Canterbury Japan Day 2018

Canterbury Japan Day is an annual event organised by The Japanese Society of Canterbury with the aim of sharing authentic Japanese culture with Cantabrians. In 2018 it will take place from 9.30am to 4.30pm on Sunday 4 March at Riccarton Park, 165 Racecourse Road.

The theme this year is the Japanese Summer. The venue will be filled with decorations relating to Tanabata – The Summer Star Festival. There will be stalls, indoor events, an anime cosplay cafe and outdoor events.

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The history of Canterbury Japan Day

The inaugural Canterbury Japan Day was held on 11 March 2012 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Japanese Society of Canterbury and the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Japan. It also marked the anniversary of the 2011 East Japan earthquake and tsunami.

Canterbury Japan Day
Canterbury Japan Day, Flickr CCL-2012-03-11-CanterburyJapanDay-March-2012 DSC_0569.JPG

 

 

Ditch Hollywood, see the world instead

The recent Reel Anime Film Festival at Rialto proved to me once again that just as translated books offer alternative ways of telling stories, foreign movies can take you light-years away from Hollywood  formulas.

In the brochure, Summer Wars looked like a standard teen love story. Meh. King of Thorn  – dystopian sci-fi.  Meh-be. In the theatre, both of them took my preconceptions, ripped them to shreds, stomped on them, set them on fire and then threw them out the window.

CoverKing of Thorn, in particular, is a truly outstanding piece of cinema.   If I say it is a fantasy/horror/science-fiction/action-adventure retelling of Sleeping Beauty, set in the near future, this will still fail to capture any of its magic.  My movie-watching buddy said  it had completely altered his perceptions of everything in the universe.

And that’s the very best thing about these movies – that they take our pre-conceived ideas, shake them around, turn them upside down and hand them back to us, bigger, better and brighter than before.

To shake up your world:  search the catalogue for international films, by typing feature films and  a country into the search box, like this:

Then sit back and brace yourself …

Armageddon – cosplay, comics and cat ears

Photos from Armageddon Expo

So we’ve made it through Day One of possibly the most unusual convention that Christchurch sees each year.  For those who don’t know, Armageddon is a yearly sci-fi/ fantasy/ comic /anime /manga /gamer /f an-based event that runs in two or three cities around New Zealand.  It’s a chance to dress up (or cosplay), to see tv and movie stars, watch anime on a big screen, buy really cool stuff, beat people up with giant inflatable sticks, or just hang out and talk nerdy.  There are teenagers EVERYwhere, and I am very jealous.  They get to wear cat ears, bear suits, capes, wigs and wings, while us grown-ups have to make do with buying steampunk jewellery and talking to internationally famous authors. 

Robert Rankin is here, promoting his latest book Retromancer, and happily having his photo taken with librarians.  We talk about kiwi book events, and he says he is astonished and appalled at book prices here.  No wonder we don’t buy his books in the shops here, he says – he wouldn’t either, at more than $40 for a paperback.  He is charming, and witty, and we rush off to the library to get a FREE copy of one of his books to take home. 

We also stop by the main stage to hear Paul McGann talk about Doctor Who, Hornblower, Withnail and I, Aliens and dozens of other movies and shows he’s been in.  The level of fan love is scary, but also kind of inspiring. 

There are signing tables with voice actors from Naruto, X-Men and Dragonball Z, comic artists Christian Gossett, Michael Allred and Francis Manapul, and, mesmerisingly, a large wrestling ring with mostly naked men leaping around and yelling a lot. 

Best costume of the day:  my pick is L from Death Note, just because he really does look just like him.  Most classic moment:  a fan asks Paul McGann to sing the Doctor Who theme tune, AND HE DOES. 

Day Two brings the cosplay competition, panels with Star Trek and Heroes stars, an Easter Egg Hunt and a giant pillow fight.   And possibly some more of that steampunk jewellery …