Cool Japan Festival 2015: Bringing the Japan Experience to the Philippines

Japanophiles flocked the Activity Center of TriNoma mall in Quezon City last weekend to have a taste of Japanese culture at the Cool Japan Festival 2015. This two-day celebration highlighted some of the best things about Japan through food, technology, beauty products, and music!

The first booth that welcomes you is the Cool Japan Shop where visitors get a chance to try out and purchase uniquely Japanese products like a pitcher/strainer for washing rice and a mechanical pencil that protects the lead from being broken. Ladies also got to sample some of the make-up and face care products from Kawaii Concept while a professional make-up artist talked about how to enhance the natural beauty of the face during a free makeover.

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These products are just some of the many that are available in the Cool Japan Shop. After opening their second branch in TriNoma this month, we should expect to find more Cool Japan Shops various locations as Hallo Hallo Inc., the event organizers and also the company behind Cool Japan Shop, announced that they plan to open about 120 shops nationwide by 2016.

Hard to miss are the mouthwatering street food stalls located at the right side of the Cool Japan Shop booth. Serving delicious okonomiyaki, takoyaki, and flavored shaved ice at very affordable prices, it’s no wonder why people were very patient lining up for these Japanese treats!  Adding to the feeling of being in a matsuri or Japanese shrine festival was the balloon yoyo fishing game where guests are challenged to fish out as many balloon yoyos as possible using a hook attached to a piece of Japanese paper. Guests also tested their luck at the Lottery Game to win VIP passes to the front of the event stage.

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Special booths were also set up around the area for the enjoyment of the guests. Children and the young-at-heart watched in amazement as the fishes they colored come alive on screen at the teamLab Sketch Aquarium. Selfie addicts had a lot of fun choosing a background and posing in front of the special motion-detection camera at the teamLab Camera booth. Sushi lovers also got the chance to learn how to make sushi from the masters themselves at the Real Sushi Nigiri Experience Show.

Highlighting the event were the various stage performances hailing straight from Japan starting with the energetic taiko drum beats from the Toroko Taiko group followed by the dance numbers of the Japanese ambassadors Doraemon and Hello Kitty.

Rising idol group “Akishibu Project” shone on stage as they sang their latest single, “Eternal Blue ~Kimi to Boku to Sora to Umi no Monogatari~”.  The girls had captivated many Filipino fans with their charms and determination to introduce the culture of Akihabara and Shibuya to the fans.

Cool Japan Festival was also the venue for a historical event as the famous Japanese idol group, AKB48 (represented by Team 8) performed live in the Philippines for the first time!  The 12 girls, wearing their blue and white uniforms, performed the group’s famous songs such as “Aitakatta”, Koi Suru Fortune Cookie“, Everyday, Katsusha”, “Seifuku no Hane“, “Ponytail to Shushu, and their original song 47 no Suteki na Machi e.

They kept the crowd on their feet as they also sang and danced along with the girls. The last day of Team 8’ performance was very emotional when the some Filipino fans cried as they saw their idols for the last time. AKB48’s performance at Cool Japan Festival was definitely not the last as the girls promised to return very soon.

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Spearheading the Filipino performers were Amachan’s ambassadresses, Kawaii 5 and the cosplay queen Alodia Gosiengfiao. Our local version of “AKB48” lively performed on stage while introducing the Amachan, a Japanese drama series airing in the Philippines. The Philippines’ cosplay queen also performed her single “Kawaii Girl” alongside with Akishibu Project.

In the end, Cool Japan Festival 2015 had definitely brought the spirit of Japan in the Philippines. People were fascinated with all the Japan stuff and products being displayed in the venue. Fans were very thankful that the organizers had brought all the Japanese performers, Toroko Taiko, AKB48 and Akishibu Project in the Philippines.

The next Cool Japan Festival will be more successful if held in a larger venue where all fans can be accommodated.

We would like to thank Hallo Hallo Inc. for inviting animephproject.ph to Cool Japan Festival 2015 as an official media partner.