#3779

Party in the 2.5th Dimension!

Subculture in Yokohama

Somewhere between the real and virtual is a strange and exciting dimension that is absurdly geeky and gorgeous. On the one hand, there is an abundance of beautiful women, powerful cars and motorcycles, and tasty food. On the other, there are a panoply of geeky and nerdy otaku, as well as fun-seeking families. Throughout, however, there are smiles and a lot of weird dancing to wild and loud electronic music.

In Kanagawa Prefecture, for the first time, Yokohama celebrated this subculture with an event, the 2.5 Jigen Kami Matsuri (2.5 Dimension Festival of the Gods). I spent the day there, wandering the streets and the crowds, mingling in front of the stage, and in the halls of the governmental building where the event was held. It was a national holiday, Labor Thanksgiving Day. It was, perhaps, very fitting that on the day which celebrates all working people in Japan, that the prefectural government of Kanagawa would host in its midst a generation of people who are having trouble fitting into the stiff, structured, and unrelenting public society that contemporary Japan has become.

Vampires, Waiters, spilled drinks, and Idols

While what stood out was the idol singers, cosplay dancers, and the otaku fans, along with the many awesome "Itasha" vehicles - mostly sports cars and motorcycles, there were several other noteworthy events and attractions. A real 3D game, "Vampire Holmes," was a real-life game based on a video game for smartphones.

While many of the participants apparently had previous experience playing similar games, where groups of strangers interact to solve puzzles and mysteries set up by the game-master, the Vampire Holmes game shares many of the story lines found in the 2D video game. Our group included 3 experienced game players and 4 first-time players. We were, like many of the other groups, able to resolve most of the puzzles, completing 2 of the 3 stages. Yet, like nearly all of the groups, we were distracted by the puzzles and the "clues" and missed out on the game's fundamental tenets, making us forget to replenish the water in our all important vial. The result - we were eaten for dinner by the vampires.

Alas, many of the participants were seen taking photos afterwards with the vampires and other creatures, so we must not have been a very appetizing meal.

Down the street from the festival, another event, the Waiters Race Japan, was taking place. The race was a 300 meter dash, with waiters holding trays balancing a bottle of beer and three full glasses of water.

The Waiters Race was the Japan edition of an international competition, with the winners of the individual and team competitions set to go to the U.K. (I think) to represent Japan. Their run was 150 meters in one direction, around a cone, and back to the finish line where the race started. Since the stage where the cosplayers and idols were singing, dancing, and showing their colors were just across the street from the turning point, I kept wondering how amusing (and disconcerting) it must have been for some of the running waiters to see a crossdressing idol cosplayer across the road as they turn at the cone for the return run. Not surprisingly, that point is one of the spots where many of the overturning bottles and glasses disqualified the unfortunate runner.

I wandered to the Waiters Race around lunch time, thinking that might be a good place for food. Turns out that the waiters were too busy with the race and the better food was in the 2.5th dimension. Luckily, the steak donburi and the mochi-mochi fries were in 3D. On one table to my right were two beautiful cosplayers and diagonally opposite were two crossdressing cosplayers who were - ummm - a bit less beautiful. One was around 6 feet tall and had fairly hairy legs. I suppose (s)he wasn't a full-time crossdressing cosplayer. it was difficult to tell to what extent the participants were doing this as occupation, preoccupation, vocation or avocation.

I don't think it really matters. There were many smiles everywhere that day. And a lot of people dancing and singing - good and bad - as though nothing else matters. In a pretty uniform nation, that's pretty good to see. Even better, supported by a prefectural government. What's not to like?

This brief video features mostly cosplayers, idols, fancy cars, and, well, beautiful women. It probably isn't representative of everything that was there. Nevertheless, it was what I noticed most in my visit to the 2.5th Dimension. I think I'm taking a ride back again next year....

http://youtu.be/SUUFzN4MzzU

mikekato image

mikekato

United States

mikekato's other advice

A Really Close Shave... images

A Really Close Shave...

I've been shaving my head for the past 15 years. It is a chore, but I've gotten used to it. It sometimes grows a bit, during camps and sometimes during long holidays like Golden Week. But basically, …

An Eye-con of Shinjuku images

An Eye-con of Shinjuku

Subaru is a fairly well known brand globally, particularly for those who are familiar with off-road racing. It's definitely not as much a household brand name as Toyota or Honda, or even companies kn…

Send Out the Towels images

Send Out the Towels

Ikeuchi Organic is a Japanese company that makes towels like no other. Towels are not its only products, but towels are the company's core products. And what wonderful towels they are!The company…

Lights, Camera, Attraction! images

Lights, Camera, Attraction!

There's no shortage of holiday blessings in Japan. Not being a Christian nation has never stopped Japan from adopting this holiday as its own. And while Christmas caroling has not yet become a holi…

I'm Punched images

I'm Punched

At a recent bonenkai (year-end party), one of the entertainers was Neko Punch. Neko Punch is a band, led by singer/songwriter Leanne and producer/bass player Macc. Later, the duo was joined by dancer…

Celestial Geisha: A Perfect Performance images

Celestial Geisha: A Perfect Performance

Yes, you may not realize it, but not only is there a history of geisha in Tokyo, but there are quite a few places where there are active geisha communities, including Kagurazaka, Asakusa, Shinbashi/G…

You might also like

Enjoy the Yokohama Market, heaven for fish lovers, in a more delicious way images

Enjoy the Yokohama Market, heaven for fish lovers, in a more delicious way

When we think of the Marine Products Division of the Yokohama Market, we imagine the intermediate wholesalers, true professionals in the world of fish, all lined up, with other professionals in the w…

Kanagawa P.G.T.D. image

Kanagawa P.G.T.D.

100 Yen Shop Listing for Yokohama images

100 Yen Shop Listing for Yokohama

I was recently asked by a group of tourists, “Can you tell us where the nearest convenience store is?”“Why bother with a conbini?” I replied. “There’s a 100 yen shop just down the street. They’ll…

Former Deep Japan Writer image

Former Deep Japan Writer

Local Secret: Kawasaki Wind-chime Festival in July images

Local Secret: Kawasaki Wind-chime Festival in July

Each year, for 5 days always including the 20th and 21st of July, the grounds of the Kawasaki Daishi temple are taken over by a wind-chime market. The creators of these lovely crafts come from al…

Chiara image

Chiara

Follow the Yellow Brick Road in Tokyo images

Follow the Yellow Brick Road in Tokyo

Have you seen a movie produced by Warner Brother’s call “The Wizard of Oz”? In one of the parts, munchkins tell Dorothy, the Coward Lion, the Tin Man and the scarecrow to follow the yellow brick road…

AustinA image

AustinA

“Sushi Zanmai” in Yokohama Chinatown (Open 11:00 a.m. till 5:00 a.m.) images

“Sushi Zanmai” in Yokohama Chinatown (Open 11:00 a.m. till 5:00 a.m.)

I would like to highly recommend Sushi Zanmai Yokohama Chinatown branch with the following reasons. (1) English menu is available.(2) You can order by piece. Simple billing!(3) Their Sush…

Suetsumuhana image

Suetsumuhana

Toshima Swimming Pool in Japan images

Toshima Swimming Pool in Japan

Living in Yokohama, I rarely go to swimming pools in Tokyo. However, I have ben to Toshima swimming pool once and having quite a fun time. Toshima pool is more than just an ordinary pool. It is a wat…

GenS image

GenS