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waku waku nyc
Photograph: Shutterstock

The Waku Waku +NYC festival guide

The inaugural Waku Waku +NYC festival is a celebration of Japanese pop culture in all its funky, multicolored glory

By Alison Kotch
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One of best things to do in the summer in NYC is head to one of the many summer festivals such as Waku Waku +NYC. Even lovers of Japanese pop culture have an opportunity to celebrate the genre this year, and it’s called the Waku Waku festival. The event will be one of the best things to do in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for those who want to indulge in their secret (or maybe not so secret) obsession with all things anime and manga, whether in film, fashion, food or music. For more on what makes this festival worth visiting, read on.

What is Waku Waku +NYC?

Waku Waku (a Japanese word, which means “excitement in a dream-like state”), is a weekend long festival that gives anime and manga lovers a chance to mingle with like-minded fans, and gives curious New Yorkers an opportunity to discover a new interest or hobby.

When is Waku Waku +NYC?

Waku Waku will be held on Saturday, August 29, 2016 and Sunday, August 30, 2016.

Where is Waku Waku +NYC?

Waku Waku will take place in various venues throughout Williamsburg and Greenpoint, with most events taking place at the Brooklyn Expo Center (72 Noble St).

How do I attend?

Single-day passes are $45 and weekend passes are $65; VIP, group passes, and children’s tickets are also available. Detailed ticket info can be found at the official website.

Five cool things at Waku Waku +NYC

waku waku nyc
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Rachel Lovinger

1. The food

Vendors will serve mouthwatering treats at the Brooklyn Expo Center from 10am to 7pm during the duration of the festival. Some of the offerings include cream puffs from Beard Papas, perfectly salted pork ramen from Ippudo, and crispy Takoyaki—which might be the best street food you’ll ever taste.

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Rachel Lovinger

Yun*chi
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Antonio Rubio

2. The performers

You can catch sets from Japanese DJ’s like Taku Takahashi, Eqknock, Keiichiro and special closing performances from Bella Gaia and Yun*chi.

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Antonio Rubio

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3. The games

Test your noggin with the Real Escape Game, a unique puzzle designed by Japanese gamers. The treasure hunt, created and presented by SCRAP, acts as an opening reception to the festival at the brand-new Real Escape Room in Brooklyn. Use your detective skills to solve various puzzles during a limited amount of time to win prizes. Tickets are $12 each, or $5 when purchased with a Waku Waku pass.

waku waku nyc
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Rachel Lovinger

4. The Q&As

This is the time to geek out over all the anime and gaming experts you’ve admired for years, and see them speak in the flesh! On the lineup is a Q&A with voice actor Justin Cook (Dragon Ball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho) and you can also snag autographs from folks like Keiji Inagune (game creator) and Wyatt Bray (Kendama World Champion).

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Rachel Lovinger

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waku waku nyc
Photograph: Shutterstock

5. The fashion

The masterminds behind Waku Waku recently held a Lolita fashion contest, where folks expressed themselves through clothing that defies the conventions of contemporary society. At Waku Waku, you can check out the finalists sporting cool wares, and watch them hit the runway for not only one but two fashion shows. Trust us, it’s going to be an awesome Instagram moment.

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