Returning as a musical guest at the OC Japan Fair!

Photo credit: Tatiana Vasilyev IG(@gerudostudios)

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Hello, Stephanie Yanez here. I was very happy and honored to be back performing at the OC Japan Fair for 2022 held at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. The OC Japan Fair was founded in 2009. If you can believe it, I was actually a musical guest that year as well. I have seen the fair grow each year and become what it is today, which is one of the most popular Japan Fairs in Southern California. Organizer Masataka Taguchi has really cultivated and created an event that showcases many different aspects of Japanese culture like food, music, anime, travel, fashion, and more.

Photo credit: Tatiana Vasilyev IG(@gerudostudios)

Because it’s the OC Japan Fair I had to bring some special guests on the stage. Koz who is a Japanese Dancehall Reggae artist based in LA and born in Kyoto and Pepper who is a Japanese rapper based in LA and born in Osaka. Koz and Pepper came to sing the Sailor Moon theme song “Moonlight Densetsu” that I have released officially with Japanese music artist/talent misono and Spain producer Sotui.

We hope that misono will be back to perform at the OC Japan fair again. I originally met her and sang with her at the fair in the past which is how the collaboration happened in the first place. Pepper and I have just released a new original song “Stars” with producer Ari Prado and the big debut of that song was performed at the fair this past weekend. My concert was full of original songs I have written in both Japanese and English and also included some famous covers from Japan as well. The concert was so much fun and I was so happy to see everyone after the show.

A line of fans after my concert.

After my concert I was a judge for the cosplay contest presented by Arcane Maid Cafe which featured contestants of all ages. This cute little child cosplaying as Anya from popular anime series Spy Family danced at my concert then participated in the cosplay contest. It is very hard to be a judge in any cosplay contest and this contest was not any different.

I have been active in the anime and Japanese entertainment industry for years now and because of that I have made so many friends that I consider family within the community. I would love to tell you about some of my favorites who were at the OC Japan Fair.

Judy Seki

The Seki family are a staple of Southern California Japanese Cultural festivals. Sunny Seki is a Japanese–American author, illustrator, and photographer based in Los Angeles, California. Seki has created beautiful bilingual children’s books that have a focus on Japanese folktales. I’m always happy to see the family at events and love seeing the passion of keeping Japanese Folktales alive.

Kiddleton Kiosk is a fun Japanese game machine corner with unique Japanese prizes you can win that you can find at local Mitsuwa’s, 99 Ranch Markets, Tokyo Centrals, and more. I was very happy to see that they would be at the fair. I really love Kiddleton and go play with their crane machines weekly. I have worked with them in the past to promote how awesome they are and I was happy to be invited to try out their NEW VR experience Cosmo Balloon that will be coming soon to Little Tokyo. You will not want to miss out on this amazing air balloon ride experience. I felt like I was actually going up in an air balloon and the sights were amazing!

Animetopia was also at the event and when I say that I’m a regular of Animetopia like I visit them almost weekly. A part of me doesn’t want people to find out about them because I’m afraid people will buy the products I want but they are becoming so popular that they have expanded their store. I follow their Instagram @animetopiainc closely because they get exclusive anime merchandise from Japan. I just recently bought a whole bunch of vintage Sailor Moon merchandise from them. They also have kuji from Japan from popular anime series like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Pokémon. They get special collaboration merch as well that you can usually only find in Japan.

My favorite Japanese restaurant Shin-Sen-Gumi was in attendance at the fair. How could they not? Shin-Sen—Gumi opened its first restaurant in Gardena in 1992 and has been serving traditional Japanese cuisine with an authentic experience ever since. I had the honor of being the MC/Judge/Cosplay Coordinator for the cosplay contest over at their 8th Charity Festival this year. I love their Tsukune which is a chicken meatball yakitori stick.

Japanese Radio Station TJS was also at the fair. TJS plays my music regularly and I have also done some VJ work with them. I was able to take a photo with my dear friend VJSam.

Photo credit: Tatiana Vasilyev

OC Japan Fair will continue to cultivate a love of Japan and its culture to the residents of the OC. I’m so happy and honored once again to be involved in such an event and to continue to be brought in with open arms from the Japanese community.

Writer: Stephanie Yanez
Instagram @stephachu