Celebrating Japanese cartoons, culture in Eau Claire - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Celebrating Japanese cartoons, culture in Eau Claire

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Around 1,500 people are expected in Eau Claire this weekend, here to celebrate everything Japanese. It's part of what's called the No Brand convention, now in it's tenth year in the Chippewa Valley.

From games and cartoons to art and costumes, Eau Claire is the place for Japanese animation this weekend.

"It's kind of a celebration of pretty much everything geeky," says convention organizer Katie Hatheway.

This is the tenth No Brand convention, drawing hundreds from around the Midwest. Rebecca Ducharma and Elyssa Wilson traveled from Upper Michigan.

"When the doors to the vendor room opened and everything else starts opening, we got really excited, me and friend," Rebecca says. "We got really happy."

Like many others, these friends dressed up.

"There are people that come dressed as their favorite anime characters," Katie says. "There are people that come dressed as their favorite comic book or video game characters."

"I'm Misaki Usui," says Elyssa, talking about her Japanese cartoon character.

While the gaming and exhibits are fun, they're also a chance to experience Japanese life.

"We also have some vendors that sell Japanese snacks like Pocky, which are biscuits that are dipped in chocolate or other creamy things," says Katie. "They're really tasty. You should try them."

People who come are willing to try those foreign foods. Young and old, many here share an interest in Japanese life.

"Someone might like video games; someone might like anime," says convention organizer Stephen Gernaey. "But a lot people respect each other. It's such a similar interest in culture that people just tend to get along."

"It usually takes a convention to bring us all together because we live so far apart from each other," Elyssa says.

The No Brand Con continues Friday night with a benefit for the Red Cross in Japan. The conference runs around the clock until Sunday afternoon. Ticket prices vary, depending on when you attend. For more information, click on the link on the side of this Web story.

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