A Slice of Japanese Paradise: Matsuri 2017 Review
I am going to say this right now just in case you don’t have much time: You need to attend Matsuri 2018. This is my second year of Matsuri and the event just seems to get better and better in so many ways. If you are unfamiliar with what Matsuri is, it is a Japanese Culture festival that takes place in Downtown Phoenix normally in the middle of February. At this event they have fantastic food, incredible entertainment, wonderful vendors, and even some cosplay aspects!
Where do I even begin with the food? Matsuri always has a great selection of food for their event that usually consist of local Japanese restaurants. You’ll find this out for yourself when you get near the event because the sweet smells of Japanese cooking lingers in the air and if you are not careful you’ll find yourself waddling for the rest of the day with a belly filled of great cooking! They covered the basics or teriyaki chicken and sushi but then dove into the food only dreamed about in our favorite anime such as steamed pork bun, mochi, takoyaki, Hawaiian and Japanese BBQ, as well as ramen and so much more.
Despite the long lines of some of the more popular food vendors, the staff at each booth were incredibly hard working and efficient. If you got thirsty, folks sold boba tea, thai iced tea, and other great drinks but also had a reserved section specifically for drinking your favorite Japanese beer! For those looking to keep themselves hydrated, water vendors were spread around the venue always in reach of any who needed some good ol H2O!
Despite the all day outdoor event, cosplayers rushed to show off their favorite costumes to celebrate Japanese culture. The ones that caught my eye were Pixelated Diary’s Academy Ahri, Roxy Roo Cosplay, a Soldier 76, and Deegan Marie/Kaebean‘s RWBY cosplays! Although I saw these few, there were so many other great cosplayers out and about. Although I wouldn’t consider this cosplay, many girls came out in kimonos and looked fantastic! It is always so great to see folks appreciate other culture by doing their best to embrace the fashion of the culture they admire.
Normally I don’t take the time to talk about the weather at an event but I feel as though it was a major factor to my enjoyment and the enjoyment of others. Matsuri almost always takes place in the middle of February which offers the benefit of pleasant cool breezes and cloudy skies that blocks out the sun just enough to ward off the sweat us locals are so used to. Eating Japanese food, drinking Japanese beer, and gazing out at all the events while also enjoying the weather made for a perfect weekend.
Speaking of events, Matsuri offered a number of great entertainment on three different stages and also took space off to the side to allow Japanese drummers to play for the enjoyment of adoring fans. The rumble from their Taiko drums traveled through the event, getting fans even more in the spirit of celebrating the culture that they so admired. Geisha dances, Samurai showcases, cosplay showcases, and so much more happened on the stages of Matsuri and every single one of them were wonderful!
Matsuri was such a great weekend festival that was free to the public and offered so much. The weather was perfect, the food was great, the people were happy, the beer was crisp, and the organizers are wonderful in every single way! I didn’t think that Matsuri could get any better but sure enough a majority of my concerns that I had last year from ATMs and water stations were resolved, in my opinion. I absolutely encourage anyone who can appreciate Japanese culture, or even just a good time, to check out Matsuri in 2018!