29th & 30th September 2018: Japan Weekend Madrid (Spain)

The “Japanese culture convention” Japan Weekend was held in Ifema, Madrid, over the weekend. The big problem with conventions tend to be the organisers. At some point they bestow on themselves an importance they lack, and decide to either micromanage everything, or act as if they were the reason why people visit. It’s amusing looking back, but annoying when you have to deal with them (such as m mini riff-raff at the Salón del Manga de Alicante). Japan Weekend in Madrid is not an exception to this trend

The reason why I wanted to attend this event was the presence of a Japanese comedian Kazuhito Kosaka characterised as his persona Pikotaro, a “singer” known for his histrionic personality, flashy clothing and a silly song which parodies English teaching in Japan, PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen) (I actually have not confirmed that it is such a parody but I’ve heard enough from English teachers in Japan to be quite convinced). After a joke or three among friends, I decided to attend, under the premise that “you wouldn’t dare troll Pikotaro”.

Japan Weekend spanned over the whole weekend. I attended both days, and on Saturday I brought my sibling over. The acts and activities we attended were:

Mitsuru Nagata’s sumi-e show: Mitsuru Nagata is a Japanese-born, Barcelona-living artist who creates pieces of art and calligraphy using traditional Japanese ink techniques (sumi-e).

Wasuta: The World Standard concert: A girl band of cute bouncy girls who aim to “spread kawaii (cute) culture around the world”. There used to be a running gag back when I was young that “cute things kill people”.

ITSUKA (Charisma.com) concerts: A lady-rapper and techno artist with a really strong presence that I really liked.

Pikotaro concerts and Meet & Greets. The whole point of attending the convention were these two events. The concerts were amusing to say the least, though truth be told, Japanese personalities who sing are not the most musically inclined sometimes. There were paper masks handed out, that could be used during the M&G for autographs. There were four or five songs, of course one of them was Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen, Neo Sunglasses (which made me laugh out loud), and Can you see? I’m sushi, which is the one I used for the first M&G. I put some sushi badges and pins on my neck scarf and told him the same. He found it hysterical. The following day I printed out the picture we got together, signed one copy for him and asked him to dedicate the other one to me. Also, shout-out to the translator who remembered me from one day to the other and left me to my own devices.