Wednesday, May 27, 2015

AnimeJapan 2015

During the busy mess of preparing to complete the work year and pack up my apartment, I noticed an advertisement in 7-11 for AnimeJapan, an anime convention held at Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba.  It wasn't until I saw this poster that I had considered attending a convention in Japan.   Although I was already stressed about finishing up my year, I thought it would be worth trying something fun and new.

I was surprised by the many differences between Japanese and American convention culture.  The first major difference between Japanese and American convention culture that I noticed was the ticket price.  A single day pass for AnimeJapan was only 1,600 JPY (~$13 USD) rather than the $30-$50 per day in America.  Similar to when you buy tickets for most events in Japan, you do so through a machine at a convenience store.  There were some options for AnimeJapan tickets besides konbini though.

I didn't expect or consider how industry-heavy a convention in Japan would be.  There didn't seem to be anything like the fan organized panels that are popular at foreign conventions or an artist alley.  It mostly felt like a huge dealer's room full of booths set up by animation studios and companies that make games and merchandise.  There were still performances and panels but it was missing the fan organized element that's so prevalent at conventions outside of Japan.

I was happy to see so much Love Live cosplay because it's one of my favorite recent anime series.  All of the cosplay was really good too.  There weren't any of those silly cosplays that were clearly thrown together last minute but in some ways I missed it.  I liked this one area where cosplayers were posing against backdrops and photographers could come take their photos.  

I just realized the other day that I had never posted these photos and written about AnimeJapan but thought it was appropriate to do anyway because of all the conventions this season.  I decided to go to Otakon for the first time this summer.  Will you go to any conventions this summer?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rabbit Cafe Experience at Ra.a.g.f Harajuku

As much as I hate to admit it, I have been home from Japan for the past 4 weeks.  I got consumed by a whirlwind of responsibilities, mostly pertaining to singlehandedly moving out of an apartment in the middle of nowhere Japan, so this blog post from February is hugely overdue but that doesn't mean it's any less important.

When most people think of Valentine's Day plans, they probably don't think about spending an hour at a place called Rabbit and Grow Fat but that's exactly what my friend Natalie and I did.  I think I speak for us both when I say we have no regrets about spending our Valentine's Day in the company of many rabbits.

Natalie and I had previously discussed our mutual interest in checking out a rabbit cafe and did some Googling to find Ra.a.g.f.  If you click on the "staff" button,  you can see which rabbits are at each cafe.  Here is an easy link for those of you who can't read Japanese: Ra.a.g.f. staff.  Ra.a.g.f. actually has a location in Harajuku and Jiyugaoka but we chose to check out the Harajuku one.

Ra.a.g.f. Harajuku is located in a building on a quiet street.  The sign outside made it quite easy to find.  Their logo is pretty silly, isn't it?

The rates were reasonable too: 700 JPY for 30 minutes, 1,100 JPY for an hour and 550 JPY for every additional 30 minutes.  This fee also includes a drink.  Also, you can and definitely should buy rabbit food for the extra 150 JPY because it was really fun to feed all the cute bunnies!

We didn't make an advance reservation so when we arrived, they gave us a ticket and told us to come back in 30 minutes.  When we returned, they allowed us to come in and explained some rules about how to interact with the rabbits.  The rabbits are kept in cages but you could choose which ones you wanted to play with.

Natalie made a friend.

Some of them were unable to come out and play because they need to rest for a while after interacting with customers.  Even if the rabbits weren't roaming about the room, you are still free to pet them in their cages.  I think that all the rabbits were available for adoption as well. I really wish I could have taken one home.

My favorite rabbit was this Giant French Lop which was so big!  I had never seen one in person so I was so excited to meet Mittsu.  All the rabbits were super cute and friendly though.

I definitely recommend making Ra.a.g.f. a part of your trip to Harajuku.  You don't have to be afraid to go if you can't read or speak Japanese because the some of the staff could speak English.  And if rabbits weren't enough, there's a cat cafe across the hall.

☆ Access ☆
Address: Maison Harajuku 3F, 6-14-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Telephone: 03-6805-0328