Monday, August 17, 2009


As mentioned in my previous post from Friday, the NEW PEOPLE center opened to the public on Saturday in San Francisco, accompanied by a street fair with 2-3 different stages hosting performances and signing/panel events. I spent most of my time stalking Yuichi Yokoyama, but took other pictures too. Here is my (photo-heavy) recap of the afternoon!

NEW PEOPLE is officially open! The inside of the store is sleek, clean, and full of interesting goods from Japan... or so I heard! From the opening until the late afternoon, there was a non-stop line to get in to the building and check out the shops. I heard from folks that waited that it took over an hour in the sun to get in :( I opted to skip this, and am planning to visit the shop leisurely tomorrow afternoon on my day off.

That said, the store was constantly hopping and looked pretty slick from the outside.

Right by the entrance to the building, they had set up a stage for conducting interviews. Over the course of the morning and afternoon they interviewed Yoshitaka Amano, cast members and the producer of the 20th Century Boys film adaptations, and various gothic-lolita designers featured on the 2nd floor of NEW PEOPLE. Here is the head lady who runs the "BABY The Stars Shine Bright" label:

The apparel component of NEW PEOPLE is a welcome addition for San Francisco teenagers-- they get access to a subset of Japanese fashions that other Americans won't get. I'm expecting to see more lace and parasols very soon in the Bay Area. That said, the fashion show I saw showed off a lot of gimmicky and sorta cheap looking outfits. Oh well.

Down the way from the front of the NEW PEOPLE building were a bunch of tents/booths for local businesses, vendors, and the Asian Art Museum. On the other side of the main Peace Plaza area were local food vendors, selling shaved ice, onigiri, hot dogs and Beard Papa pastries.

ANONYMOUS was also out in force, giving out free hugs and dancing to a boombox.

4-chan people are not as fearsome (and younger) in person than expected.

This booth sold dozens of colorway block shirts, and offered custom color combos you could order and have sewn on demand.

Toto Washlet had a booth. The NEW PEOPLE folks said it's the first public building in the US with Toto toilets. The only other building in the US where I've seen the washlet in effect was at the Google offices. I wonder if they will catch on in the US?

Workers setting up the FRIEND banner for the 20th Century Boys film premiere event. The film is playing all week at Viz Cinema (in the basement of NEW PEOPLE), with the 2nd and 3rd films playing in subsequent weeks. Just read Volume 4 last night, holy shit the Friend logo is starting to terrify me when I see it. So good.


I can't remember if I said this above, but the main highlight of the day was catching a live painting demonstration by geometric genius Yuichi Yokoyama (of Travel, New Engineering fame, duh). Apologies to the fainthearted or uninterested, here are like a million photos of Yokoyama at work:

[In this one you see the small flashcards he used to pre-plan the mural elements]

I also shot a short video of Yokoyama putting finishing touches on the last of the "faces":

In the Peace Plaza, MTV IGGY had a tent and were MC-ing the live acts and contents on the bandshell stage. MTV IGGY is a global news/music channel that (I believe) is predominantly online content and focuses on Asian and Asian-American artists. A cool dude I met through mutual friends named Woody Fu works for them, but I didn't see him around. Woody's is submitting a comic for Electric Ant #2, and also interviewed Jim Lee dressed up as Cyclops.

Girl rock group TsuShiMaMire played a long set, and got a good response from the crowd.

These same bands played a bigger show Sunday night at Yoshi's.

Merch table for the various bands.

All rock ladies, all the time.

A bunch of local girls got made-up and took part in a nerdy HARAJUKU KAWAII(???) fashion contest.

Hosted by MTV IGGY, the winner of the contest won a free round-trip flight to Tokyo courtesy of JAL. Pretty chill prize, no?

Last thing before I got my pale ass out of the sun, I had the chance to meet Yuichi Yokoyama and get him to sign the Disneyland autograph book. There was a very short line to meet Yokoyama (4 people including me?) which sorta confirmed the general anonymity he enjoys/suffers among most J-pop/manga fans. I talked to him for all of 20 seconds, mostly me showing him my PictureBox bag and gushing about his work inarticulately. As our small group made its way to the signing table, others noticed and started lining up to meet the man as well.

For folks without books/things to sign, Viz was handing out rad/creepy paper masks of Yokoyama's designs. These same designs were all over the inside of NEW PEOPLE and the main part of much of the advertisements, volunteer t-shirts and motif for the center. Very cool, but I wondered how it was hooked up? I assume Seiji (Viz's president) is buddies with him :)

Yokoyama was not into my brush pen and silver sharpie. It is red & blue all the way.

Signing my book! His sketch was right after the Yoshihiro Tatsumi and Frank Santoro sketches I got at TCAF earlier this year.


I again shot a really short video of Yokoyama in action.

Finally, after getting back home I here "model" the Yokoyama mask. It conveniently covered up my sunburned face:

Other folks are probably writing more representative posts of like, the actual inside of NEW PEOPLE, and the other events I skipped (Amano happenings, gothic lolita fashion show). The first (and biggest) comes in from's Deb Aoki (who was at NEW PEOPLE on Saturday from 8am to 1am). Check out her full write-up here.

UPDATE: Another great post, with lots of video tours, can be found over at ANIME VICE.


Sophia Foster-Dimino said...

I did manage to get into the building at some point between 1 and 2. It took about 30 to 45 minutes to move through the line. I didn't really mind it, because I'd gone into Kinokuniya earlier to buy two more volumes of Monster. And I got to chat with a few people who came up to me solely because I was reading Monster (it's that good!).

The building was nice, but there weren't as many sort of sit-down places as I was expecting. Instead of chairs or tables, they have rectangular blocks scattered throughout various parts of the building. It's not really conducive to drawing with friends or anything like that.

The shop looked nice. They had some manga (Yokoyama and Urasawa) and lots of interesting coffee table artifacts. I wanted to buy a Yokoyama phone strap or a 4-pack of pins, but they were expensive.

I barely checked out the elegant gothic lolita floor, because it was swaaarming with girls in full regalia and I felt super out of place. But it looked well-stocked and all that.

The topmost floor was the gallery, with Amano's Deva Loka exhibition. I would recommend seeing it because it is so bizarrely new and exciting. I'm used to imagining his work as very soft and ethereal. These new paintings reminded me of Takashi Murakami... lots of bright flat colors. I read that he did most of them with metallic car paint?

I also hung out in the theater for a while because I was overheated and wanted to take a break. It's a pretty modern-looking setup. They were looping trailers for the 20th Century Boys trilogy and various Death Note films. I wasn't really motivated by the trailers to see any of them, though I do want to read the 20th Century Boys manga now.

While I was moving through the line, I got to hang out next to Yokoyama... he was about 1/3 through the scroll while I was there.

It's true that most of the people there did not seem to know who he was, and didn't show much interest. Their loss! I thought the painting was amazing, and I'm glad you got to meet him + get his drawing :3 I never saw those masks though, I wish I could've gotten one.

I also got to the whole shindig early enough to see Frederik Schodt translating for the 20th Century Boys actress and the president of Viz.

Sophia Foster-Dimino said...

Forgot to mention: the part of New People that made me the most gleeful (apart from the gallery) was seeing the Yokoyama shelves inside the New People store. They're like enormous bookshelves with giant Yokoyama faces on each end. I wish they were for sale!

Ryan S said...

@Sophia: Oh nice, thanks for the 2nd opinion and filling in those details :)

I actually was being lazy and watching Netflix-on-demand until after noon, so I didn't roll in until 1:30-- just in time for a half hour staring at Yokoyama painting and chatting with my Viz buddy Daniel.

You are addicted to Monster! I am glad to hear it. As much as I loved Monster, you will be happy (or sad, since it's another thing to BUY) to hear that 20th Century Boys is even more engaging and addictive. Volume 4 was super excellent.

I'm really curious about the theater, but especially the Superfrog gallery. I really wanna know who is the person responsible for the gallery programming, so that I can butter them up and get on their good side :) I am really serious about that idea for Suehiro Maruo gallery show there. Wouldn't that be so freakin' awesome??

I'm usually not that interested in Amano, but keep hearing weird things about the Deva Loka paintings. I'm gonna keep my eyes peeled on your suggestion-- we're planning to stop by tomorrow :)

The programming for the theater for the first month isn't too interesting to me; a lot of those sorta cheap Japanese domestic adaptations. But it bodes well for programming in the future-- what if they did a PINK EIGA series or a early MIIKE series or.. you know, lots of possibilities. I wonder if they will be involved as a destination for different SF film series in the future?

That's rad you saw Fred-- I was hoping to see him and say hi but no such luck.


bittermelon said...

"It's so hot out there"

"Gawd it's really hot"

"I need to eat shaved ice to cool down I'm melting"

I saw Fred and Fia in the morning. I want to hug them all the time. How about a EAZB outing to NEW PEOPLE? Then we can eat Delica and sip Blue Bottle

Ryan S said...

@Jenn: Sounds good, How about the Junko signing on Saturday as an excuse to go? Should be fun :)


Anonymous said...

There is a difference between the Operation: Chanology Anonymous and the 4Chan Anonymous, although they are all Anonymous and there is a lot of cross-over. If they were being nice then don't assume Anonymous is nice, just that one element of the whole, as the whole is an amoral concept and their activities could have been parody (especially the free hugs bit, oh please god let that have been parody!) just as easily as it could have been pleasantry.

tl:dr - anonymous is complicated & FUCK THE $CIENTOLOGY DEATH CULT!

Nice pics of the day btw :-)

p said...

20th Century Boys is just killer. Urusawa's new one Billy Bat has me really excited from the little I've been able to find.

Ryan S said...

@anonymous: Thanks for the clarifications - was all a bit fuzzy to me!

@p: Yes, definitely! I saw at Kinokuniya that the first tankobon of Billy Bat is now out in Japan :)

Ryan S said...

@Tim: thank you for your thoughtful contribution.

which part-- the shiny bldg, yokoyama, or gothic-lolita dresses for teenage girls?