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Sunday, September 08, 2013

Cheerleaders and Cosplayers at Heian Shrine, Kyoto

Cosplayer girl at Heian Shrine

I've been in Kyoto the past few days because I was invited to screen my short films and give a talk at Kyoto University on the 6th of September.

The following day, I decided to explore Kyoto. (my last visit in Kyoto was December 31, 2008, and chronicled on this epic video, that's a lifetime ago) My first thought was to go to the Philosopher's Path and the legendary Ginkaku-ji for a leisurely stroll. My last visit there was in 1999-2000, my memories of that place were entirely hazy.

After lunch, I hopped onto a bus, heading towards my intended destination.

However, when I passed by Heian Shrine 平安神宮, a few things caught my eye:

1) The National Museum of Modern Arts, Kyoto, was nearby. And it was having a film-related exhibition!
2) There was a red carpet in front of Heian Shrine. And cheerleaders.

(1) and (2) made me get out of the bus to see what was going on.

Apparently there were some events. A food/drinks fair was happening, there were also cheerleaders and a brass band on the red carpet in front of the shrine, apparently spreading messages of love and happiness.

Cheerleaders spreading Kyoto love

After that, the many mascots of Kyoto appeared.

Mascots of Kyoto

I walked towards the Heian Shrine.

Heian Shrine

... and then I saw cosplayers.

Or rather, tourists taking photos with cosplayers.

Tourist taking photo with cute cosplayer at Heian Shrine

"What's going on?" My mind screamed.

Cosplayers surrounded by tourists at Heian Shrine

Cosplayers at Heian Shrine

(After some research later, I found out that the Kyoto Manga Anime Festival and its connected cosplay event, GO-TAN! was happening nearby.)

I wasn't expecting to see cheerleaders and cosplayers at a shrine.

I then thought to resume my journey to Ginkakuji, but it started to rain...

So I went to seek shelter at the nearby National Museum of Modern Arts, Kyoto. I looked at the poster that was promoting its current exhibition:

"Reading Cinema, Finding Words: Art after Marcel Broodthaers".

Intrigued. I bought a ticket and entered the museum...