As we march forward toward hanami and the end of the school year, let us not forget to be grateful for the advantages life in Japan offers us (see what I did there?).

 

So far, every March I’ve spent in Japan has included at least one weekend full of cosplay and nerdiness at some sort of convention or other. My first year, I went to Anime Japan, while last year I went to the Nipponbashi Street Festa. If you’re interested in the latter, do join the HAJET group that will be going! Sadly, I’m otherwise engaged during this year’s, so you’ll have to have all the fun for me. (Also, the friend I went with was recently featured in the Huffington Post.) Back in the States, I loved going to conventions when I could. Their atmospheres were giant clouds of geeky fun. Perhaps because of this, I’ve found most Japanese conventions to be a bit of a let-down. The cosplay rules are stifling in that you are not allowed to arrive in costume and must pay to get changed in tarp tents on concrete. Freaking out the unsuspecting Seattleites was part of the joy of going to Sakura Con in droves. Also absent are game panels of the non-video persuasion. Of everything I’ve attended here, though, the Street Festa is by far the most enjoyable (perhaps because you can roam at least some streets costume-clad).

 

This month, we have a variety of articles, and I’ve found at least several to be highly entertaining. Under review are pizza from two different sources, the Rurouni Kenshin Takarazuka Revue, Slade House at the most recent book club meeting, and the city of Kagoshima. Inside are also musings on money, a recipe for milk stew, advice for maximizing your enjoyment of the imminent hanami season, a short story about unrequited love, and our alumni of the month, Gina Panozzo.

 

That other guy might have better conventions, or a car with a great bulid and paint job, but everywhere/thing/one has their strengths and weaknesses. Focusing on what you love and learning how to overcome your flaws can help you lead a fulfilling life. Go get ‘em, tiger.

 

Brittany Teodorski