Hiraku’s Adventures: Youmacon 2018

My name’s Hiraku, and I’m the mascot for the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, or JCMU for short. You can learn more about me on my bio page here.

I’m finally getting the hang of this blog-writing thing! You can read my previous blogs here.

Hiraku here to report my adventures in Detroit!

Last weekend, I went to the Youmacon Japanese pop culture convention with a few members of the JCMU community. It was exciting to travel around Michigan, and especially to such an amazing event! I might spend my time going between Michigan and Japan, but it’s not everyday I get to leave the home base.

We got at the convention hall late on Thursday night and set up our table. My coworkers told me the booth looked great because I was at the center, which was very nice of them.

More importantly though: I had my own photo shoot! At Youmacon this year, they had a wonderful series of 4 seasonal backdrops that they invited people to use in pictures. It was a very clever idea, and gave me a chance to experience all 4 seasons at once. You might have seen the photos on Instagram or Snapchat (japancenterjcmu), if not you should check them out below. I love how they came out~

Anyway, nothing really fun happened until Friday. I have been preparing for this for weeks – I made so many buttons to pass out. I was nervous that people wouldn’t want to talk to this borb at the event or might think the buttons were cheesy, but that ended up being far from true. Alumni, students, and more were happy to learn about our Shiga study abroad programs.

It was great to talk to people who are as excited about JCMU as I am! I was pretty surprised by some of the cosplayers (some outfits were pretty scary!), but I greeted everyone and got to tell a bunch of attendees about our programs. There were so many high schoolers who visited with their parents! They were my favorite to talk to since this could have been the first time they ever even thought they might be able to go to Japan. I love seeing people get excited about study abroad.

One of the JCMU reps was caught off guard by this picture, I guess!

It wasn’t all work no play though. After a long day at the table, I said “hi” to the wonderful convention organizers who helped provide us space at Youmacon,  looked at cute plushies like, and visited the game room! A borb has to have his hobbies. The best part about the game room in conventions is that there are Japanese games. They had so many rhythm games. I played popular arcade games like Taiko no TatsujinSound Voltex, and Groove Coaster. Some players were like, crazy good. Me though? My wings are pretty squishy and I can’t really press the buttons all that great.

The games, pictures, and shopping were fun, but I still think the best part was seeing the way people got so excited when I told them all about our programs. To the people I met at Yomacon: I hope to see you in Japan!

See ya later – Hiraku out.

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