Instead of a cute attraction, today I am going to write about a cute event. Japan Expo Paris is a Japanese culture convention – the biggest in Europe, in fact. I’m not an anime or cosplay fan at all, my interest in Japanese things doesn’t extend far beyond their appreciation for “kawaii” and some Japanese street fashion styles. However, there was plenty to keep me amused at Japan Expo, and I even ended up appearing on Japanese news somehow!
I am lucky to have a pretty cool group of friends across Europe. I got to know most of them through Japanese fashion events in London (for example, Enchanted earlier this year). Since we have a lot of interests in common, I find out about many cool events in different countries through them. I’d seen lots of photos from Japan Expo in previous years and it looked like a lot of fun. So this year I made it happen and myself and a friend from Dublin flew over to Paris for the weekend.
If you are not familiar with the Japanese mascot Funassyi (ふなっしー), now is the time to acquaint yourself. It’s basically a big excitable pear but have a look at the Wikipedia article and Youtube channel to learn more. I decided to put together a Funassyi inspired outfit as it was a guest at Expo this year.
This is my outfit, I made most of it myself. I painted the shoes and t-shirt. I feel a little old for this type of thing now (I know people can pull it off much older than me, which is wonderful, however, I feel self-conscious about it) but I’m glad I gave it a try at least once.
As well as a performance from Funassyi, there was a stall selling Funassyi merchandise. I bought a lot but not everything. There were some oddly-sized towels that I resisted (purely because I couldn’t imagine what to use them for…)
I was asked a few questions about Funassyi on camera for some Japanese channel, I didn’t pay much attention at the time and ended up saying some pretty silly things (as I usually do when put on the spot unexpectedly). Surprising a lovely Instagram user linked me to the video a few days later! Funassyi tweeted my picture which was so surreal for me since he has over 800 thousand followers.
I met this dedicated Japanese Funassyi fan at the stage. It’s nice how this silly pear mascot can create common ground between people who don’t even speak the same language.
I also found Misako Aoki, a Japanese model who I’d met a few years ago in London. She liked my Funassyi shoes and tweeted a picture too!
Of course there was lot more to see at Japan Expo than just Funassyi. These fashionable ladies worked at the Neb Aaran Do stall.
Hello Kitty was also randomly walking around.
I’ve only played Animal Crossing briefly (I’ve a short attention span so video games are difficult for me…) but there were some cute photo opportunities in the gaming area.
Overall I really recommend Japan Expo Paris. I had been told to expect a huge queue (we went on the Saturday near opening time) but we didn’t have to wait more than twenty minutes to enter. If you like anime and video games it will be even more fun for you!