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Ai Kawashima – Kinokuniya NYC – May 1, 2009 to Sakura Matsuri – May 2, 2009

May 4, 2009 2 comments

ai-kawashima

Okay — to check out more pictures of what I took, please visit my Flickr account at http://www.flickr.com/animemiz

This year, as Spring is arriving to the area. There was the annual Sakura Matsuri at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and something did happen this year, Samurai Beat Radio sponsored for the appearance of Ai Kawashima, a J-pop singer that I liked hearing upon her sing the theme song for One Piece’s 8th movie.

As a  preliminary fan event, she made a fan meet and greet, a night before at Kinokuniya. This reminded me of Hal-Cali for Japan Day last year, and I was pretty excited to go see her. I learned about her attendance several months ago from Samurai Beat Radio’s blog, where she actually guest blogged several entries.

Prior to the event,  there was a presentation of the 8th movie, so a sizable amount of people were waiting to see her. The event was not as big as TMR though, by friends of mine remarked that this event had more people than Hal Cali, who I like as well.

Back to Ms. Kawshima though, she came right on time, and appeared to be pretty shy, and quiet, so Megumi who was hosting the event did a lot of promotion. For her new album, tours, and of course her appearances. But here are notes I took of when she was here though:

  • This is her 4th time in NYC, having stayed in NYC for two months to record some songs.
  • She speaks some English, but she is still learning.
  • She loves penguins and visited the Central Park Zoo.
  • She also loves One Piece.
  • Of One Piece she loves the friendship message and views that Luffy is inspirational
  • She has built two schools in developing nations, with a third school on the way.
  • Before she became well known, she did 1000 street concerts in Tokyo.
  • She began singing when she was 15 years, around Yatsuya Station.
  • She is going to be returning to NYC to perform at Japan Day 2009
  • She’s really cute when she smiles, and she did smile several times!
  • She has a new album, single, and Japanese tour coming up, so that is really busy for her!

ai-bbg

Okay now flash forward to the next day, and there was a huge turnout. Since this is my third year visiting Sakura Matsuri, I was pretty relaxed about the event. Prior to this weekend I had already visited the park, and while there was no Sakura whatsoever, I had to go get some pictures taken of the flowers, before they all got trampled by the mobs of people. This year, there was a great deal of more anime relevant things happening, as NY Anime Festival, Samurai Beat Radio were on hand to publicize events.

I didn’t get to the park until the afternoon, when a lot of events were kinda over. I did not realized that it rained until I read Hinano’s entry. As Hinano said there wasn’t as much unruly activity. I stood around a lot, took some shots of cosplayers.

Then met up with Eric, a friend and hung around with him, and my sister, Kero and Aya. Bumped into a lot of people. Nearly 3-ish – I went and grabbed a seat near the front. Wow there was definitely a lot of people. I watched a performance by Minami Kizuki, which was quite nice. I need to go and check out her cds now.. she has such a nice voice.. ^_^

Then came Ai Kawashima, she sang three songs with an encore of a fourth song. I believe I was in such a shock to hear her perform or the seating situation did wonders for my feet, that I could not hear her when she announced the songs she did.

But I know she sang

  • Daijoubu
  • Secret Treasure – in English

Thus concludes my visit for Sakura Matsuri this year!

Pretty busy now for Japan packing, and definitely not looking forward to this long work week ahead.

Categories: Event
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