Posted in Monday Blog

Why Comic Cons and Cosplay are for Kids of All Ages

2016-06-12 10.42.22I attended a local Comic Con event called Eternal Con on Long Island yesterday with my family. It ran three days this past weekend, but I could only attend on Sunday. I expected the crowds to have died down a bit by then, but there were some diehards who had attended all three days. Even though my husband had purchased tickets in advance for himself, my daughter, and I, we decided to arrive early, and it was a good thing we did. Although we had to wait for it to open, we got a good start before the mobs entered.

It was our first time at such an event, and I had no idea what to expect. I knew it wasn’t my type of gathering, but my daughter and husband are both huge anime fans. I figured I’d accompany them but didn’t anticipate enjoying myself.

eternalconMy husband had signed up for a photo op with Karen Gillian from Dr. Who. My daughter, who loves the show, didn’t want to be in the photo because, as a pre-teen, she now hates to have her picture taken. Her dad finally convinced her to be in it and, after waiting over 20 minutes on line even with a special photo op ticket that cost more than our entry to Eternal Con, the photo was taken in two minutes with no opportunity to talk to Karen. In addition, we later found out it would cost additional to have the photo signed and a digital copy made. My husband thought it was worth it, so he got both. I thought the photo came rather nice especially since my daughter had a rare smile on her face.

eternalcon2Since I wasn’t included in the Karen Gillian Photo Op, my husband felt bad and asked me to be in a photo with Brent Spiner, most well known as Data from Star Trek the Next Generation show but who also appeared in one of my favorite movies, “Independence Day.” The photo cost less, but it was taken with my husband’s Iphone against a wall instead of a photo background.

My daughter’s favorite moment besides spending time at the numerous vendors that were spread throughout the three floors of the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, was meeting voice actor, Vic Mignogna, who does the voice of one of her favorite anime characters, Tamaki Suou. Although she wouldn’t pose for a photo with him, he signed two photos for her that also featured two of his characters. We all attended his Q&A session later in the IMAX theater, and I even found his talk entertaining as well as a nice respite from the crowds that were growing by the minute around the vendor tables . I was especially interested in hearing about the “Star Trek Continues” series in which he stars as Captain Kirk. Mignogna said Star Trek was his favorite 2016-06-12 11.46.132016-06-12 15.56.46show growing up, and my husband and I could relate to that.

Another highlight for my daughter was discovering a group called the Society for Creative Anachronism located near some of the Cradle’s historical exhibits away from the maddening crowd. Since my daughter loves renaissance fairs and is learning about medieval times in school, she was especially interested in finding out what the SCA offers. We took some brochures and are checking out their upcoming New York events online. She also colored a treasure chest and created a catapult there.

2016-06-12 11.54.35
Dad, please give me more money for Fairy Tail items. I promise I’ll study for finals tonight and clean my room tomorrow.

After we had all purchased more items from the vendors — I found a Catwoman t-shirt and some cat jewelry — we headed home much poorer but richer in our experience of comic cons. I have to admit I had a pretty fun time if only watching all the crazy dressed-up cosplayers. Some of the displays also brought back childhood memories. I guess that’s why comic cons are so popular. They bring out the kid in all of us.

Here are some lists of upcoming Comic Cons and the New York Comic Con

http://www.upcomingcons.com/comic-conventions

http://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/

 

 

 

Posted in Monday Blog

Have You Ever Participated in a Sakura Matsuri Festival?

2016-04-30 09.10.00My daughter and husband both share an interest in Japanese anime. When I saw a Japanese festival advertised a few weeks ago that was taking place at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, I thought it might interest them. Although I am not a fan of anime, the event known as Sakura Matsuri is also known for its spring celebration featuring the blooming of cherry trees. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has hosted it for 35 years.

2016-04-30 10.07.56This was the first time my family and I attended Sakura Matsuri or even visited the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  Because we were warned on the garden’s website that the event becomes very crowded, we started our day early and arrived there before the gates opened. Since we’d also purchased our tickets online, we were able to use an express entrance, but the event didn’t start until 10, so we still ended up waiting.

2016-04-30 10.19.492016-04-30 10.27.33Checking the program that was online and also listed in the brochure distributed at the festival, most of the shows my daughter wanted to attend, which  included cosplay discussions, were taking place on the Osborne Garden’s J-Lounge Stage later in the morning. Since we had some time, we checked out some other areas of the gardens including the lovely Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden before heading to the main attraction — the cherry esplanade lined with cherry trees where visitors took photos among the beautiful pink blossoms. We also strolled down the lilac walk where the flowers’ heavenly perfume scent surrounded us.

sakuramatsuripockyWe stopped for an early lunch at the Visitor Center where my husband ordered a Bento box of chicken teriyaki and my daughter just opted for a hamburger. I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but also tried the delicious pocky chocolate sticks with my daughter and got hooked on them.

2016-04-30 12.00.10In the Osborne Garden, the azaleas were also in full bloom. As we walked, we saw performers as well as visitors in costumes that ranged from Japanese geisha girls to anime characters my daughter enjoyed naming.

sakuramutsuricatsakuramatsuricatsCircling the Osborne Garden were vendors selling Japanese items and souvenirs. As a lover of all things cat, the table displaying kitties with solar-powered wagging tales was a big drawer to me. Although the Yura-Yura cats were costly, I couldn’t leave without choosing one. I also purchased a Tenugui, a Japanese cotton towel, that has many purposes including hanging for decoration. There were an assortment of choices featuring the vibrant art, and I was able to find one with ninja cats, cherry blossoms, and a pagoda to remind me of my time at the  Sakura Matsuri festival. My daughter, also a big souvenir shopper, found a hat headband that appealed to her that was also more than we’d planned to spend.

2016-04-30 13.16.53After watching a few shows including a funny Japanese comic named Rio Koike, the festival was getting very crowded, so we decided to leave. On our way out the gates, my daughter commented that she’d had a great day because it featured her two loves — nature and anime.

If you’ve never been to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens or to a Sakura Matsuri festival, I would recommend both. We had a beautiful spring day and, although we missed some of the other attractions — the bonsai and doll museums as well as the tea ceremonies and other demonstrations and exhibits, we look forward to visiting another time.