JapanFest 2017 ***REVIEW

JapanFest 2017 Ash Said It CEO Ash Brown

My second year at JapanFest was even more incredible than the first. The Infinite Energy Center was packed, much like it was last year. The lines wrapped around the building with families and cosplaying friends. What I love about this event is that it opens up the conversation about other cultures. The vendors are more than happy to share about their experiences. And we enjoyed hearing their adventures.

The main highlight for me was meeting voiceover artist Jennifer Cihi. She was a bundle of joy and so sweet. The name may not ring a bell but she's been in the industry for some time. She sang the Sailor Moon theme and sang the 'Hot Pockets' jingle. Her resume is vast yet she remains so humble. She gave me words of encouragement and signed a headshot for me.

The Banraku Bay Puppet Theater was captivating. They are the only theater in the US that performs traditional Japanese puppetry known as ningyo joruri or Bunraku. It certainly takes a special set of skills to perform this craft. I am so glad that they celebrate this art form in a way to pay homage to their ancestors and entertain audiences worldwide.

Next, it was time to snack. I stopped by my favorite milk tea spot. Boba Mocha is the best! I have a love affair with taro milk tea. The boba makes it come together. Even though they had quite the assembly line, they did not sacrifice quality. My tea tasted even better than usual. That makes a huge difference in whether or not a customer returns.

The anime village was better this year. I'm not sure if they spaced the vendors out more or what. It was easier to maneuver through the halls. There were vendors at every corner. Along with ATM machines. There was no excuse for not having cash.

Waraku Japanese Restaurant got my business. After overhearing a young man talk about how good the food was, I decided to join the line. It was a long line but totally worth it. My order was simple. Half fried rice and half noodles. It was both flavorful and filling. I will make it my mission to visit them in Suwanee, Ga.

I love this festival because they take families into account. From the entry fee to the paraphernalia and even the food. Everything was very affordable and not outrageous in price. Unlike many events in Atlanta, the council for this affair take the state of our economy into account. Parking at Infinite Energy Center is free, there are accommodations for handicap people and there is more than enough staff to direct patrons.

If you've never been to JapanFest, do yourself a favor and plan accordingly for 2018. It gets bigger and better with every year. Thank you to the marketing staff for asking me to cover this extraordinary event for a second time. I cannot wait to see what 2018 will bring!

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