You could say I am a fan of Harry Potter. I mean, going to see museum exhibitions in Chicago, traveling to New York to see Daniel Radcliffe in Equus, going to midnight showings for almost every movie, and going to get the new books at midnight at the bookstore. My room contains posters; my dresser contains t-shirts; my YouTube internet history is filled with Potter-related interviews. Oh, did I mention that my siblings and I mad a Harry Potter movie when we were kids? Yeah, perhaps I am just a little, tiny bit obsessed.
About 10 years ago, in 2001 my parents and brother convinced me to start reading the first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I wasn’t really into it, and quit about halfway through. That November, my father’s company had a private screening of the first Harry Potter movie at the theater for all employees and their families. My family went, and I remember not really even wanting to go. Little did I know, those two-and-a-half-hours drastically changed my life. It was thanks to my brother, parents, and the trio (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint) that I became a fan of Harry Potter.
Ever since that November morning of 2001, I have always had something to look forward to in relation to Harry Potter. A new book, a new movie, etc. When I found out I was going to be in Japan for the release of the final Harry Potter film, I was a lot disappointed. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was not about to give up something as epic as two months in Japan for a movie I could see any time anyways, but if you knew my life story and how Harry Potter has shaped my life, you would understand.
Fortunately, I did get to see the last film here in Japan on its release day. Thankfully we had an off day, and my friend Mayumi (from Oshkosh) is actually from Fukuoka, Japan, and is home for the summer. So, she came and picked me up and we went to see it and then did some shopping. This movie was the most epic film I have ever seen. It exceeded ALL expectations and went above and beyond anything I expected. I laughed, sobbed, gasped, and smiled in all of the right places. It followed the book so precisely and brought all of the words to life. When the final train departed at the end of the film, I felt the symbolism of my childhood truly being over, as from the age of 10-21, there has always been something Harry Potter-related. Harry Potter will still continue to be a huge part of my life. Here below is a slide show of some of the Harry Potter-related events that have taken place.
- July 2005- Release of book #6: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I reserved the book online and went to Barnes and Noble Bookstore at midnight with my friends Rachel and Tegan and my cousin Abby.
- July 2007- The release of movie #5: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; I went to the midnight showing with my cousins my sister. Additionally, I was in France when the movie was being promoted. Here is an old advertisement of the movie that I found that I took on the metro.
HP5 in the Paris metro
- July 2007- The release of book #7: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows. I was at the bookstore with about 10 of my high school friends. The day after the book came out, I left for a week-long trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. We were traveling by train: 24 hours. On our trip there were 42 people…and 27 Harry Potter 7 books.
- January 2009- Trip to NYC to see Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter star) in Equus. Also featured was Richard Griffiths, who plays Uncle Vernon, in the films.
Me in NYC, in front of the promotional Broadway poster for Equus, starring Daniel Radcliffe.
Me in NYC
- July 2009- Harry Potter Exhibition in Chicago. This exhibition displays artifacts from all of the movies; it was truly incredible to see all of the things I see in films. We couldn’t take pictures inside but here are the ones I did uncover.
- July 2009- Release of the film: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. An entire group of us dressed up and went to the theatre at midnight. It was so much fun!
Quidditch player, Ginny, George, Fred, Hagrid, Luna, Hermione, Umbridge, Trelawny
Fred and Hermione with Bellatrix
- May 2010- I FINALLY achieved my dream of going to London for 4 days whilst studying abroad in France. I tried to plan my trip around Harry Potter sites.
Tottenham Court Road- in London, where Hermione appirated Ron and Harry after the attack at the wedding in HP7.
Parliament ❤ Shown in HP5 on the broom.
Off to find the Hogwarts Express/Platform 9 3/4
Tralfagar Square: HP 7 part 2 premier held here
Nag’s Head in Coventry Gardens… possible Hog’s Head inspiration?
Millennium Bridge, which blew up at the beginning of HP6
Leister Square: Location of the HP premiers
He who must not be named
You Know Who
Platform 9 3/4…off to Hogwarts!
- November 2010- Release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. I do not have any pictures but my roommate Erin and I had a fabulous time at the midnight showing in Oshkosh.
- February 2011- Winter Carnival’s Theme: Harry Potter!
- July 2011- I got to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II in Japan with my friend Mayumi. It was a lot of fun!
With Mayumi outside the theatre!
Where we went shopping/saw HP
Here are some pictures of Harry Potter wand chopsticks that I bought, as well as some free Japanese movie posters 🙂
Additionally, I bought Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at a Japanese bookstore (in Japanese). I have decided that whenever I visit a new country, I will make it my duty to buy a Harry Potter book. (just as some people collect postcards, or spoons, I will collect Harry Potter books. So far I have France, the US, and Japan.
As you can see, the book is actually two books, as Japanese calligraphy takes up a lot of space, especially when written up and down, as they are in this book. Additionally, Japanese books are usually a standard size, as shown, so the book had to be split into two in order to keep the standard size. (The books are packaged and strung together so they are not separated when bought.)
Japanese books are opened from the back and read frontward (the opposite of what is done in America.) Though I cannot read what is on the pages, it certainly is interesting to admire all of the beautiful calligraphy and animated photos.
Anyways, here are a few things about Japanese movie theatres.
I saw it in English with Japanese subtitles. Most films that are made in English are first shown in English with subtitles in Japanese, and then the dubbed version comes out later, as it is expensive for the company and it takes longer to dub a film in Japanese. Mayumi prefers to see films in their original version rather than dubbed, as it looks awkward.
It is VERY expensive to see a movie in Japan ($18). But with a student I.D. it is only $15. Additionally, when you buy your tickets online, you reserve your seat. That way you will always have your seat. When you buy tickets at the movie theater, you are also assigned a seat. It makes it much easier for big parties to find their seats (and latecomers who stand at the door searching for open spots.)
There were only a handful of people in the theater, which was sad, because on the opening night of Harry Potter, everyone cheers, laughs, and cries at the same time. It’s a very fun and unique time at the theater. However in Japan I could not do that; it was so sad!!!
To all of my American friends out there- even though I saw it 13 hours after midnight in Japan, I STILL managed to see it before all of you …. MUAHAHAHAHAHA.
As I said before, the movie was amazing. My friends here in Japan do not really have a strong connection to Harry Potter, and I think they thought/still think that I am quite weird/intense for being so gun hoe. I don’t care. I do not have to explain to my friends and cousins in the states or in Europe why I love harry potter so much, because they already understand. Harry Potter has brought people from all over the world together. It has given something for people of all different backgrounds to talk about and bond over. It is an absolutely beautiful thing, and a beautiful series. I feel so blessed and privileged to have been apart of the generation that grew up with Harry Potter.
After 10 years, 7 books, and 8 films, my childhood is finally over.