swarmed by Animethon’s top photographers.

When she was called on stage as Entry #17, she immediately won the audience with her cute smile and strong “Moon Healing Activation”.  She did so well, and she knew it. We knew she would win something – and not just the “junior” prize. I was extremely proud, to say the least. Kara’s reputation was made. She was now a little cosplay star.

 

The Cosplay Awards were given at the Closing Ceremonies. Kara won FAN FAVORITE and once again was able to do her little skit in front of a thousand people. It was magic and the audience responded accordingly. Once again, I was overwhelmed by pride to see my tiny little girl owned the stage like she did. She’s definitively gonna be a performer later in life :)

 

Omatsuri 2013 – Calgary Japanese Festival

I have been involved with the Calgary Japanese Festival “Omatsuri” since its first event, in 2011. Back then, all I did was showing up in the morning and manage the DRINK table all day with my husband Mark and another volunteer called Lucia. It was actually a lot of fun and the day went by super quickly.

For the second year, I decided to be more involved and create and host the website for the festival, plus opening a Facebook page and a Twitter account.  However, shortly after that, I was invited to be a performing Guest at Anime Revolution which was the same week-end as the Omatsuri 2012. I couldn’t let go this opportunity so I kept volunteering for the festival but only for its online presence.

Last January, I attended the first meeting for the Omatsuri 2013 to get the heads up and everything I needed to update the website for the next event. The committee was short of a director for the programing and entertainment. I am not sure what happened at that moment but I volunteered for the position. I thought it would be the best opportunity for me to enhance my organizational and event managing skills. After Anime North Idol and all the other fandom events I had been involved with in the past, I was pretty sure I was equipped to manage such an important part of the festival. Unfortunately, it also meant that I needed to turn down a new invitation from Anime Revolution.

Ever since, I have been working countless hours to reach out to performers and groups, and even organize a Jpop Talent show featuring several singers from Alberta. I have created Application Forms, shared my input during meetings, made several changes to the website and actively promoted the festival on all platforms. I also went through foot surgery while doing all this, but that’s another story :)

I must admit that being a Director hasn’t been as easy as I thought it would be. I had to deal with people who would take weeks to reply to emails or would play “hard to get” after being invited to perform. One third of the volunteers assigned to my team never replied to my emails. Some people even told me to give up and walk away – but with persistence and diplomacy, I was able to get enough people on board to establish a solid outdoor entertainment schedule for the festival.

Did I said that I will also be singing at the Jpop Talent Show? Look forward to it. It will be great :)

Today, we are one month away from the event and I am more in control then ever. I have accomplished enough that I shouldn’t need to work on important details “last minute”. I plan on attending Animethon the week-end before the Omatsuri and enter my daughter Kara in the Cosplay Contest with her (improved) Sailor Moon costume. Did I ever said that I was a Judge for the very first cosplay competition at Animethon back in 2000? :)

See you there!