Dragon Fest 2015

PSX_20150714_200321[1]

This whole year has been a year of new experiences for me. I used to dread going to crowd places because of the obvious, lines, foot traffic, and just being in crowds in general. But for some reason subconsciously I decided that this year will be the year that I try new things, and no, that wasn’t my new years resolution. I’m glad as hell that I did though because I can say that this year has been going pleasantly well for me. Be sure to hit the jump and check out my first-timer experience at this street festival! 

Before we move on, here’s a bit of info about DragonFest:

Centered in the heart of Seattle’s historic Chinatown-ID, the Dragon Festival is the Pacific Northwest’s largest annual Asian American celebration. The Dragon Festival brings the streets to life with colorful non-stop live multi-cultural performances, historic walking and food tours – including the popular $2 Food Walk that gives festival goers an opportunity to take their taste buds on a trip around the world, kids’ activities, an open air market that features food, arts and crafts and annual Sakura Con Anime Costume Contest! With a wealth of family friendly activities, food and outdoor market; the Dragon Fest is the premier pan Asian American celebration in the Northwest.

PSX_20150714_234024[1]

Now for as long as I know, I’ve just heard about this street festival THIS year but apparently it’s been going on for 40 years, and I’ve been living in Seattle for probably 21 years now. What have I been doing with my life?! Well, you see, my friends have always referred to this festival as “the night market” so I had no idea that there were performances in the day time or anything and I’ve always had to work during this time of year (working night shift sucks) so I never had the time to enjoy things like this.

PSX_20150714_200740[1]

PSX_20150714_201315[1]

PSX_20150714_231819[1]

Be sure to watch in 1080p! 🙂

The Seahawks group did an outstanding job and I was pretty damned impressed with how synchronized the whole team was with each other. It goes to show that the saying “practice makes perfect” really does stand true. The group of girls who are holding the flags are the drill team. I’m sure they put on an impressive performance also but I wasn’t there to witness it for myself because …. I was way too busy enjoying food!

PSX_20150714_231909[1]

Fresh ice cold coconut. I wanted to see the performance of the drill team but my stomach was saying otherwise. For $5.50 though, I don’t think it was worth it.

PSX_20150714_232007[1]

My friend had the peking duck and spicy pork belly tacos from a local food truck named “Chopstix”. It looked delectable but my stomach wanted more satisfaction. I’m a big guy! You can’t blame me!

After we had our first fill of food we did some walking around to check out the rest of the festival and wanted to see what the other stands had to offer. A majority of the stands didn’t really stand out to me (possibly because I don’t have the money to spend on things that I want) but there were a few off ones that kind of made me go “wtf?” There was a stand that was selling “THE WORLDS BEST PEELER!” and surprisingly enough there was a pretty good crowd around it and all I could think was “yeah, asians would definitely buy that”. If my mom was there she would have probably bought 20 of them just because I know how much she loves her kitchen utensils.

PSX_20150714_232051[1]

My friend Charlie doing the infamous “asian pose” with the brand we all grew to know and love. I had the green tea one which was quite a thirst quencher but didn’t exactly have the taste I was hoping for.

PSX_20150714_232138[1]

Couple of the team members from Sakura-Con. I’ve gotta give it up for the Sakura-Con team in general because if I had never attended this year this blog would have been non-existent.

PSX_20150714_232241[1]

Came across a stand that was selling Yu-GI-Oh! cards. It was refreshing to see that these cards are still in production. I couldn’t open any of the packs although it looks like somebody already did on one of them. It’s crazy just how many monsters have been thought of since the initial release of the series.

After checking out a majority of the stands the smell of something delicious wafted by our noses right next to the stands that were selling the Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. What exactly do you think it could be?

PSX_20150714_232340[1]

PSX_20150714_232434[1]

PSX_20150714_232819[1]

TAKOYAKI!

Over here in Seattle there’s rarely any Japanese restaurants so it’s hard to get anything that you saw through an anime and be able to try it out for yourself so it was really a great experience to try these things out fresh off the grill. The tonkotsu sauce used with it wasn’t really all too pleasant for me. It was really sweet and really hard to get through the flavor of it but all-in-all they tasted just as I expected them to. Like octopus and seaweed with a little bit of sesame seeds. What you smell from the Takoyaki balls are pretty much what kind of flavor to expect when your tongue meets it.

After we received our plates of takoyaki we decided to head back to the main stage. The crowd was bigger than than before so I was wondering what the performance was this time. I picked up the pace and gobbled down the last of my takoyaki and as I heard people shouting and wood clashing together I had a feeling it it was … A KENDO PERFORMANCE! I never really had any exposure to kendo so this was the first time ever seeing it live in person.

PSX_20150714_233037[1]

The sensei of the dojo showing the crowd how to attack properly.

PSX_20150714_232915[1]

They teacher chose 4 participants from the crowd. I thought that this was pretty cool of them since more than likely a majority of the crowd didn’t have much exposure to kendo before this, but I’m just going off assumptions.

PSX_20150714_232954[1]

Sensei showing the participants how to block attacks.

Also I even took a small clip of after the participants had learn the basics of kendo fighting. Keep an eye on the older male because me and my friend started cracking up as he struck the students of the dojo right on the head. All I could think to myself was “Sure glad I’m not that guy right now” because it sounded and looked like it hurt.

Be sure to watch in 1080p! 🙂

After the performance I caught up with the team and asked if I could get a picture of them and they allowed me to which I thought was pretty sweet of them since they looked like they just wanted to go home or enjoy the festival.

PSX_20150714_233122[1]

I asked the younger male (the one who was taking the hard hits) if his head hurt after that session. He laughed it off and said “yeah just a tiny bit” and one of the young ladies asked the older male because he was sitting down in a nearby chair putting his socks and shoes on if he had any experience prior to this and he replies “yeah, i used to do this a couple years back”. All I could do was shake my head because other people could have had the chance to take stage too.

After this performance we said we kind of had enough of the festival for now so we decided to go to a nearby store that has virtually any asian grocery that you would ever need in your whole entire life AND afterlife; Uwajimaya. Not only does this place have groceries, drinks, snacks, and whatever else your mind can think of, it also has it’s very own book store! And you’ve guessed, it carries anime/manga related items too!

PSX_20150714_233504[1]

Sometimes I hate taking pictures of figurines still in there case because of the glare from the plastic. 😦

PSX_20150714_233622[1]

I saw this out of the very corner of my eye (if you don’t understand my love for fighting games, you can review my post here) and immediately jumped to it. The only downside of this book store is that EVERYTHING is sealed so you can’t even take a peek at what you’re buying. I wanted to make the purchase but the $60 price tag made me turn it down. My friend made a joke saying that this would be my bible and I had to agree 100% with her.

PSX_20150714_233541[1]

Wall scroll of Bell and Hestia from “Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon?” also know as “Dan Machi” for short. I’ve really taken a liking to this show although it’s still pretty new and only 12 episodes in so now I’m waiting impatiently for the second season right now.

PSX_20150714_233708[1]

I’m not one to really do selfies or anything so I found this book to be perfect for the narcissistic folks out there.

PSX_20150714_233920[1]

My friend came across his favorite manga as a whole set! He was ecstatic about it but just wasn’t really willing to drop money like that for the time being. The case for the series was pretty cool though.

After we had our fix of the little book store we decided to walk the streets again to people watch. People watching has always been something I enjoyed doing, not that I’m a creep or anything. It’s just fun to absorb and actually notice the scene around you and to observe people’s behaviors and such. I took a communications class on this so for 6 months straight I had to people watch haha.

PSX_20150714_234112[1]

A Sabre that we came across while walking the streets. I got a little too excited when I saw her. Maybe because I’m still going through post-con withdrawals

After our time of people watching had passed we decided to head to a little hobby store that was nearby. This place has been around for YEARS. This is possibly the only store that I know of that sells gundam, cars, medabots, etc. Along with the bigger figurines. As a child I would go in here and window shop, I would admire the models that they had on display and pay close attention to the detail that the builder had put into them. I couldn’t really get any shots of the models displayed on the window because how dirty the window was. So those shots will have to be kept in the vault, SORRY GUYS!

PSX_20150714_234454[1]

PSX_20150714_234533[1]

More detailed shot of the gundam. I was always amazed at how much detail goes into mecca animes.

PSX_20150714_234319[1]PSX_20150714_234410[1]

And that was pretty much it for the shop. It’s a fairly small shop so the selection for it isn’t all that huge but it’s a nice shop to go to if you just want to look. The price tags on figurines are way too steep for me taste and I applaud anyone who has a collection of them.

After the shop we decided to pass some more time by going to Daiso. There’s nothing really special about the place but it always does carry some out of this world things that you won’t normally find in a typical American store. I just really only took pictures of the snacks because the lighting was just perfect for them.

PSX_20150714_234620[1]

Who doesn’t love Pocky sticks right!?

PSX_20150714_234825[1]

I wanted to buy the cookies and cream Pocky sticks but my friend had told me that they weren’t what she really expected. 😦 So I trusted her and opted out of the deicision. Chocolate banana can go somewhere else for all I care.

PSX_20150714_234709[1]

And of course, who also doesn’t love Hi-Chews?!

PSX_20150714_234744[1]

I’ve always found it funny how foreign items are labeled. There’s no name brand or anything, they’re just called “Potato Chips”, maybe I’m the only one who finds this funny though.

After we were done browsing the selection and snacks at Daiso we made our way back to the festival to see what else was going on since it did start to become a little late by now. We were greeted with a group of break dancers but we had already missed most of the performance already. No matter though, we still enjoyed the rest of the performance and they did a fantastic job and knew just exactly how to engage the crowd.

Be sure to watch in 1080p! 🙂

PSX_20150714_234925[1]

PSX_20150714_235013[1]

My friends son (on the left) was absolutely thrilled with the other teenage boys (on the right) performance. He demanded that I get a picture with him. At first I was thinking “learn some manners kid!” but then as I thought about it as I was taking a picture he reminded me of myself whenever I would get overly excited about things.

After the break dancers performance was over the night time dance party was about to happen along with the night market. We waited around stage to get a feel of the music and to rest our tired legs because at this point we’ve been here for about 6 hours now. The DJ did a really good job on keeping the crowd active and full of energy. He went to lengths as far as changing outfits frequently (I don’t know if DJ’s do this a lot so it’s new to me) his outfits consisted of a criminal, a nun, flavor flave, and a number of other things. But I found that to be my favorite part of the whole thing was how willingly he was to keep the crowd entertained. PSX_20150714_235226[1]

PSX_20150714_235104[1]

My friend Citlalin (I just call her by Citi) who I also featured on my blog awhile back, you can find her cosplay sunday post here. She seemed to be enjoying the performances the DJ was putting on so far.

PSX_20150714_235138[1]

My buddy Charlie finally gave in and said he needed to have himself a beer. So I accompanied Citi as Charlie went to the other side of the fence to enjoy his drink in the beer garden.

PSX_20150714_235309[1]

The dragons also came out to dance.

Seeing the dragons dance was always and probably will always be a great experience to see. I applaud those who are under the dragon costume for being able to give us a great performance.

Be sure to watch in 1080p! 🙂

PSX_20150714_235406[1]

Now I know I said earlier in this post that I don’t take selfies but I thought to myself as I was on stage “this is probably not going to happen again for awhile” so I decided to capture the moment.

After I got some video footage of the dance party my stomach was beginning to growl again so we set off to find scope out the food trucks. The night market, which opened up when the dance party also started consisted of 25 food trucks + whichever stands were selling food also. So it was really easy to find something to eat but actually deciding on what to eat was the hard part.

PSX_20150714_235459[1]

Citi enjoying her coconut that she got for $4. 😦

PSX_20150714_235534[1]

I found the name “Peasant Food” to be one hilarious name.

PSX_20150714_235629[1]

The street was packed and filled with long lines of hungry people and numerous food trucks ready to serve everyone

PSX_20150715_184048

Finally after a bit of walking around we decided on something that would fit the budget. We eventually stumbled on a truck named “Seoul Food”. I haven’t had any korean food in awhile so I figured we’d go with this. It was only $5 for this bowl and looks can definitely be deceiving but this bowl had me good for the rest of the night. I had the spicy pork bibimbap while Citi had the kimchi fries.

After filling our stomachs up the rest of the night was pretty much history. We danced, fist pumped, walked around some more, saw old friends, met new friends, lost the friends I was with but all in all it was a really great experience that makes me glad that I’ve finally been able to attend this event without the worries of having working that night or early the next day.

Be sure to watch in 1080p! 🙂

As I was doing the video footage throughout the day it never occurred to me just how cool it felt to be behind the camera. I mean yes, I’ve taken photos for people and all that but when it comes to videos I feel like people are more accepting of it. Nobody wants their photo taken without their consent but they will love to be on video for you, weird how the human mind is isn’t it?

PSX_20150715_000002[1]

Shoutout to the lovely ladies who provided the everyone with drinks throughout the night.

And that’s the end of day 1.

DAY 2

Day 2 was pretty straight forward. We didn’t do much at all, we just got there, ate some food, and waited for the cosplay contest to happen. First we found our same parking spot from yesterday and then we decided to go get some food first to start the day off. The $2 food walk was still going on so plenty of restaurants (about 50) had food ready to go.

The first place we went to, Purple Dot, which also was part of the $2 food walk (pictures displayed below) had a very interesting menu. I hadn’t been in here for so long that I forgot just how expensive the food was and some of the dishes had some very questionable names.

PSX_20150715_184319

The second dish on the list is what had me cracking up.

PSX_20150715_184147

PSX_20150715_184238

BBQ pork buns and BBQ pork pastries are probably my favorite dish out of all dim sum dishes.

After we sat down we waited about 20 minutes (the place wasn’t even busy at all) to still not be asked about if we were ready or not, so Citi and I left the place happy and relieved that we weren’t going to have to pay some outrageous prices for food that probably would have tasted mediocre at best. But we did manage to make our way to one of our favorite restaurants, Samurai Noodle. There are various places that serve ramen and other Japanese dishes in Seattle but I don’t think anyone does it better than Samurai Noodle. The miso pork broth that they serve with the ramen along with the option of adding a slice of butter with your bowl really makes it one of the most rich and flavorful among the ramen shops here in the north west. But in this case we didn’t order ramen due to the weather outside we settled for something other than soup.

PSX_20150715_184503PSX_20150715_184551PSX_20150715_184634

I wasn’t really too satisfied with my dish (it was my first time ordering it) but helped silence my hunger so I wasn’t too mad about things, now I just know not to order it next time. I was not really feeling too well due to the effects from last night and my thought process wasn’t exactly the fastest that day. I tried to cosplay as Stein but I think this was the sloppiest I managed to do.

The following gallery is only a fraction of the cosplayers. There were a ton more however, I had a really bad spot to shoot photos due to other photographers taking the better spots first. But this is mainly what I have so hope you folks enjoy the photos! Followed by the photos is a video announcing the winners of the cosplay contest, the top 3 that placed were given 2 complimentary tickets to Sakura-Con 2016!

Be sure to watch in 1080p! 🙂

That about wraps it up for this post. Overall, amazing experience at Dragon Fest and I think I’ll be attending it for sure every year, or at least try to. The energy was great, the people were nice, the food was fantastic, there wasn’t many complaints from me. I may have wished for some better weather but being from Seattle, hot weather gets to you after awhile yknow? Be sure to let me know what you thought of this post in a comment!

-Aniplays

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s