Every summer in Paris people gather. Maybe tourist or romantic couple can be seen in globs at museums, parks, and famous streets. However, Paris is more then a city with historical places. It is a new, modern city too with young rulers. Paris is home to Japan Expo the largest Anime/ Japanese Culture Convention/ Comic Con in Europe! This event takes place every summer in Paris around the end of June or the start of July – when exams are over in schools and universities. I hope to share with you some tips and personal fun time!
After my hassle of figuring out my last few days in France and flight tickets, I walked to FNAC in Amiens and bought a Sunday ticket for Japan Expo (JE). Places like FNAC is not only an entertainment store, but a great and easy place to buy advance tickets for events, concerts, and even museums. So, I was ready to go the morning after my full day at the Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Summer Tea Party. Yet, getting to JE was tricky and I was nervous. The expo was outside of Paris and required taking the RER. The expo take place at the RER stop “Par des Expositions”, which is right beside the “Charles de Gaulle 1″. I find the RER to be a bit more confusing and troublesome to use, not to mention more expensive. Even though this troubled me, I was not too nervous about this. I bought my RER ticket for zone 4 in advance at the metro station. No worries. My worries was the hoards of people and finding my friends. My friends, the two Marines and Nico, were the experts who go every year and everyday. Although my hotel was one metro stop or a walk away from “Gare du Nord” RER, I took the RER all the way to the other side of the city to meet my friends. I walked over to the other side of my exit platform to take the RER in the other direction. Once we met, we all gave “bisous”. They handed me Birthday presents – that I didn’t expect, and I handed them “merci” gifts. Finally, we climbed on the RER train. The train was already crowded, but we found blessed seats- I believe, 5 people to 4 seats. As the RER went through Paris, people continued to get on and nobody got off. Men in suits could not get on in “Gare du Nord”; locals watched with annoyed faces; people on the train had cat ears on, funny clothes and lolita dress on (us) refused to move; the train filled over the legal capacity.
The Marines and I with the protectors of Japan Expo! *Marine’s photo*
In the end we made it. I followed my friends in the labyrinth to the entrance. Before I mention some of the highlights, I will say, “THIS WAS HUGE!” I have only gone to my little Anime Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, MTAC, before Japan Expo. There was so much and more then I can tell or remember!
My first stop was to see the artist Aurore BlackCat. She became my favorite French artist while I stayed in France because of the “Bande Dessine” Elinor Jones. I badgered my friends to stop by her booth first before I forgot with excitement. I bought a small sketchbook, an Elinor Jones postcard and a pin. I was nervous to ask for her signature while she was working, but Marine kindly asked her to sign my postcard. I am such a fan of her art! It is very rich in color with a style inspired but not limited to Japanese manga.
Next, we walked around. Anytime there we were free, we walked among the booths. The booths were in groups of categories. I had a lot of fun looking at all the things people made or the cute things from Japan. Of course there were humble booths but also booths that were more like stores full of manga or crazy things. A whole section was dedicated to video games were the boys gathered. However, close by a Hello Kitty mascot had a crowd of surrounding her. Also, girls typing in there emails for a much need Hello Kitty bag to put all their goodies in for the day! And of course when you are walking around at a convention, you get to interact with people!
Our big event was worth the 2 hour wait. We went into a large area with a stage. We sat and watched a Cosplay and fashion show. It wasn’t super exciting, but after walking all morning, having a place to sit, and lunch felt great! Marine brought me a classic French sandwich that always tastes like a million dollar French dinner – a baguette with cheese and tomato.
Finally, the Harajuku Kawaii in Paris fashion show started! All sorts of street fashion walked out in wonderful outfits! Of course, I found my favorite – Lolita. At the end 6% DokiDoki dances out. Yes, they danced out like crazy! I was so surprised! I love $6 DokiDoki! Their things are widely coveted for their great bright colors! Personally, I wish I could be as bold at Yuka and Vani with crazy color and clothing!
You can read about Lunie-Chan’s experiece as a model for 6% DokiDoki: HERE.
Then then area got quiet. We waited for a long time. Then we heard it – the crazy pop music, and two dancer went crazy on stage to prepare the way for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu! Kyary made her international debut in Paris, France, and I screamed along with the rest of her fans. Marine smiled and laughed at me. But, I was excited. I’m just a girl who grew up in hick-town in a hick-state. So never in my wildest dreams did I think I would see so many people that have always been trapped in my computer screen and iPod. So, I willingly played along with the hand motions and sang out with the crowd!
Afterwards, I got to go to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and 6% DokiDoki’s booth! I bought things from 6% DokiDoki – bows and stars. I was getting a skirt, but sadly, I didn’t have the cash on me! I was so embarrassed when I told them to stop folding the skirt. I swore I had a few more 50Euros on me! haha! But, I went shopping Saturday too! Silly. The Shopgirls didn’t mind, and I got a poster instead which they signed!
Sweet petite Asuka and Maki wearing Angelic Pretty’s newest collection …with a skyscraper- me. *Marine’s Photo*
Later, we walked around to booths. The Japan Expo was on its last hour and last day. Yet, surpisingly, I ran into Asuka and Maki. We asked for a picture with them. I hope they didn’t mind. At one point Asuka turned to call Maki over for the photos, and I leaded forward. I lost a bit of my balance and put my hand on her lower arm out of reflex. Not a smooth move in the Japanese culture… She just looked over a bit more surprised then someone from a western culture. haha… smooth.
We left around closing time. Thus, the RER problems began again. There is a trick that you can play. Instead of taking the train to Paris, try taking the train going away from Paris and switch on the next stop. You might be able to find a seat and fight a smaller crowd. Yet, we didn’t for some reason. Marine figured out the train was the same or something. There was a “train crowd” police – like what is in London. So we lined up on the line hopeful for the door to stop in front of one of us.
I said my goodbyes and gave “bisous” at “Gare du Nord”, bought a smaller then normal baguette from Paul’s in the train station, and took the Metro to my Hotel. I was tired, but this wasn’t then end for me. I had one more day in Paris with my friends! Just one more day…