4 posts tagged NYC
After New York Anime Fest was gobbled up alive by New York Comic Con, it is nice to see a small event focused on a specific fandom that was pulled together by real fans instead of some corporate machine. Senshi Matsuri, hosted on Usagi’s birthday (June 30th) brought together over 200 Moonies under the roof of the tiny event hall in the Amsterdamn Houses next to Lincoln Center. It wasn’t overcrowded and it was far from empty - the perfect combination because I really can’t stand the sweaty and rude crowds that plague most big conventions.
Senshi Matsuri 2013 opened up with Twinkle Twinkle Sailor Stars presented by Lilith Oya:
After which was followed by a Senshi Fashion Show by Lil Hevn. Unfortunately the participants walked by so quickly I couldn’t get any individual shots.
The fashion show was followed by Uncle Yo’s standup geek comedy routine. For any readers who are unfamilar with him - he is basically a normal person making normal jokes. No, actually his humor is quite topical - if you don’t play video games, watch anime, or engage in other ‘nerdy’ or ‘geeky’ activities I don’t think you’ll understand anything he’s talking about. Today he poked fun at Big Bang Theory (a show I happen to like) and how it’s a very poor representation of geek culture but allows ‘outsiders’ to claim they understand us because they laugh at us from a safe distance. Of course he was funnier and I’m just going all English degree on a comedy routine.
His comedy act was followed by an event titled, “So You Wanna Be a Starlight” where some brave moonies took to the stage to show off their skills. Various acts involved singing and dancing.
The event wrapped up with one last performance and a cosplay contest.
The panels were engaging and well thought (descriptions taken from Senshi Matsuri 2013 agenda):
Sailor Moon & Feminism: It’s no secret that Sailor Moon is all about “girl power”— but just how much does this beloved anime measure up to feminist ideals? This panel looks how Sailor Moon deals with female empowerment, LGBTQ issues, body image, and more!”
Sailor Moon Cosplay 101: Lilith Oya brings you info and DIY tips on making the perfect Senshi Cosplays.
Basic Guide to a Magical Girl’s Wardrobe: There is no question that the gifted have a specific style, this is also true for the heroines of manga * anime.
Overall, I am happy with how the event turned out. I really do hope the turnout this year will allow the event to continue on next year and perhaps outgrow the small event center so it can find a home at the Hilton on 57th street or another very nice place suitable for a small convention. There are a few things that I would change for next year - but hopefully the crew who made this event happen will send out a survey asking for suggestions and comments. As I stated previously, it is really nice to go to an event that is truly about the fandom and not about lining the pockets of huge corporations.
HEY NOW! THAT’S DAMN GOOD FOOD… at Sapporo NYC!
This week I ventured to Sapporo(no, not the alcoholic beverage) which is a fantastic noodle shop not very far from Rockefeller Center. The prices are good and the food is worth a lot more than they charge. There is also a communal feeling inside when you realize you have a huge box of chopsticks to share between yourself and whoever is seated next to you. If you’re alone, or just want to feel like you’re in a noodle shop in Japan - you can sit on a stool and watch the flames dance to the ceiling from under well oiled woks while skilled cooks look on without fear.
To my knowledge there are two locations; however, I have only been to this one. I only know of the second location because I needed Yelp to help me remember where this Sapporo was. I took plenty of pictures of the menu and the address so no one can get lost going there anymore.
There are plenty of dishes to order, but I always order ramen because I am afraid switching things up. I ordered Curry Ramen and Gyoza dumplings and both were delicious. The curry has the signature taste of Japanese curry, but since this is a soup - it lacks the thick creaminess of the curry at Go!Go!Curry! and that is fine by me. The Curry Ramen contains shredded pork, green onions, and lots of ramen. The Gyoza dumplings are what I would have expected - but the dipping sauce was more than I suspected. It appears to be simple soy sauce, but it had a tangy taste that encourages me to just break into their storeroom in the wee hours of night… or I could just ask the head chef what the sauce contains. The first option seems more adventurous! In addition to great dumplings, there are toppings to be added to each dish for a small sum of money.
The menu is possibly my favorite part of the Sapporo experience. There are certain dishes that have been selected as the best deal or the best taste by the main cook - these dishes are accompanied by a chibi caricature image of an asian man with glasses and bright orange hair. It took me a few visits to realize this is what the supervising cook actually looks like! He can be seen wandering from the back to the front of the kitchen area looking over what is being prepared throughout the night. He really does have bright dyed hair despite being an older man - which is very cool in my book.
If you have any reason to be in the area - visiting the Grand Concourse, the Observation Deck, Rockefeller Center, or even watching a live filming of a Fox Business show; you really need to check out Sapporo. It also makes a great date with a special someone if you’re watching your money a bit!
This is going to be part of a series that I would like to call “HEY NOW, THAT’S DAMN GOOD FOOD.”
I am quite the foodie and when I am not sewing, playing video games, or in Lala Land, I am munching - think of me as Usagi. I eat a ton but I don’t even gain a pound. Anyway, I’m going to take you to some of the best places to get your food on in New York City and you can check them all out after a long day at the Javits.
My first stop on my list was GO!GO!CURRY! (http://www.gogocurryusa-ny.com/). By the way, “go” means “five” in Japanese. You may be wondering what this has to do with pop culture - it has PLENTY to do with pop culture. Nerds get hungry, too. GO!GO! is the place to be after a night at New York Comic Con. Do you know why? Because Japanese style curry is pure Otaku food. Go!Go! even knows this because they will host New York Anime Fest/ Comic Con events at their Times Square location. Last year I was very surprised that my boyfriend and I were able to secure a table after the show floor closed because we expected every ‘Anime Head’ (is that what they call themselves?) to fill themselves with curry. Fortunately, for us, they were all lured off by the $1 pizza joints that line the blocks between Jacob Javits and Go!Go!.
Alright, I just realised I didn’t really tell you about the food. Now that you know the importance of Japanese curry, let me tell you about the dishes. Go!Go! is baseball themed(even more pop culture!). There are pictures of players of the Yankees lining the walls - Matsui being the most dominant amongst the portraits. There are also reviews (from Japan) discussing how fantastic the curry is. Did you know that Go!Go! was rated in Japan as the #1 fast food, with the best rice and the best katsu? Well now you know.
The curry sauce is like crack. It is quite rich - not too thick and not too thin and it is loaded with little bits of pork. It is served over a bed of steaming hot rice with a side of shredded cabbage. You can add toppings to your rice such as Natto, Rakkyo, Egg, Cheese, Katsu, etc. I usually just order a Katsu Curry(fried pork over rice). Their sizes are baseball themed. Walk(S), Single(M), Double(L), and Triple(XL). They also offer a platter called the Grand Slam and a 5.5lb dish called the World Champion. Once a year they whole eating contests to see who can down the most curry.
By the way, they really overuse GO or 5. Every 5th, 15th, and 25th is GO!GO! Day so if you stop by and buy some food on any of those days, you get a free topping coupon for your next purchase. Right now I have been racing to use up FIVE free topping coupons I received earlier in the month during the Go!Go! NYC 5th year anniversary.
Pictured above: I ordered a Walk Katsu Curry with cheese as my topping and my boyfriend ordered extra curry sauce. Doesn’t that sauce look great!?
If you have not heard of this place, check it out. If you’re not from New York City, put this on your TO-DO list when you come down for New York Comic Con - just save a seat for me.
I have heard great things about Saturday, the first day of the Cherry Blossom Festival - but of course I end up going on Sunday; when it is less crowded but also lacking the amazing cosplayers to be seen on the first day. Also missing from my Sakura Matsuri adventure? CHERRY BLOSSOMS. Apparently, they bloomed on March 23rd because of the strange weather Mother Nature has been gifting us and dropped just a week or so ago. The trees were rather green compared to the lush pink blankets of flowers I saw last year.
Other than the missing flowers, there were lots of things to be seen - such as the Cosplay Fashion Show (which I missed the deadline for and so I opted out of seeing the show out of envy), Uncle Yo’s comedy routine at the J Lounge and other things that can and will be found at New York Comic Con later this year. There was a samurai sword act under the Cherry Esplanade tent, traditional taiko drumming, folk dance, and the list goes on… and on. Really!
They were even selling Cherry Blossom trees in a bag - but where would I have put the thing if I bought it? My favourite vendor is the vintage Kimono stand which I still have not made a purchase from. Probably because I can’t bring myself to spend 55 dollars on a Kimono I could probably make myself.
What makes Sakura Matsuri unique is that it is one of the few large scale events in the city that has not been taken entirely over by ‘pop culture’ the way New York AnimeFest was eaten alive by New York Comic Con. Each event is directly tied to Japanese culture - the dances, the music, and other things New Yorkers may not be especially exposed to. One could watch traditional Japanese flower arrangements, Sohenryu-Style Tea Ceremonies, Woodblock printing, etc. I even watched my companions engaged in a long game of Go which I do not have pictures of… to spare the loser some dignity.
I took pictures of the flowers, and of myself cosplaying as Enma Ai. If you don’t know her, she is Jigoku Shōjo or as us English speakers better know her as, Hell Girl. It’s an intense anime that you all should check out.