Today we went to the Tanabata Festival in Ichinomiya, a nearby town, as the organisers of the festival had arranged for us to take part in a special cosplay parade. Tanabata is the Japanese Star festival, where everyone celebrates the fairytale of Orihime and Kengyuu , two star-crossed lovers. The first thing we noticed when we arrived were hundreds of colourful lanterns lining the streets.
After getting changed at a nearby building, it was time for the parade! All the WCS contestants took part, there was a marching band at the front and all the organisers, WCS alumni and about 300 local cosplayers following the parade. WCS Lex and Laura cosplayed as Kasumi and Ayane from Dead or Alive, while I dressed up as Mio from K-On.
As soon as we arrived at the festival, the atmosphere was electric – the whole town had turned up to watch the parade! Suddenly hundreds of people started coming up to us, asking for photos and shouting the names of our characters.
For the first part of the parade, we walked through a covered market which was decorated all over with lanterns and paper decorations. The streets were lined with colourful festival stalls and we could hear taiko drums playing in the background – it was so exciting!
I was just in front of two WCS alumni from Thailand who were dressed as Wild Tiger and Sky High from Tiger and Bunny. They really caused a stir – groups of teenagers started screaming as they went by! Unfortunately we didn’t manage to get photos (since we were in the parade) but I’ll post some up as soon as I can grab them from the other organisers.
Lex and Laura were even interviewed by a local TV crew.
After about an hour, we reached the central part of town where all the representatives paraded an open-air stage.
While we waited for our teams, myself and the other organisers grabbed some kakigori (shaved ice). Mine was Blue Hawaii flavour.
In the evening, we went back to the hotel. Laura and Lex decided to stay in and work on their performance while I went out to an izakaya (Japanese tapas bar) with Ed (WCS organiser) and the other countries’ organisers. We tried some pretty strange foods like raw horse meant, fish roe pizza and a drink shaped like the Tokyo Sky Tree!
That’s all for today but please check back soon for more updates! (Thank you Chris ‘GaMeReVX’ Langdin and Widya Santoso for today’s photos).