the 2013 Nipponbashi Street Festival


The 2014 Nipponbashi Street Festival (日本橋ストリートフェスタ) will be held in Osaka on March 21st.  I went to the 2013 Street Festival and had a blast, even though I did end up missing the parade itself (which is the main event) and instead spent my time on the backstreets taking portraits.  Most of the more elaborate costumes are handmade by dedicated cosplay fans.  There seems to be a lot of in-group humor at work, there’s a ton of cross-dressing, and everyone is incredibly friendly (especially the eggplant).  It’s feels like being at a party in a comic book, maybe one of those weird sub-branch episodes where characters from different universes who aren’t supposed to meet end up hanging out together on the same stage somehow.  As if Howard the Duck, Dazzler, and OMAC (the One-Man Army Corps) all ended up sitting at the same bar with the entire cast of Elfquest.  Or something like that.

What you don’t see in these shots is the approximately ten million photographers who were wandering around, swarming around anyone wearing a vaguely sexy costume and willing to pose, and filling SD card after SD card.  Next time I go I’m going to make sure to bring a wide-angle lens just so I can snap the camera hordes at work in their natural environment.

All these shots were taken using a Nikon F4 with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens running Fuji Natura 1600 film.  Not the best film for the weather conditions on this day, which were just about the worst for daylight photography — white sky and dull light.  Still, you’ve got to make do with what you’ve got.

I wish I had a better idea of exactly who each character was supposed to be, but with the exceptions of Kinnikuman, Porco Rosso, Skeletor, Ms. Eggplant, and Piccolo from Dragonball Z, I’m pretty clueless.  If anyone wants to articulate in the comments, feel free.


One Response to “the 2013 Nipponbashi Street Festival”

  1. 1 annmarie214

    Hi Trane,

    Hope all is well with you way off there in Japan! Just wondering if you have any island memories in the form of poetry, short story, etc. from your time here on Swan’s Island that you might like to share in this year’s Island Reader. If so, please post to

    Best regards, Ann Marie

    Sent from my iPad


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