The San Francisco J-Pop Summit 2015

When I first heard of the J-Pop Summit, I wasn’t sure if it would be my thing. I’ve never really gotten into the J-Pop genre of music (for whatever reason I find K-Pop to be much more enjoyable—maybe because it’s so similar to American pop).

But it turns out that the J-Pop Summit was about much more than just music. This weekend-long event (which took place August 8 and 9 in San Francisco) celebrated several aspects of Japanese pop culture, including food, fashion, and anime.

The events took place at two main locations: Fort Mason and Union Square. Fort Mason featured a half a dozen food trucks and a large hall with musicians, dance performances, and booths promoting various aspects of Japanese culture.

The main draw at Union Square was a sake tasting area. (Fun fact: In Japanese, “sake” is a general term that means “alcohol.” The specific type of alcohol that we call “sake” in English is actually called “nihonshu” in Japanese.) There were also a handful of vendors selling food and a few vendors whose food and drinks featured matcha (green tea powder).

Here are a few of the highlights from my visit to the Fort Mason event. Many thanks to the talented Eva Vargas for the photos!hello kitty cafe foodtruck

When we arrived at Fort Mason on Saturday afternoon, I was thrilled to see the Hello Kitty Café. This adorable pink food truck sells donuts, cakes, macarons, and other confections that are adorned with Hello Kitty-inspired decorations.

I had tried to visit the Hello Kitty Café when they were stationed at a festival in Japantown a few months ago, but after seeing how many people were waiting in line, I decided to skip it. Luckily the line was short at the J-Pop Summit, so we got our treats right away!

hello kitty donutsA close-up of the Hello Kitty donuts. So kawaii!! 

One of the parts I was really looking forward to was the recreated ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) where we could watch videos about different regions in Japan. It turned out to be a not-so-subtle commercial for each of the ryokan, so it was a little disappointing in that respect.

But they did have yukata (light cotton kimono) that we got to put on—they even had several staff members on hand to make sure we were wearing them properly. Wearing a yukata and going to a matsuri (festival) is a typical summertime activity in Japan, so it was fun to get to experience that here in San Francisco!

eva and melissa in yukata

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We also had the opportunity to meet two Japanese pop stars, Yana and Kiku, whose celebrity was unfortunately a little lost on us. They were really cute, though!

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Wandering around the large hall in Fort Mason was a bit disorienting. There were all sorts of unusual sights and sounds, like this giant head, a woman in a bathtub with a lot of cash, and various people doing cosplay.

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It was a colorful, fun way to spend the day, and I look forward to attending again next year!

Essential Social Media Resources

Here are some super useful resources for learning how to use social media effectively.

Facts & Figures

Tips & Tricks

Useful Tools

  • Storify (for compiling social media from different sources on a common topic)
  • Bitly (for shortening links and tracking clicks)
  • Hootsuite or Buffer (for scheduling posts and monitoring social media activity)

Have any other resources you’d like to add to the list? Feel free to drop me a line in the comments section to let me know!

Content Marketing World vs. HubSpot’s Inbound: A Content Marketer’s Dilemma

I recently found myself embroiled in a HUGE content marketer’s dilemma: Should I go to Content Marketing World or HubSpot’s Inbound conference?

Both events will take place over September 8–11, 2015, and both have an impressive lineup of speakers, presenters, and fun events.

When I realized that both events would take place over the same few days, I decided to put it out there in the Twittersphere to see if anyone else could help me make my decision.

cmworld or inbound tweet

As I expected, the folks at HubSpot responded almost immediately. (They tend to know what they’re doing on social media.)

hubspot response

I have to admit that they tempted me with the offer of both Amy Schumer and the cake.

But of course the folks at CMI didn’t leave me hanging, either.

cmi response

Also, note the fact that the folks at HubSpot favorited this tweet. Very sweet of them!

In a very tiny nutshell, this is how I distinguished between the two events:

Content Marketing World

Inbound

  • Held in Boston
  • I’ve never been, so I don’t know exactly what to expect (both a plus and minus)
  • Not just content focused, and in fact not even just marketing focused—includes sessions on sales, design, and other topics
  • Some sessions are very HubSpot focused, and I was not using HubSpot at the time
  • Seems to be a really fun, cool event (yes, I totally bought into their marketing materials)

Ultimately, I decided to attend Content Marketing World, even though no one promised me cake if I decided to do so. However, just a few days ago, look what showed up in my Twitter feed:

joe pulizzi

So that confirms it—I must’ve chosen well… right?

Have you attended Content Marketing World and/or Inbound? How would you characterize each one? If you had to choose only one to attend, which one would you choose?

And finally, what’s your favorite flavor of cake? I’m partial to funfetti myself.