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Otakon Welcomes Writers Roland Kelts And Frederik L. Schodt

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Frederik L Schodt Roland Kelts

Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese pop culture has invaded us, and writer, translator, and conference interpreter, Frederik L. Schodt have both joined as guests for Otakon 2017. Fans of the writers were thrilled for their appearance at the convention, as they share their most popular and influential works. Frederik writes exclusively on pop culture, technology, and history, while Roland is currently a 2017 Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University, where he is currently working on a new book. Both Frederik and Roland are devoted writers, with similarities in expressing Japanese culture in their writings.

While living in Tokyo and New York City, Roland writes for a variety of well known publications that includes, “The New Yorker, Time,” “The New York Times,” “Harper’s Magazine,” “The Christian Science Monitor,” “Newsweek Japan,” “The Los Angeles Times,” “The Yomiuri” and “The Japan Times,” and is an authority on modern Japanese culture and media. His writings are spread throughout, though his recognition are from Japanese fans especially. Likewise, he is a frequent commentator on CNN, NPR, NHK and the BBC. With additional lectures for TED Talks in Tokyo and The World Economic Forum in Tianjin, Roland is looking for various opportunities to share his work, in order to spread awareness to the Japanese culture.

Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, with a title of holding in one of the largest gatherings of fans in the United States. In the celebration of anime, manga, video games, and especially music from the Far East, Otakon attracts like minded fans. Created from devoted fans for fans, the staff is directed by an all-volunteer, unpaid staff. The conventions are solely for the purpose of celebrating and sharing Japanese and East Asian cultures.

Frederik is best known for his many works on manga that includes, “Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics” (1983), “Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga” (1996), and “The Astro Boy Essays: Osamu Tezuka, Mighty Atom, and the Manga/Anime Revolution” (2007). He has won numerous awards for his talent in the past as a result. In 2009 especially, the emperor of Japan awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his success in introducing Japanese popular culture to North America. His most influential work gave recognition to both him and to what Japan has to offer. As of recently in 2013, his book, “Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe: How an American Acrobat Introduced Circus to Japan—And Japan to the West,” won the Circus Historical Society’s Stuart Thayer Prize. Doing so, for the last three years, he has served on the executive committee of the Japan International Manga Award. Additionally, he is an active translator and has worked on many well-known manga series, as well as novels including Yoshiyuki Tomino’s “Mobile Suit Gundam” trilogy. Frederik has been involved in spreading Japanese culture and will continue as he attends Otakon 2017. The convention holds determined fans who wish to express their culture with other similar people. In Otakon 2017, writers Roland Kelts and Frederik L. Schodt are invited to continue the tradition. All while cementing their writings and work to Japanese culture, the awareness can now be shared in North America.

Otakon will be continuing their gatherings next year on August 10-12 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C. 

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Events

2017 Holiday Gift Guide For Pet Owners

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As an entrepreneur, you’re up to your neck in work. Your days are filled with constant thoughts about the status of your business, and we can’t blame you! Sometime during your journey, you may have picked up a furry friend or two along the way. The holidays are about appreciation, and when it comes to our pets, it should be no different. They love us unconditionally and they deserve to be pampered. We put together a list of gifts that we think your pets will love.

P.L.A.Y Santa’s Little Squeakers Plush Toys

Inspired by Christmas ornaments, Santa’s Little Squeakers Plush Toys are perfect for your pooch this holiday season. You can collect all five ornaments for your tree and as a gift for your best fur friend. My personal experience with dogs is that they like to destroy their toys as quickly as possible. The Santa’s Little Squeakers Plush Toys are high quality and made using durable construction. They are also safe for the environment! Each toy is stuffed with their in-house eco-friendly soft PlanetFill® polyfiber.

P.L.A.Y.

Arty Cat Scratcher

Cats love to sharpen their claws, and will find any means necessary to do so. Instead of allowing your cat to scratch up the ends of your couch, check out the Arty Cat Scratcher. It has an innovative curved design, made to blend in well with your decor. The Arty Cat Scratcher can be separated into two pieces, allowing your feline friends to scratch or lounge until their hearts’ content. The curved area is perfect for hiding! You can use them together or place them in different areas of your home. What’s great about the Arty Cat Scratcher is the weight. It’s slightly heavier than most cat scratchers, so when it’s being used, you won’t have to worry about it slipping and sliding everywhere.

cat scratcher

CleverPet Hub

As a dog owner, you probably feel sad when leaving your dog at home alone. With the CleverPet Hub, you no longer have to worry! The technology used for CleverPet keeps your dog entertained while you’re away. The hub has three lights at the base, and when it is touched, treats will be distributed. The lights are lit in a sequence of colors, and treats are only distributed when the correct light is touched. It’s a game console for your dog! While you’re at work, you can turn it on remotely using their CleverPet app. The app also tracks their activity and gives you updates on their progress. As for the toy itself, it is highly durable and easy to disassemble. It stays in place while it’s being used and holds quite a bit of food. When introducing your furry friend to CleverPet, be patient and watch as they learn how to get rewarded with treats!

 

 

Kurgo Explorer Carrier

If you have an active lifestyle, the Kurgo Explorer Dog Carrier is for you. It features a sturdy base, perfect for a small pooch to rest in comfortably. The Explorer Dog Carrier is waterproof and easy to clean. When you’re traveling, you can attach it to a seat belt to prevent sliding. It’s a guaranteed seat for your furry best friend! You can choose to keep the carrier open or zipped according to your dog’s comfort. The Explorer Dog Carrier is also designed to fit under your seat when you fly, so you can take your pup with you no matter where you go.

Kurgo carrier

iFetch Ball Launcher

Exercise is a MUST for dogs. iFetch innovated the way we play with dogs with their interactive ball launcher. It can be set to launch at 10, 20, or 30 feet and comes in different sizes to fit your dog. You or your dog can drop in the ball at the top and it will launch out of the machine for your dog to fetch. This can lead to hours of fun, keeping your pooch entertained. You’ll have time to work on your projects while your dog is preoccupied with iFetch.

 

Kurgo K9 Carrier

We all have to take our pups on car rides every now and then. The Kurgo K9 Courier is perfect for just that. It provides your dog with a booster seat so he will be right beside you, secure in his pouch. This way, dogs can look out the window safely during long drives. The K9 Courier can only fit dogs on the smaller side, but is versatile for multiple situations. If you are staying at a hotel, it can also be used as a pull out travel bed. It comes with a long adjustable strap that you can use to take your dog from place to place with ease.

K9 carrier

Wonderwoof Bowtie Activity Tracker

You have the FitBit, and now your dog can have the WonderWoof! It keeps track of your dog’s activity, so you know how to keep him happy and healthy. The bowtie activity tracker can easily be clipped onto a collar, and is lightweight enough to be comfortable. Through their app, you can map your walks, set care reminders, add caretakers, and connect with dog lovers in your area. The app is customized by breed, so the activities are specially chosen for your special friend.

 

ViviPet Cat Bowls

Get your cats the modern dishware they deserve. ViviPet Elevated Feeder is perfect for your feline. The bowls are shaped like cats and they sit on a wood base. Cats prefer to eat at an elevated position, and the ViviPet Elevated Feeder is just that. It is tilted at 15 degrees to prevent food fallout. Made of pine wood and ceramic, your feline friend will be very happy with your choice.

vivipet

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Interview with a Street Artist: Joe Mangrum, the Sand Painter

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joe mangrum

While walking through any given park in New York, what type of creative would you expect to encounter?  There are all the predictable performers such as guitarists, perhaps a living statue, and of course the young break dancers bouncing around the halls of subway cars or gathering crowds in the park before jumping over some poor tourist’s kid.  No one would be surprised to see these type of performers in any given city in America. What about someone who pours sand on the ground? No… not a sandcastle.  What if you walked down the street and saw something like this:

joe mangrum

This insane and psychedelic pattern is what I saw one day walking through Washington Square Park while looking for the world’s largest Corgi Meetup (that’s a story for another day).  Above the geometrically complex shape growing on the ground, I saw a man hunched over his hands dusty with grains of many colors, adding more orbiting patterns to the piece. His name was Joe Mangrum. Joe makes some badass pieces of temporary art, fragile patterns that most often take the form of intricate mandalas.  Here’s what he had to say about his experiences as a street artist:

1.  When we met you mentioned you’ve been doing this for 6 years now.  What were you doing before and at what moment did you decide you would do this full time?

I’ve been making art pretty much all my life and found my signature style about 1994, art has never really been a choice but a necessity and I worked various gigs in between art projects up until 2009 after I had moved to New York, determined to make it work.  It was then I started colored sand paintings in public and that gave me the bread and butter token making art on a daily basis without taking outside work.  Full time has always been the goal, and now its just managing bigger projects within that framework.

2.  Which do you like better and why: creating art in a studio or creating art in public spaces like Washington Square Park?

I like both for very different reasons. The public space allows for an interaction in real time with people who are not necessarily the type that go to art galleries, they have spontaneous reactions that are real insightful in ways, they inform me and feed me with lively discussion, on the flip-side there are plenty of people that are just walking on their phone and not paying attention that can be destructive to such a delicate work.  The studio offers the freedom of time.I can spend as long asI want on a single piece of work…  you just can’t go that deep and make changes with the limited time set by the sun wind and weather in the public space. Its gotta be swept away when I leave for the day.

3.  While working in public spaces, what was your best/most surprising experience?

I have had some people get emotional over the years but one time went furthering a person came up and said that I had saved their life?  Upon further inquiry they said they were suicidal and for six months had come out to see my work before working up the courage to speak to me, it gave them hope, and it hit me in a profound way, that my work over so many years may have that sort of impact on so many unknown people, its a little scary and at the same time humbling.

4.  What was the worst?

I can’t say any one instance is the worst, but being in public a lot you are vulnerable to whatever comes your way on any given day.  People can be rude and entitled or just plain oblivious, the cumulation can get you down at times.  Occasionally there is a mental unstable person you have to deal with and I just do my best to use non-violent communication to defuse and deescalate any potentially crazy situation, its sad, but it makes me feel good that I’ve honed these skills enough handle some potentially violent people over the years who just don’t have their world in the place they want it.

5.  How much would you say you earn from tips on average while working in public? 

Its really irrelevant,  I survive in NYC.

6.  Tell me about a time when your work was destroyed

 Its usually by a strong wind as the rain is much more predictable, the worst is when you are working on a very hot day its relatively calm but no-one is out as its just too hot… then as the people emerge out of the air conditioning in the early evening, a huge wind will sometimes gust up and destroy the work, leaving little opportunity to make the daily bread. 

7.  Tell me why you feel compelled to create

I create because it teaches me something new about myself about the world on a daily basis…   there is a lot of knowledge to be gained by my process still.

joe mangrum

joe mangrum

joe mangrum

mangrum joe

mangrum joe

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10 Things You Need For A Successful Launch Party

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launch party

A product or company launch party can be very exciting. However, it also takes meticulous thinking and planning. This type of event has to be memorable to your guests so that it makes an impact. Here are 10 elements to include in your checklist for your next product or company launch.

1. Theme

Themes give party cohesion. Weave your party theme to the décor, music, food, beverage and menu. But don’t just choose any theme at random. Your theme should coincide with your product or company’s message or brand. The staff should also know about the message you want to convey.

2. Upbeat Music

A party without music is not a party. Give your product or company launch energy with some upbeat music. But don’t make things too loud. Your music should be just loud enough to give guests positive energy without hindering communication.

3. Guest List

When you’re making your guest list for the launch, make sure to invite the right people. Make sure that your message reaches the right audience so that they will be able to spread the good word about your product or company. Consider gender balance and invite the right amount of people that will fit in your venue. Invite the following people to your launch to ensure a continued buzz after your event ends.

Media personnel like bloggers, journalists and other press can help spread word regarding your product or company. Industry experts will add weight to your event and their presence will help influence guests. Companies and other partners that support you should also be invited. They can be seen while helping promote your brand which is a win-win situation for both parties. Prospective clients will have a first row access to your new products or service which is always good news to your target market. Potential investors are a good idea because there might be a time you might need additional funding. But even if you don’t launch parties are great venues to make connections.

4. Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be very powerful in product launches. Create a great sounding hashtag to make it easier for guests to promote you on social media. You can also set up a small photobooth to make it easier for guests to upload pictures on social media.

5. Full Service Catering

Food is a big part of the launch party so make sure to make it classy by ordering full service catering. This type of service will allow you to focus on the launch without having to worry about coordinating the food, entertainment, décor and beverages. You can spice it up by ordering specialty drinks that matches your brand’s image and compliments the image of your company. Make sure to have alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages served.

The food should also match your brand and the event’s atmosphere. If your product has cultural roots, make sure to highlight this when you think about the food and drinks.

6. Live Demos

Make your guests fall in love with your product by conducting live demos. Not only will this interest your guests but educate them too. Allow attendees to sample your product if possible.

7. Giveaways

Advertising giveaways, souvenirs, games and raffles are great ideas to make your launch party memorable even after the event has ended. Not only are they exciting, they will also entice guests to come to your launch.

8. Emotion

Make sure that you share something about your company that can evoke emotion in your guests. A company story that is laced with emotion will make your brand more relatable and will give guests a chance to “bond” with you.

9. Loot Bags

No launch party is complete without a loot bag for guests to take home. You can give away product samples, themed cupcakes and other goodies attendees can take home to make your launch extra memorable. Don’t forget to include leaflets with product and buying information so that guests can act upon their emotions.

10. Unforgettable Experience

By making sure that you have everything ready for your product or company launch, you are making sure that attendees have an unforgettable experience. Make sure to end the night in a spectacular way to make sure that guests will continue to buzz about your event.

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