Although I attended quite a few robotics events here in Japan during the past year, the one that really sticks out in my mind is last November's All Japan Micromouse competition. I can hardly wait for this year's event. It's going to be a blast, and in a totally different way than the RoboOne and other events and competitions. This year's competition will be the 26th annual event.
Of course, every year brings a new set of first time challengers trying to knock one of the 'old boys' off their pedestal. And the 'old boys' are so well known and appreciated that the crowd gets so quiet before they compete that you could literally hear a pin drop. It's not just a "Japanese thing" - several of the 'old boys' are foreigners like Ng Beng Kiat from Singapore - a really class act, extremely professional and craftsmanlike, and David Otten the US micromouse guru from MIT who won the compeition twice back in the 90's.
You can get a small taste of what it’s all about from this video:
Top two competitors
25th Annual All Japan Micromouse Contest