A parade of 1000 dancing Pikachu with a week-long festival devoted to one of Nintendo’s beloved mascots sounds too good to be true, but in Yokohama, this is a famous yearly event designed for all ages! This year I attended my first Pikachu Outbreak Festival and got to see various performances scattered throughout Minato Mirai featuring trained actors and giant fuzzy Pikachu! At Minato Mirai Station, event staff (clearly distinguished by their Pikachu ears and tails) handed out Pikachu visors and flyers with all of the dance performance times. I headed to Queen’s Square to see the ice skating Pikachu performance and it was well worth the time!
Though the dance performances were mostly designed for children, there were people of all ages (both foreign and Japanese) and I had a lot of fun watching them so I could practice my Japanese. The show that I watched involved 3 friendly Pikachu and a rebel gangster Pikachu (pictured in the black jacket) who thundershocked the performers onstage. To save him, a female actor came out and got the crowd to yell “PIKACHU BEAM” in order to turn him good again. Afterwards they stripped off his black jacket and he became a happy dancing Pikachu again. It was truly a work of art–my favorite part was when the ribbon twirlers started twirling to techno music in unison and gangster Pikachu stole the show from them. Japan is truly amazing!!
After witnessing one of the greatest performances of all time, I wandered over to Cosmo World, one of Japan’s most famous amusement parks, and saw the Nippon Maru ship and a Pikachu parade on the way. Coincidentally, there was also a rum festival in the shipyard nearby where I met Jack Sparrow! On my way back I watched jugglers light things on fire and saw a lot of cool cosplay. My favorite was Kohachu, a “real life Pocket Monster” comedian. I love Japan and all of its craziness–the people watching this weekend was gold!