A weekend of Japanese culture

It has been a fabulous weekend with Katherine Faith, Griffin, Miigwans and Raven at the AnimeNorth Convention in Toronto.

Our family weekend started on Friday morning when we picked Waabgwaniikwenz up at the airport. She’s getting so grown up and tall. I’m so happy to be spending the weekend with her.

She’s developing a bit of a responsible nurturing side during her berry fast, looking after the Boyz, and reminding Daddy to look after my blood sugar.

We spend the rest of Friday downtown, taking in the sites, walking the CN Tower glass floor, riding the subway and shopping at the Eaton’s Centre and in funky urban shoestores on Yonge Street.

Unfortunately, Miigwans had to go home Friday night – because he was feeling sick. But the rest of us stayed and played, enjoying the thousands of costumed anime fans that have gathered at the Toronto Congress Centre.

Anime is the popular art of Japanese animation – a hodge-podge of cute, cuddly, sexy, mystical, and some violent warrior type characters and storylines.

On Saturday, Kat dressed as Sakura, a character from Naruto. Today, she’s wearing a beautiful black and pink geisha dress complete with traditional Japanese umbrella and folding fan. She’s so beautiful. A couple of people commented on her costumes over the weekend.

The costumes are really quite amazing and creative. From the plushy, furry mascot-types… the elegant geishas… hundreds of elaborate ninja warriors… winged demons… everywhere there are scantily-clad schoolgirls… all carrying some sort of ballistic or stabbing weapon.

The term fan (short for fanatic) is really highly appropriate here. These people are highly creative, motivated and skilled to be able to put all these costumes together.

I don’t even come close to knowing all the characters and storylines: Naruto, Pokemon, Inu Yasha, Avatar, Fruits Basket, Death Note, Sailor Moon, Gundam Seed, just to name a few.

The girls really enjoyed themselves last night at the AnimeNorth J-Pop Dance. A few hundred Anime characters moshed together in a safe, family-oriented sober dance – all having the time of their lives. After checking our the dance with Griffin for a half-hour, we left the girls to dance the evening away. Katherine Faith, still on her berry fast made sure she kept at least one foot on the ground. She really had no choice, having sprained her ankle running in the hotel room a few hours earlier.

Right now, we’re reading quietly in the Manga Library in the Convention hotel. Griffin is playing his new Pokemon role-playing game while eating lots of pocky, a Japanese cookie/chocolate candy. Each of us has a copy of our favorite Japanese manga – which is kind of like a comic book that we read in cells, left to right, back to front.

The highlight for me was spending time with Katherine Faith in the swimming pool with an above ground pool pump, seeing Raven’s pride in enjoying and finishing her teen-oriented manga (“I can’t believe I read the whole book!”), shopping with Griffin, and eating Japanese food and sushi with all my little people on Friday.

Katherine Faith was the one that got us all involved in this – a beautiful, and outrageous part of Japanese culture.  I’m sure we are going to make this an annual event for our family.

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