Might as well get several posts out of the way all at one time.
Back on the weekend of Sept. 5th, there was another anti-war demonstration, this one in the park along the Kotsuki river. The park is generally empty except for the big gardening and nursery fairs when it hosts flower and statuary stalls for at least a month each time in the Fall and Spring. This is also where I saw the traveling outdoor theater group set up their tents last Spring. It's a long, narrow stretch, so from this angle it doesn't look like they have that many protestors. I'd estimate at least 200 people total.
This is the van that always leads the demonstrators when they take to the streets.
There seemed to be more live music this time, compared to all the speeches at the event in Central Park last month. Most of the performers here seem to have Down Syndrome. They played very energetically.
This photo gives a little better sense of the size of the crowd. Overall, they appeared very active for this event.
Wednesday evening, on the 16th, there was an attempt at having another demo up at the main train station, with a few featured speakers. The crowd was significantly smaller, either because it was a work night, or because it was raining (a light drizzle). The conditions weren't good for taking photos and I didn't want to get the lens wet. The speakers were a bit on the crazy side, rambling on about how the Security Bill Prime Minister Abe is trying to ram through the upper and lower diets is bad mainly because it is the result of pressure from the U.S. to get Japan to revise the peace constitution, and that Abe is a pawn of America. Most of the audience was happy to just shout "no war", but I doubt they had any real grasp of the actual issues involved. A few active protesters drifted away because the speakers weren't that good. I didn't stick around, either.
Blood Drive / Raise
(The poster says, "We're all part of the same group! Give blood.")
On Sunday, the 13th, Amu Plaza hosted a 3-way event. One part was awareness-raising for the Japan Red Cross, and an attempt to get more people to donate blood. The second was somehow related to the Amu Plaza department store itself, and consisted of several stalls selling lots and lots of ice cream (in little tubs for 450 yen - $4 USD, or as ice cream sandwiches) over the course of a couple weeks. That part was extremely popular, and most of the flavors kept selling out by the end of the day. The third part was Raise!, which is a fashion talent show hosted by a local radio talent named DJ Pocky.
(Greebuu, and Pocky to the right.)
You could pose for photos with the giant ice cream bar, if you wanted to. A few people did.
(Some of the ice cream vendors.)
I was going to record part of the fashion event, but it wasn't very good. All of the models are amateurs, and apparently they chose their own outfits to display. The "catwalk" part consisted of the model coming out on stage, hitting three "pose marks" where they'd stop and go into some kind of hip throw, and then flounce over to the next mark before finally stopping to be interviewed by Pocky. He'd ask them about the fashion message they were trying to send with their choice of outfits. It didn't help that a lot of the entrants were under-aged and presented "invasion of privacy" issues if any videos were uploaded to youtube. Anyway, I got bored fast and went downstairs to Kaldi to get free coffee samples.
There's a horror house set up on the 6th floor of the Takapla building (that space has been used for anime goods shops, and the Tekken flipbook exhibit in the past). It's running from the 11th to the 27th, 300 yen entry fee ($2.50 USD). (No photos allowed, so I'll just have to rely on words.) The basic premise is that scientists researching supernatural phenomena have found a way to extract a special chemical that is present in light reflected off of photos, and they've developed glasses based on this chemical that will let the audience see the ghosts and spirits existing around them. The glasses look oddly like polarized 3D glasses you find at movie theaters. The exhibit starts with a small haunted house section where you walk by dummies made up to look like corpses lying on morgue slabs. There's trash and blinky lights all over - all stuff designed to set the mood. This leads to a small theater area and you get to see the film, which includes a Blair Witch Project inspired bit about haunted doll heads, and ends with an evil ghost attempting to break out of the projector screen and attack everyone. The narrator yells for the audience to escape while they can, and one of the exhibit staff repeats the command while holding the exit door open.
I thought the entire thing was high camp, and the monster ghost at the end was pretty fun. There were 5 women sitting in front of me, and one of them kept repeating that she was scared. I didn't help matters by asking her if she'd noticed the ghost that was floating just behind her right shoulder...