A Hobby for All: Next Generation World Hobby Fair

It was raining when my friend and I arrived at Kyocera Dome that morning. The temperature was around 5°C however I didn’t feel cold at all. The entrance was lively as it was crowded. Normally, I wouldn’t even bother to go out in such weather. I would lie down on my bed and do nothing but browse the Internet all day. Nevertheless, I went out and took the subway in order to get into the Next Generation World Hobby Fair Winter 2017 in Kyocera Dome, Chiyozaki, Osaka.

the queue outside the event venue
The queue before going into the entrance.

Even before we arrived at the venue, the subway was already filled with the sight of its attendants. Most of them were parents talking animatedly to their brightly smiling children, who enthusiastically brought their handheld consoles and merchandise of their favorite games. There were some teenagers and young adults among the mix of the crowd, chatting and laughing as they walked to the event’s venue. We followed them to the entrance and queued there.

the official guide book for the event
The official guide book for the event.

The queue was long, however it didn’t feel suffocating. True to the Japanese fashion, everyone was lining up neatly. Despite the long line, I did not see nor hear anyone complaining. They were all waiting enthusiastically as the line slowly but surely moved forward. It took us at least 10 to 15 minutes before we were able to arrive at the main entrance of the Dome. As we entered the venue, we were given the official guide book and a map of the venue. Not long after, we finally made it into the main part of the Dome, which has been transformed into a huge exhibition hall.

the venue near the entrance
Close up shot of the venue near the entrance.
event venue
The venue in full view

Right after we made it inside, we took our time to examine which booths we wanted to visit first. We decided to go directly to Nintendo’s booth before going to the other booths, especially since I read that the soon-to-be released console Nintendo Switch would be available to play. The booth itself was located at the center of the Dome, so it was easy to spot. And it was on that booth that I literally saw the console proudly displayed in glass cases. We immediately spent around 5 to 10 minutes just to take pictures of it.

Nintendo Switch on display
The famed Nintendo Switch

The console itself was available for a quick demo for a selection of Nintendo’s games, such as “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “1, 2, Switch”, however it can only be played by those who had booked the time slot in advance. Even then they had to queue before they actually could play the game. In the end, we never got to play with the console ourselves. Nevertheless, I was still happy that I got to see the real console with my own eyes.

Afterwards, we decided to walk around to check on the other booths. Other than Nintendo, game developers such as Level 5, Capcom and Konami had set up their booths promoting their games to children. There were also card games and booths selling merchandise exclusive to the event. One of the booths that caught my attention was the Detective Conan Booth, which was promoting the upcoming movie for the famous long-running manga series. They were also selling its limited movie tickets with bonuses of a poster and a clear file. Other than that, the booths promoting the upcoming Doraemon movie and the massive Pokemon and Youkai Watch booths – two of the most popular games among children in Japan – which were almost as huge as the Nintendo booth itself, were also popular with the crowd.

Each booth had its own stage where fun activities and games were held. Everywhere I looked, there were children raising their hands enthusiastically as the MC asked a question and gave them a prize. There were also presentations about the upcoming games and events for the family. One of the manga booths even held a signing event with boys and girls lining up to meet the author of their favorite series. It was a fun-filled event for all.

Doraemon movie poster
The freebie I got when I exited the venue

By the time I wrote this article (which really wasn’t that long to be perfectly honest), my legs were still sore, my stamina was drained, and my body was exhausted beyond belief. However, I was truly happy and would gladly go to such events in the near future.

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