JCMU at JAFAX 2017

Last month, the Japan Center (JCMU) was fortunate enough to attend this year’s JAFAX 2017 anime convention!

JAFAX, or the Japanese Animation, Film & Art eXpo, is one of the largest Japanese media conventions in Michigan, and is held annually in Grand Rapids. From June 16th through the 18th, we hosted a booth at JAFAX to highlight our study abroad opportunities in Japan for convention participants. JAFAX holds a special place in our hearts as the first convention that welcomed us to promote the wonders of study abroad at their event last year! As such, we were very excited to return this year and meet with attendees about our programs in Japan.

Our booth at JAFAX 2017

Anime, manga, and other popular forms of Japanese pop culture are what initially introduced many of our students to Japan. However, few people at JAFAX were aware of the study abroad opportunities available that would allow them to actually go to Japan.

Improving awareness of study abroad – that’s where we come in!

Since JAFAX was the first convention we attended last year, this would be the first time that JCMU returned to a convention. The staff and attendees there were just as welcoming as our first time, though! Students of all ages stopped by our booth to discover our study abroad options in Hikone. Many of those we met with visited our booth last year, and had more detailed questions about what life in Japan is like. We even had a few alumni stop by our booth as well, reconnecting with us and learning more about our upcoming alumni events and initiatives.

JCMU alum makes an appearance!

Every day, our booth volunteers were invited to participate in the activities JAFAX had to offer!

The convention hosted a large collection of artists and anime-related vendors, giving us a chance to meet with others interested in Japanese culture. In addition, JAFAX hosted a game room complete with various Japanese arcade games, including Pop’n Music, Dance Dance Revolution, Sound Voltex, and more. Our Program Assistant even won the Mario Kart 8 tournament held at the convention! On top of this, there were two virtual reality rooms where attendees could transport themselves to a virtual world for a few minutes – how cool is that?!? Furthermore, there were concerts, panels, and photo shoots at all times of the day, meaning that there was always something fun to do at the convention.

One of the HTC Vive virtual reality rooms, run by Gamers United Foundation

JCMU would like to thank JAFAX for allowing us to introduce more con-goers to the world of study abroad in Japan. We hope this helps more students become aware of the study abroad possibilities available to them and encourages them to go on a program in Hikone themselves. If you were a JAFAX attendee that visited our booth and would like to learn more about the wide array of programs that we offer, please visit the JCMU website.

We’ll be at plenty more conventions in the coming months! Our next one will be Dokidokon in Kalamazoo next month from July 28th through the 30th – we hope to see you there!

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