UnCon-Eventional Sidetracks are event recaps more on the event itself than the experience, BUT.
It does not include the full experience of all days at the event. D:
Wonder what the event is like in the field? Check out A Con-Eventional Sidetrack: Aki Fest 2019
I DO NOT own the rights to any of these photos or posts (If mentioned), ALL rights belong to Aki Fest, and other respective parties.
Aki Fest does not feature the AniManGaki mascot of the same name that runs ACE.
Big :feelsbadman: here.
The FAQ is this?
Aki Fest 2019 is the 3rd iteration of a 2-day Cultural Event run by the folks of Taylor’s Anime Society (TAS), which happened on the 27th to 28th of September, over at the famous Lakeside Campus.
You’d be forgiven for assuming that because this event is at Taylors, it’s a Taylors University event by default.
And well…that’s half right.
From insight shared by the organizing heads of this year’s Aki Fest, here a quick gist of the event’s origins.
The year was 2017, some graduated seniors wanted to make an event alongside TAS, in collaboration with the Japanese Student Association of Malaysia (JSAM) for the gig.
The collaboration part is worth noting, as they mention their interest in eventually mixing together both local and foreign cultures between everyone.
An example? Basically, imagine seeing a food booth run by both locals and foreign Japanese students, taking turns at making the same dish.
Culture sharing, is the gist of it.
…until certain neighbors start claiming again. 🤔
On June 17th, Aki Fest made their public announcement for this year’s event, despite the page not being ‘that’ active.
Alongside an updated profile picture that came with the event page itself.
Our first contact with Aki Fest was a very brief encounter their Geek Summit booth, which was kind of neat since I didn’t even know about them at the time.
Now, some of you may have ran into them at AniManGaki as well, but regardless of how you made first contact, let’s just say Aki Fest’s been busy getting people to know about their event.
Registration Open Season
Or are you up for FREE DINNER a Sushi Eating Contest? (For BOTH DAYS too. 👀)
Regardless, there’s definitely something worth signing up for at Aki Fest, there’s even an on the spot Registration for an actual Aki-Fest branded fan.
…wait, does that make everyone who got those fans a literal fanboy/fangirl? 🤔
Lineup Starts Here
Third time we’re using this photo now, but it’s relevant to Aki Fest’s mascot crew.
The kimono lady’s Akiko chan, and the doggo’s Shiba chan, according the Aki Fest post from Geek Summit, where you could get stickers of these two chibi looking mascots. :O
Aki Fest’s focus on being a cultural event does include plenty of what they call, Matsuri Activities, with a surprising amount of depth to it.
First up, Shodou (書道), or Japanese calligraphy.
To write good calligraphy means writing with a clear focused mind, where negative thoughts can be shown in one’s calligraphic works. 👀
With a paper string rod, something that can easily shatter if one gets it too wet. 🤔
Certainly a game that’s worth giving a shot, of provided bullets, not vodka obviously, that stuff’s for Rushing B only.
Matsuri Activities aside, one famous dish does get people’s attention.
Takoyaki (たこ焼き), aka octopus balls of……edibles, that I did not know originates from Osaka specifically.
And yes, people do like this stuff. 🤔
But of course, it’s not an event without some high end performances!
Of both tradition, and modern.
Starring, for Day 1, because that’s the only day we could attend, comes, D;
- Taylor’s 24 Festive Drum Team, by Taylor’s Chinese Society, Taylor made for this event.
- The Compensator, featuring a returning singer that was also at the very first Aki Fest from 2017! :O
- Rina-Hime Band, as the name suggests, it’s her band of…band mates, that are famous for what could be mistaken as Ayamas, aka Adamas.
- PHN- *disc scratch* wait wait what? They’re renamed to Brightburn? Well…close enough.
- BRIGHTBURN! Shining brigher than those diamonds Rihanna’s singing about, by being reborn from a PHHX. ;D
Last but certainly not least, the awesome performances we missed from Day 2, but are super likely a blast to behold, that includes,
- Starlight Sugar, bring the local spice and everything nice to show for it!
- Sayako Aya, hailing from AMG Idol 2017 joins the fray! 😮
- Miracle Beat, basically if the band from K-On was real, and local!
- Also comes with Aki Fest mentioning the two familiar faces in the band’s lineup. 😮
Hang on, didn’t someone made this joke before?
- Hiro’s, Aki Fest’s very own Japanese rock band, a returining staple since the very first Aki Fest in 2017! :O
- Featuring its members, Masahiro Kato (Vocals & Guitar), Mizuki (Gt. + Cho.), Seiya (Bass) and and Hiro (Drum).
Now, what’s an event, without…attendees!
For cosplayers who are more than welcomed to suit up, despite it being a cultural event.
With the condition of cosplaying characters that fit in with the whole cultural motif, or just come with a traditional costume, ie Yukatas and stuff.
Not a problem, considering that Demon Slaying is in season.
Also not to worry, English is the language to go for.
But if one likes a challenge, they can find it via Bondlingo.
James Bondlingo, a learning hub that provides all the stuff you need to pickup the Japanese language.
Oh right, don’t forget the schedule!
…man, we sounded like a parent there, trying to pass stuff to attendees.
The Good Goods
The Good Goods brings you ALL the best bits an event has to offer!
Please keep in mind this is only for the current iteration of this event, which may or may not repeat for future events.
Countdown to Coolness
This is some genius good stuff, based on the way Aki Fest did their whole countdown till event day shtick.
Basically, from as far back as 30 days, they managed to get a few folks from AniManGaki to pose for the countdown, despite them not being guests at the event.
This also includes quite a lot of countdowns that features Aki Fest’s performers also doing their part, whilst also reminding people that “they have a show at Aki Fest, so check it out”.
And a very good thing that’s worth noting, especially for a pre-event buildup.
Check out the Photos over at the Aki Fest page, to get the gist of what we’re getting at.
It’s not a field guide, but it is a good indication to attendees about where should they enter the premises of Taylors University’s Lakeside Campus.
College campuses can be tricky for regular pedestrians to navigate, as god knows how the entrances for such venues work.
It’s a small, but very useful navigation guide for people who’ve never been to Taylors Lakeside Campus before.
A very good gesture to ensure attendees reach your event without too much in the way.
Good god, I’d honestly toss more funding for event foods if they were this okay priced.
Portions are debatable, but hey, it’s already way better than most events that come with food booths that try to shiv your wallet as hard as your hobbies.
While it’s a bit concerning that servings take awhile to reload, as people apparently cleanup every booth’s servings as fast as they prep them, it’s definitely worth the wait.
Just kind of wish there was ramen to check out, that or I must’ve missed it.
No need for too fancy stuff, just the noodles will do. :3
The Bad Blehs
The Bad Blehs brings up some…bad stuff, about events, which need to be talked about since no event is without issues that can’t be fixed for the future.
and/or spies from other event organizers, you can learn a thing or two of what not to do at your event here. (As a guide, so that you’re not too busy repeating history.)
Please keep in mind these are only for the current iteration of this event, which may or may not repeat for future events.
Readers, I personally don’t know your stance on events that last late into the night, but this is one of the few pickles with Aki Fest itself.
It being an event that starts in the evening, does bring with it some weaknesses.
Such as the outside attractions having to wrap up early, which is a bummer for folks who arrive super late.
Having the schedule list 4 pm as the guest arrival time does give some impressions that it might not be worth checking out such an event, since it’s likely to last long into the night.
Especially on the Friday for Day 1, a work day, where it’s likely most folks would consider skipping than coming over intentionally.
It’s not a big deal, but I do wonder if it’s possible to give Aki Fest a standard weekend schedule, instead of a Friday/Saturday shtick that has to contend with work day pickles that can hamper attendee turnouts.
And on a weekend that’s…kind of packed, I can sort of understand why Friday may be advantageous in this context.
Just something to consider, for the next one.
Do we…pay for Tickets?
2 things here.
One, for some reason, I kind of got a ticket for Aki Fest via the Peatix app, which confused the F out of me because this is a Free Entry event.
I can understand if it’s for the Sushi Eating contest, since that’s the only thing I registered for that needed my email, but even then there doesn’t seem to be any verification of the contestants at all during that segment. (I could be wrong here, if yes, feel free to shoot.)
So…why does it…why did I even get that? o.O
Second, the booth where folks get to play stuff on someone’s Nintendo Switch.
I’m just as confused as him, when there was a lack of needing tickets to be bought to play.
Which is weird, since other events would usually charge a small fee to play a console for some rounds.
This being absent at that booth just makes things confusing, though yes, eventually it did got settled, and folks started paying to play.
But why was there a lack of that information at that booth to begin with?
And even if every activity booth has the whole pay to try out shtick, why not have a ticket counter on the same floor as those booths to begin with?
Wouldn’t that be more convenient than having to go all the way to the downstairs ticket booth instead?
Which honestly speaking, that came across as more of a ‘Tickets for food” booth, which can deter people from asking if that’s where they pay for booth activity tickets.
Just to be clear, charging for activities is not wrong, events do that all the time.
However, just keep an eye out on booths that might not even know they’re supposed to redirect people to get tickets to play or try out said activity booths.
Take no risk, overchecking and rechecking can help squash any sloppy stuff.
One other thing that was mentioned by the organizing heads, is that Aki Fest 2019, was the first event where they did it, without their senior’s input on the event.
Which is an interesting note.
That said, will there be one for 2020?
I’m personally unsure, but it would make for a very interesting Aki Fest sequel, given that the Tokyo Olympics will be a big focus for Japan next year.
And it would be a very missed opportunity for them to not try something out for that.
It would be a rather…sporting Aki Fest, if I had to take a bet.
But until then, we shall see.
Going to say this before we wrap up.
Some of you may have the impression that we’re doing this to toss some diss at Taylors University or something, all because we’re not from there.
That’s some bullshit, because I really don’t F-ing care about the whole college rivalry crap between institutions, as if that stuff matters.
I’m only interested in the event, and nothing else.
That said, Aki Fest is one of the few events that I can recommend, on the grounds of it being one of those cultural events, that balances out the overall ACG Event Scene’s diet of attractions.
The event housing a lot of students, with a huge amount of them being students from Japan, helps bridge the cultural gap in a way that’s kind of grassroots to some degree.
Students are most likely relate to fellow students after all, and I can only see Aki Fest as being a win-win event for not just Taylors, but also the overall ACG scene as well.
I mean, how many events can you think of, where you have actual not guest level folks from Japan in the field, manning the food booths and what not?
That’s F-ing cool.
Even cooler that they can still stomp all of us at Smash Bros Ultimate. D:
Thank you so much for reading!
If possible, I’d love to hear your feedback on what can we do better.
Be it the bad writing, horrible pictures, or just the fact I need more water, I’d love to hear about it.
Check out more stories over at S.I.R House, of Content 2019.
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