#ChibiCon2015 – Lesson learned ‪#CCSakurabana

This years ChibiCon, “small” winter festival held by Sakurabana Belgrade, is over. It was fantastic, fun and tiresome for “us” on the “other side” of the selling stands.

For years I’m participating in Artist Alley, that’s arts and crafts selling part of ChibiCon and Japanizam. And every year I underestimate the number of hairbands/necky’s for my stand. Well this year it was total bust! All my stuff was gone only 3h after opening on the first day. I had 12 sets of hairbands and neko chokers made as a gift for Sakurabana, even that was sold out until the end of first day (all money from that went to Sacurabana as donation for  #CCSakurabana).

In a nutshell, I learned my lesson!!! And I’m starting with preparations for this year Japanisam2015 NOW!!!
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This year I had to face the worse thing any one who make craft can face – to tell that I don’t have more hairbands/neko chokers and to see disappointed look on children’s faces. I don’t want to face that feelings ever again 😦

As for ChibiCon 2015 goes, this was everything but SMALL festival!!! The number of people was unexpected more than 2000 people for 2 days!!! You can read how our organizers have experienced this year’s ChibiCon in their report (it’s on my native language – Serbian so be sure to turn on translator in your browser):
ChibiCon 2015 Report 

As for my impressions goes – I had to miss most of it once again. I did manage to take few quick snapshots on the other day, with traditionally poor camera.

This was my spot Sulless Art

And these where some of the other participants in Artist Alley:

On the second day Mina Mistiqarts an me had our place under the spotlights with lecture “Anime vs Jdorama”
These pictures are from official Sakurabana album taken by Bojan Vasiljević

Of course, the “backbone” of every event are volunteers, and this year they where helping and giving “free hugs” 🙂

Bit one thing that really made me happy is a piece of paper, this one<3
Well, I’m going back to my crochet hook.

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Festivals, creative workshops, Sakurabana and me

Last month I promised that I’ll write more about Sakurabana, but I didn’t follow true my promise. There is a reason for that, great one at that!!! I was busy helping them and doing what I do for them on monthly basis.

So what I do for them?

Once a month I hold a “lecture” as we call it, truth is that’s a workshop, very interactive. We talk about Japanese music, popular music, we choose a band and talk about it. I prepare some information about that band or a singer. We gather and talk. There is a lots of kids (I call them my kids but they are teenagers, very bright young people) who come there to learn something more or just to share their knowledge. So sometimes I teach them but sometimes  they teach me, and that’s the best part. We had one “lecture” recently, we talked about Buck-Tick. Those “kids” are my source of positive energy.

And how I was helping them?

Well, I had an idea about festival, and people from Sakurabana loved the idea so they let me organize a festival – we call it a High School Festival. And I have to emphasize that I did this FOR Sakurabana and with help of people from Sakurabana.


Basically, if you watch anime, j-dorama or just read about Japan you can’t miss it, those festivals are part of Japanese life and growing up. They bring communities together, they are good way to meet neighbors, but in schools – they tend to show best skills and abilities of children. They put ascent to children’s  creativity, team work and ingenuity.

And, once again, Sakurabana’s kids prove to be source of great positive energy! They are bearers of this festival, they had ideas for festival activities, they are working hard to organize themselves. In 6 short days, on Sunday 16th November at 17:00 local time, they are gonna be the stars of the festival!!!

We will have:

  • Maid cafe
  • Hosts
  • OriSOr selling stand with posters
  • Music prize game
  • Origami prize game
  • Balloons prize game
  • Manga and chibi portrets
  • Fortune telling corner
  • Sweet brownies
  • raffle

And so many more fun things to do in a 4 short hours. We even have our own video:

You can call it a fundraiser event, but not with suits and classical music, we will have a joy of kids laughter and happy voices.
More about event you can find in official Sakurabana’s blog: http://www.sakurabana.info/2014/11/highschool-festival-16112014.html
o
r on our event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/714626968622733/

But if you can’t come to share joy with us and help Sakurabana build Cultural Center Sakurabana (#CCSakurabana) , you can still help by donating or just sharing Indiegogo link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cultural-center-sakurabana

Thank you!!!
C ya on Sunday 🙂

Support for Cultural Center Sakurabana #CCSakurabana

What is Sakurabana? I know I’m often mentioning them in my blog, but they are not just some NGO that holds a festival two times a year, they are so much more. For me they have a special meaning and special place in my life.

Sakurabana is NGO that promotes Japanese pop culture, it was created from group of enthusiast, young people who had nothing more than love for Japanese pop culture and a dream, connected trough newly arrived wonder of modern technology – internet. Ok, in this point I can do a PR for them – but I won’t. If you want to know more about Sakurabana just watch this video (and if you are not Serbian native speaker make sure to turn on the English subtitles):

Now, as you all know earlier this year my country was devastated with sever floods,  and we are still struggling with consequences,  at that time Sakurabana did the best they could with gathering money and provisions for people affected with floods.  Most of our government resources are transferred for rebuilding what was destroyed, and that’s how it suppose to be.  But, at the same time that is where Sakurabana’s problems start.

These young people don’t sit and lament, they don’t throw “angry fist” at government for rebuilding a country. They have a dream and they working towards it. So what did they do? They started a project to raise a money for Culture Center Sakurabana. More about the project you can see on this video(this one is in English):

You can help them just by spreading the word (in that case please use  hastag) or by donating to their Indiegogo account (there are many great perks like  beautifuly works or some #OriSor stuff for cosplay lovers) : https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cultural-center-sakurabana  .

 I do want tell you what Sakurabana means to me and why. In this point you may stop reading if you are not interested, but then again you can go on and learn some more about Sakurabana and what they mean to people and  specially kids who are just like me.

I had a luck in my life, I meet a friend who was half Japanese when I was a kid, so somewhere in 80’s, and that’s how I fell in love with Japanese culture – traditional but also popular. Now if you have interest in opther county culture, traditional one – people can understand that, even appreciate. But!, if you like popular culture which is totally unknown in your country…well, that’s a whole different story. People perceive you as weird.

I was one of those weird, geeky kids. In time I learned to function in society by giving a “socially accepted” answers to most basic questions like: “What is your favorite band?” or “What is your favorite actor?” – truth is I had friends but I was feeling alone. Like wearing a mask all the time, not able to really connect to people and not having anyone to shear my interests with, always on a lookout for slip of a tongue that may lead to being ridiculed or bullied.

When I meet people from Sakurabana I found my little peace of heaven. I had topics with them that I could discuss, we shared same interests. When you live your life in fear of being rejected for your interests, that doesn’t help you with self-confidence – trust me on that one!!!  People from Sakurabana where the ones who encouraged me to start promoting my handcraft, first of all Mina  a wery talented young lady.

And even now, when problems of everyday life pile up on me I go to Sakurabana – place where I can be myself. Just for a little chit-chat about my favorite music band or some new movie/drama. But Sakurabana is not some club we gather for a cup of chit-chat, they have so many educational activities like manga school, lectures and workshops.

Okay this is enough for today, but I’ll be telling you more about fundraising projects and Sakurabana activities in near future.