After much pony loving at Buck 2014, Manchester is the place to be and Bank holiday Monday at the Midland's Hotel was home to Japan Day this year. This event was completely free and hosted by Japan North West society with help with the London Japan Society.
Upon walking inside you were greeted by the bright lights and amazing tree in the middle of the foyer creating a great backdrops for photos. The staff at the Midland's hotel were exceedingly helpful and even took some coats into their cloakroom to help the cosplayers.
Upon passing the info desk and cosplay registration, past that takes you to the martial arts demonstration room, where a heated kendo match ensued, with tables at the back laden with different types of weapon and armour for people to look at. Shortly after an authentic tea ceremony took place. Where a audience member sat and received tea made in a stylish and methodical way. You would have to wait a while for this cuppa ! Six lucky members also got to partake in the ceremony for only £2 per person.
We also had the lucky opportunity to listen to Rakugo Comic Storytelling by Katsura Sunshine. A 400-year-old tradition of comic storytelling told my Canadian comedian in a Kimono kneeling on a cushion who literally converses with himself. What really struck me was he was teaching us about Japanese etiquette at the same time. There wasn't a single member of the audience who was not laughing. Mr Sunshine will be touring the UK check out his page for more info: http://katsurasunshine.com/
If you ventured to the right of the main hall you would find the dealers room where a huge array of Japanese merchandise was on offer from cosplay outfits and Japanese fashion from Manchester's store Tokyo Royale to traditional Geisha head pieces from Kikuya Kanzashi.
There was also an abundance to art - especially from deviant art artist Kidura who was donating all her profits to charity, a Japanese manga artist was showcasing her art, Japanese Railway Society, Northern To-ken and the Ningyo (dolls) were bewitching making me reminisce of my JRPG survival games. If you also wanted to you could try on a Japanese Kimono for free and wear it throughout the day.
A lot of people simply came to watch the Cosplay contest where a lot of entries graced the stage with their outfits and personality. Third place came Haku from Spirited Away, then the L and Light duo and first place was Lightening from Final Fantasy. All of them looked great and Totoro and the Wolf man got honorable mentions.
We also got to watch some authentic Japanese lottery where Mr Sunshine picked out the raffle winners of free sushi, tea set, picnic hamper and more. Straight after was the really energetic Taiko drummers. If you were interested in the cuisine you had a choice of curry rolls (Japanese equivalent to Pasties), noodle, rice and pastries fro the Sweet Cup Cake maid cafe.