sword fights, princesses and free hugs

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During my trip to the Düsseldorf area I was lucky to catch the Japan day, a celebration of Japanese culture that happens once a year in Düsseldorf. This might sound weird – why would that happen in a German city – but as a matter of fact there is a rather large Japanese population in Düsseldorf. One neighbourhood is almost entirely Japanese to the extent that some shop owners don’t seem to speak a word of German and at the university quite a number of my friends studied Japanese. Recently we were even watching a Japanese anime called Monster that was set in Düsseldorf.

Although I have lived in Düsseldorf many years it was actually my first visit to the Japan day. While I lived there it definitely seemed to be a rather different event than it is now. I was accompanied by a friend who studied Japanese at the university and he told me that in recent years the event has been taken over by a very odd subculture, namely cosplayers. These are people who dress up like characters in mangas and animes. Since these people are quite a sight the event now attracts huge crowds and it took ages to cover a rather short stretch of river promenade. I’m not a fan of crowds, but as you can see, braving them was well worth it. What a bunch of extremely odd pictures! Tomorrow, more from Japan day, but those will be the ones that definitely have be in colour to make sense.

All pictures taken with: Olympus Pen E-PL3 and Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 ASPH.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Sword fight …

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

She was wearing a wig.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

We went to an exhibition of Japanese art in a government building and I actually had to have my bag scanned like at the airport. If I had been carrying a film camera I wouldn’t have gone in. Although it seemed like a slightly stuffy affair there were kids playing on the balcony too.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Strange use of a piano. The guy on the left was quite good at it, so I assume it’s his piece.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

These people are too touchy feely for me. Free hugs? Seriously?! Well, but there were quite a few incarnations of Chi or persocoms in general. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about: Check out the anime Chobits. It’s one of my favourites.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

I usually leave my toy bunny at home …

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

The punk on the left with his badly styled mohawk (I had one myself when I was younger) probably wasn’t too much into the free hugs business, but who knows. I like how the one girl hugging doesn’t let go of her boyfriend’s (?) hand.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Not the only one in a furry costume … they must have been sweating like crazy, it was really hot out.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Somehow the guy (?) with the bow tie looks like a waiter.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Torture scene reenactment. Very disturbing to me …!

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Lost princess. Anyone know which character that is?

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Not only swords, but also rifles.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

He must have managed to get through to one of the stalls … we didn’t even try.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Well, apparently the world didn’t end in 2012.

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