This was our third Annual Anime Fest. Our goal when planning this program was to expose the teens to aspects of Japanese culture featured in the manga and anime in our collection, as well as to get them talking about their favorite anime and manga. The teens are geektastic in their exuberance for anime and manga, but they often don’t have friends who share their passion. We bring these people together, and the results are so fun to witness. In previous years we’ve learned samurai moves from a kendo instructor, made mochi (a Japanese dessert), listened to Japanese pop music, and created kokeshi dolls.
Our event features several staple activities every year. They include eating with chopsticks, dressing in yukatas (summer kimonos), watching anime (this year we watched Legend of the Millennium Dragon), and playing Naruto Wii.
We then bring in a few new elements to keep it fresh.
This year we made animal ears headbands by using tutorials found here and here. The headbands turned out beautifully and some of the teens made multiple headbands. Animal ears are featured prominently in many of the teens’ favorite manga series, from Fruits Basket to Animal Academy, and is as far into cosplay as our teens want to go.
Two teens made candy sushi for all the participants using this recipe. The teens practiced using chopsticks as they ate this which they quickly became adept at.
Finally, we created suminagashi art using rice paper and special suminagashi paint. The results were so beautiful. The process is definitely addictive since every paper turns out completely differently. Basically an artist drops ink into water, uses the end of a paint brush to twirl the ink around to create a marbling effect, places rice paper briefly onto the top of the water, and then pulls the paper off to dry. The paper can then be used to wrap presents, function as a back drop for a photograph, be used as stationary, or serve as artwork itself.