AnimeNEXT 2007 was a fan-run anime convention that took place in Secaucus, NJ. This has been in existence since 2002 and is one of the biggest events in East Coast. Thanks to the organizer of AnimeNEXT, we were able to have a booth to promote and enjoy the weekend by joining a community I’ve never been a part of.
I have to start off by taking about how most of the people dressed up, known as “Cosplay”, portmanteau of the English words “costume” and “roleplay”.
Cosplay can be seen in Japan at public events, dedicated Cosplay parties, or amusement parks. It is not unusual for some Japanese to gather with like-minded friends in places like Tokyo’s Harajuku district to engage in Cosplay and I actually saw a lot when I was in Tokyo. Though these Cosplay lovers may look a bit odd to others, they dress up because they love the character, just like if you’re a Yankee fan; you want to wear your Yankee jersey at the ballpark.
As strong as their passionate to be their anime hero, they also had a strong interest in visiting our country, Japan. Though most of the people I’ve spoken to said they want to visit Akihabara, considered as a Mecca of Japanese anime, they would also like to visit cities like Kyoto, where you will find the mystery of Japanese history for past couple of hundred years. This was very astonishing to me because they cherish modern Japanese culture, but their interest also goes beyond ancient history of Japan.
With their broaden view of Japan, they surely will explorer much more things about Japan when they make their visits. I was glad to be a part of this event to get to know them and remind me the bigger-than-expected influence of new-born Japanese culture.