In my intent to be more aware of what is going on around me culturally, I went to Hanami convention on Sunday. It is a yearly convention of (mostly) German fans of Japanese pop culture, so I was expecting to see a few cosplayers (put somewhat bluntly: people who dress up in costumes to look like a fictional character or mix of elements associated with a fictional / popcultural style). It is fair to say I was not disappointed. In fact, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who had dressed up in any variety of anime-, Japan-, or just general fantasy or fan-culture related outfits; I saw a Tuskan Raider (sandman), for instance, which did not strike me as particularly Japanese.
Thankfully for me as a naturally shy person when people go to that much pain to look extraordinary not only are they a joy to photograph visually, they are a joy to photograph period. I have in the past had people pose for me, ask me to take their image (actually some random guy asked me to have his picture taken just two hours ago as I was walking and photographing by the Nekar canal in Jungbusch), and pay me to have their pictures taken (weddings or other formal occasions). In all of these cases they were obviously happy to have their picture taken, but I have never had such a large group of strangers so excited to be photographed not only by me, but by anybody – certainly not strangers from my own cultural circle who are so used to cameras. In fact, the only somewhat similar experience was at Wave-Gotik-Treffen, but of course being too enthusiastic is not very gothic. It is cosplay / Japanimation, however. And from the impression I got quite a number of visitors spent a good deal of time being photographed by one after the other person with camera.
Anyway, here are some impressions from Hanami 2014. I definitely look forward to Hanami 2015.
If you are in one of the pictures, feel free to download the picture and leave me a comment. If you’re not in the pictures but know I took a picture of you email me.