The Chinatown Community in conjunction with the Australia China Development Company and Neko Nation hosted the first “Harajuku no Yoko” event on Friday the 20th April between 6-9pm. Moonta Street was transformed into a vibrant hustling colourful hub of market traders, DJ’s, Cosplayers and Lolita’s.
The event was a culmination of ideas to invigorate Chinatown and activate Moonta Street, share cultural experiences, attract new people and encourage trade. The inspiration was Takeshita Dori, Harajuku, Japan where young people dress in original styles and spend the day eating, shopping and socialising. The organisers knew there was a natural fit between the vibrant and creative young people and the energy and dynamism of Chinatown.
The turnout was more than expected. Moonta Street was full of colourful costumes, families, friends and business. The Premier of South Australia shopped with his family at “Zombie Cupcake Couture” and the Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood a recent visitor to Japan came to enjoy the atmosphere with his wife..
Suzannah and Craig from Neko Nation and Tokyo Hardcore were instrumental in getting the word out to Adelaide’s otaku community to come and enjoy the atmosphere of Chinatown.
The event was able to attract immediate andsustainedmedia interest. Suzannah and Craig were invited onto several radio shows to discuss the upcoming event. The Project came to interview the attendees and Channel 10’s Jane Reilly did a live weather cross wearing cat ears.
Local fashion business Flying Sky donated happycats for several fashion and costume awards. Golden Harvest Wines gave two major prize awards including dinner for two at T Chow restaurant and a limited edition bottle of Golden Dragon wine. Lyrics on Gouger sponsored a free Karaoke booking and were the official afterparty hosts.
Burger Theory brought their delicious burgers, Suzuki Sushi supplied free sushi and Banh Mi offered cosplayers an instore special offer. Many Chinatown traders have expressed interest in the next event where their businesses can enjoy the benefits of an influx of visitors.
The young crowd were great ambassadors for their community and took many photo’s with interested visitors and public passersby. They shared their knowledge of Harajuku with Chinatown regulars who are now planning their own special outfits for the next event. It was an event that provided a bridge across age, culture and community.
Immediately following the conclusion of the event our attendee’s swarmed onto Facebook sharing their photo’s and asking when the next event is to be held. Due to the success of the event the organisation for a second event is now underway with a tentative date of 18th May scheduled.
Many thanks goes to the numerous people and organisations that offered their support to the event.
Irena Zhang, Keong Gan, Susannah Baily, Craig Backshall, Conan Fahey, Karyn Lanthois, Joe Kocy, The Adelaide City Council, Australian Asian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Burger Theory, Shyen, Chinatown Adelaide Association, Nick Slaughter (Golden Harvest Wines), Feng Gao (Lyrics on Gouger), Xiao Mei (Flying Sky Fashion), Suzuki Sushi, International Food Plaza, Eric Lai, Chicshop XOXO