The OC Japan fair

100 different craft and food vendors at OC Japan Fair

OC Japan Fair Photo: Jacob Castro / Lariat News

The OC Japan Fair, which was held Friday, Oct. 18 – Monday, Oct. 21, is an event that features tons of authentic Asian culture.

Between anime events, food trucks, food stands, video game competitions, live performances throughout the day, and countless vendors selling their merchandise, it is a great way to spend the day and do something new with family and friends.

“Im here with my family today. We were looking for something to do this weekend and we saw the OC Japan Fair. We are fans of asian culture and cuisine so it was a no brainer for us to come. Our kids are having a great time as well.” Said Michelle Gonzales.

The Japan Fair allows people to experience Japanese culture in a pure form while simultaneously providing vendors of many different sorts, an opportunity for more exposure, and a source of income.

If you are a fan of anime or cosplay, there is a restaurant inside where the employees are dressed in unique costumes, and sing songs, play games, and dance on stage where the guests join them. It is a spot that is always turning heads and has people stopping to check out whats going on.

Inside had a “smash” tournament going on where it was a $5 entree fee, and winner takes all. One of the employees who happened to be competing in the competition gave us more information on what the event was about.

“This event was advertised through the local community. TTG runs this, so TTG is the biggest “smash” group that runs all of these tournaments. So we advertised this event for about a month and a half. We have a different tournament for every day the Japan Fair is open. Friday, there was Tekken, today is Smash, and tomorrow I’m not sure what tournament there is.” Said Keith, one of the employees and competitors in the Smash tournament.

One of the most popular food vendors outside is a food stand called “Takoyaki.” After asking several people and vendors and judging based on the big line outside their stand, it seems to be the most sought after food spot at the fair.

“The food is amazing here and Takoyaki is the most popular spots. It’s been busy since we opened this morning.” Said Angel, a volunteer for the fair.

“I think this is really cool because they have a variety of Japanese traditional culture. It gives people a chance to know how Japan is.” Said Mina, one of the vendors for a stamp company at the fair.

“For me, it’s a good chance to show people traditional Japanese food like Panko or Takoyaki.” Said Saki, who was working the stamp stand with Mina.

Takoyaki, which is a ball-shaped Japanese snack or appetizer made of a wheat flour-based batter. Is typically filled with minced or diced octopus, tempura pieces, pickled ginger, and green onion and brushed with takoyaki sauce, topped with green laver and shavings of dried bonito.

Another one of the food stands outside was selling grilled octopus on a stick as well as other authentic Japanese style cuisine.

The fair is staffed with volunteers that handle admission, clean up, and other various tasks to keep the fair running smoothly throughout the day. Many of them are trying to log volunteer hours for college admission. Some also volunteer just because they appreciate the event and get free admission.

“I came here to volunteer for school to get some hours but its honestly such a nice experience there’s a lot of nice people here too and everyone seems to really be enjoying it.” Said Aaron, a volunteer for the fair.

Lastly, throughout the day, there are live performances that go on, on a stage located outside with all of the food stands and trucks. They have group performances, solo performances, dancing, singing, musical performances, and more.

Admission to the event is $8 plus a $7 parking fee. The tickets for the event can be bought at the entrance or online. Parking is paid for upon arrival, and they take cash or credit. Children six and under and over 65 get in for free.