Japan Expo 2016 - Leeky report

  • Hello,

    French KigO division reporting :
    Exactly one month after the Japan Expo, I found some time to write this little article for the Leek.

    So, what is Japan Expo ?
    Japan Expo is the #1 biggest convention in Europe. It exists since 1999 and the 2015 occurence attracted ~250K people during 4 days. Yes, it's a lot of people ! (half way to the Comiket attendance :S )
    There are smaller versions of Japan Expo (USA, Belgium, south of France, ...) since it becames some kind of brand. But the main one is always located near Paris at the begining of July. French uses the abbreviation "JE" to talk about their favorite annual meeting.

    "Oui ! nous allons à la JE cette année !! ♥"

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    Since I started Kigurumi in 2013, the french kigu club (now named KaoKig, Kiff) always longed for this annual meeting. To my delight, every year, we had the pleasure to meet with foreign kigus too who wanted to perform in France. We got Finnish, UKs, Swissies, Belgies, Germanisies, Spanishies, ... (Japanese in 2012 !!)
    And the frenchies really like the Walking Dolls. So as soon as the current exhibition is finished, I'm already thinking about the next one. (2017 please !!)

    Practical details for kigging there
    The con is located ~20km from the center of Paris. You have to ride our famous (lol) train service to get there or book a "nearby" hotel.
    Personnaly, I'm living ~1hour from the con. So in the 3 cases, changing at the hotel is quite complicated.
    So, you have to drag your humongous suitcase around, queue for some hours, locate the cosplayer changing room that is located exactly the opposite way from the (expensive) baggage room, etc ... It's not as much as comfortable as the MCM London con' with the hotel being 100 m from there, for example.

    The heat in July in France is really managable. I think the Asian kigs would laugh at us when we pretend to overheat. The JE grounds are ACed too, fortunately.

    How are the attendees ?
    So, for now, I had the chance to be a (little) globe-trotting Kigu (Canada, Germany, UK, Japan) and I must say that the JE public is simply the best. I'm not trying to be chauvinist. It's simply the reactions of the people that are great. Also, JE drags a wide age range of people. You'll meet a lot of elders and families with kids. A lot of Kigus favorite public.

    So let's start the 2016 report !
    As you probably know, there was some really sad events in France in 2015-2016. Our president declared the State of Urgency (we are still under it) meaning the security is reinforced everywhere. We have a law in France which prevents to conceal our face and thus I was wondering if we would be allowed to perform with mask in 2016. I won't lie. That was the main reason to setup a booth in JE in 2016.

    So the story started in feb 2016 where we applied as a "booth that provides content to JE". We did all the paperworks and were delighted by a very positive reply from the JE staff : yes, they are interested in the Kigurumi hobby, yes, they want us to make a booth and instead of a measly 9sqm booth, we would get a 36sqm one with our private changing room. Yatta !!
    Then a few months later, we had the delight to see Kigurumi starring on the main JE website & Facebook. That's pretty cool for the hobby !

    And the last good news that arrived along with the JE map was the location of the booth : just in front of the main cosplay scene. omg omg omg :p

    Note : the big "Kitsune" sign is where all the regular cosplayers in JE gathers daily (scawwwwy ! )

    The JE took place from the 7th to the 10th of july and everything went like a charm.
    The booth was ideally placed and during the 4 days, we had an uninterrupted queue of people waiting to shoot a picture with the kigs.

    The booth provided to people several acitivities :
    - the photo corner
    - a gallery of printed pictures of the french performers
    - a PC screening showing pictures of kigs from all over the world
    - a catalog of the masks makers
    - a real kigurumi mask to try : Tempo-chan (a CK shell with recycled Luka wigs ^_^;)

    For us, beside the exhausting fact we had to be there at 08am till 19pm, the booth was a real credit. Being able to change and to rest whenever we felt like it. Suitcase and food storage. Meeting point for friends.
    Also, our direct neighbour was a very famous prop maker who brought along... the Iron Throne >_> Giving us a nearly unlimited access to it :D

    Here is the list of the Kigu/Handlers who were with us in 2016 :
    - Nyanko Bechamel (the boss of the booth, Fr)
    - Aliaenor Yinestrayen (handler, <- super kudos)
    - Aika Haru (Fr)
    - Léa Grants (Fr)
    - Miyu Nabelisa (Fr)
    - Lyssandre Hana Yume (Fr)
    - Violette Seri (Fr)
    - SeeU (Fr)
    - Tenshi Miyo (handler, Fr)
    - Mariko (Fr)
    - Wendy Verhoeven (Be, kudos !)
    - Nathalie B. (handler, Be)
    - Cloud Tied (UK)
    - the Charming Kitsune owner (UK, <- super kudos)
    - Fzent Kigasu (Spain)
    - Luna Bella (Columbia)

    - and my ass...

    Unfortunately, since we had to take shifts, there is no photo with all the kigus at the same time -_- That will be the only shade of this 2016 JE version.

    Can't wait for 2017 !! Maybe we'll have more foreigner kigs ?? Who knows ???
    GMT + 1 Kig

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