Thursday, August 30, 2018

Matsuricon 2018

Written by Dani and Andrew Livelsberger
Photography by Andrew Livelsberger


Description from the Matsuricon website:
Matsuricon is an annual Japanese pop-culture event that focuses primarily on Japanese animation (known as “anime”), manga (Japanese graphic novels), and video games. We also showcase both American and Japanese popular culture, due to the natural overlap of fandom from both genres.

We are considered a “family friendly” event. Most of our panels are all ages unless otherwise stated. We do showcase certain events that are not appropriate for attendees under the age of 18, and our convention staffers check the IDs of all attendees before they enter these events. Because of our “family friendly” image, our mascots are a “traditional” Japanese family consisting of a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, and a dog.

Matsuricon’s goal is to promote the cultural awareness of Japanese pop-culture through related events, special guest speakers and cultural presentations.

Below, we waited outside and saw several eager attendees walking through downtown Columbus to enter the Convention Center and begin their Matsuricon journey.


Those that have followed us for a long time know that we love cosplay, anime, science fiction and all the cons that go along with it.  We've covered Wizard and Ohayocon many times.  This was our first year at Matsuricon.

My initial impression is that this is not an overly large convention, which is a great thing if you have a desire to go, but do not want to be inundated with large crowds.  Matsuricon used the Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Greater Columbus Convention Center for their panels and events.  This helps spread the activity around.

Unlike other conventions, we never felt cramped, jammed, or rushed.

What you do get is the same great cosplay, panels and cultural events that we have come to love at events like this.

One of our first events was the AMV Contest or Anime Music Video Contest.   At this event, you watch and vote for your favorite anime video clip paired with a song.  These entries are submitted by Matsuricon lovers for the viewing public's consideration.  This was our first time at this kind of viewing, and we can say that there are some very talented editors out there!!  Great job to all who submitted.

Here, we can see an example of the viewing facility as well as fans watching and enjoying the videos.

And what would an anime convention be without the awesome work and dedication of the cosplayers!

Check these out!

We next took a trip into the vendor area.  Here you find all your favorite videos, manga, costumes and cultural items you won't find at your local WalMart or Target.   Not going to lie, we did find some stuff we wanted and bought it (we are suckers for DragonBall - even after all these years).  Good thing we are the bosses and can take breaks whenever we want!   :D

Now, before we wrap up this Visual Ohio Matsuricon, let us express once again our admiration for those that participate.  They put in countless hours on their costumes and their performance routines.  You can tell they really have found a passion and an outlet for their creativity.

This young lady really can play the violin and well.  It was not just a prop for her cosplay outfit.
I remember hearing her start playing, and thought it was a bit out of place where we were.  I looked over and saw the crowd starting to perform.

She had her eyes closed for most of the performance.  When she completed the piece and opened her eyes, she was greeted by applause and cheers from the other attendees that were blessed with her spectacular performance.

This blondie was part of a duo that performed a choreographed dance to some of their favorite anime themes.

We had wrapped up our coverage for the day and were about to leave, but when we got right to the door we heard lots of cheering and applause.  Of course, we had to investigate what was going on.  Walking into the meeting room in Section A, there were about 30 people sitting around and cheering on their friends as they performed.

This is a great community and everyone bonds together to support each other in their performances or just being there for each other in general.

I'm very grateful for organizations like Matsuricon that provide an outlet for these creative minds to express themselves.  Visual Ohio is grateful to Matsuricon for providing us the opportunity to cover the event this year and hope to return in the future to expand out coverage now that we know what it is all about!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

African American Male Wellness Walk/Run 5k

Written/Photography by Andrew Livelsberger


Founded in 2004, the African American Male Wellness Initiative was started to help empower men to live longer through preventative measures. 


Waking up early, I targeted covering the event from 7:30 am on.  The run/walk was scheduled to start around 9:30am.  Driving down, the sun was shining and all looked well.   I found my parking spot and started walking to Livingston Park next to Nationwide Children's Hospital when the rain started.

like everyone, we tried to wait out the rain.

And it just never really let up.  I was a little disappointed as I would not get the kind of pictures that I had hoped...but then, I needed to remember that this whole Visual Ohio thing is not just about the pictures.  It's about the story.  The pictures only support the story,and what a great story this is!

I first heard about this event from one of my doctors.   For those that may not know, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes on May 3, 2016.   I was not feeling well and suspected this might be the case.  Diabetes runs in my family, so it was no surprise.  It was however, something that I had hoped to be able to prevent.  I thought I was doing all I could, but that was just not so.

Like many, I started the recommended course of treatment.  Different medicines and lifestyle changes.  I wanted to fight this with everything I had available to me, so I requested that my family physician refer me to an endocrinology specialist.  It was that endocrinology specialist, along with my family doctor that helped me get to where I am today.

I went from taking 4 different medications daily, to taking none at all.  I walk or run between 3-5 miles daily and I watch my sugar and carbohydrate intake carefully.  For a year and a half now I've been controlling my diabetes with diet and exercise.  I might get more into my personal story later...that's really not what this is let's digress to the true story here!  :D

I did not stay long enough to cover the start of the race, but I did walk around the event space.  Found some interesting characters, like this guy!

Prevention is the key and this event really has that.   Once you register, volunteers help direct you to the screenings and vendors that can help you the most.  I did not get pictures of that kind of thing because I want to respect peoples privacy, so please just take my word for it.

The lines were long, but you could get just about any check you could think of.  Cholesterol, glucose, HIV, height, weight....getting those critical numbers so that you can head off any potential issues earlier.

volunteers provide table massages

Education is also a great way to help prevent issues.  There were plenty of vendors and hospital staff there to educate you on things that you may not have known about, or help guide you to a healthy path.

I've been to events like this in the past, but I've never seen one that was so inclusive and expansive on the services and education they provide.  I can see why people are taking notice of this event.  It is really a bright spot in the community...everyone there helping others be the best self they can be.

We often say that Ohio is one of the greatest places to live.  It is one of those great places because it is built on a strong foundation.  Columbus is one of those foundational pillars, doing great things for those that need it most, bring the help to them when they cannot get to it easily themselves.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Ohio History Connection's March Through Time Event

Written/Photography by Andrew Livelsberger


Quoted from the Ohio History Connections website:
"Explore Ohio's military history during March Through Time! Learn how the uniforms, weapons and gear of Ohio soldiers have evolved through time. Reenactors will be spread throughout the Village representing the various conflicts involving Ohio and its people."


To be totally honest, I totally didn't remember this event was going on.  We went to the Ohio History Center and Ohio Village to introduce it to a few friends of ours who have never been.  However, like a good photographer and reporter, I always have a camera with me!  I'm glad I did as it would have been a shame to not be able to cover the March Through Time!

Reenactors covered the time period from the German Renaissance through the 1970's.

There was a WW1 station inside the center, where they discussed the uniforms and weaponry from that time.
Browning Automatic Rifles, Springfields on display

Outside at the Ohio Village, WW2 reenactors from the American and German side setup camps and moved about the village.

There were even some from the American Revolutionary War period.  They explained battle tactics of the day, their armaments and fielded any questions the crowd may have had.

The Ohio History Connection is a fabulous and often forgotten about place.  They have events like this all the time!  Just check out their website to see all that is coming up.  Even if there are no events coming soon, there are plenty of exhibits inside to keep you busy and learning for hours!   There are event rotating exhibits, so make sure to check back often for the newest features!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Schnormeier Gardens

Written by Dani and Andrew Livelsberger
Photography by Andrew Livelsberger


Schnormeier Gardens are located in Know county.  There is a very interesting history which is outlined on the website.  Definitely take the time to check out that link above!

Also note that the property is not usually open to visitors except by large group appointment and an annual open house.  Make sure to plan your visit accordingly.


Even before you step foot onto the property, just looking from the outside know you have found some place special.

Prestine gardens and Asian inspired views are a visual feast.  You can feel the serenity and peace as you stroll through from section to section.

This gazebo sits atop the hill on the property, giving you an overlook of the bridge and rock gardens below.

A Japanese tea house sits along the waterfront of the pond.

From the bridge, you can see large koi fish, enjoy the shade of the trees and peer out over the clear waters.

Nestled on a rock and obscured by some trees, you may find some interesting statues.

I cannot believe that it took us this long to find and visit this magnificent place.  Truly a gem in central Ohio and worth your time to visit here.  Guaranteed that you will be blown away by the beauty!