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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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08/23/2008 Archived Entry: "Con Report: Otakon 2008 - Part 2"

Otakon convention report, part 2

Report by Linda Yau

Once again, the next day on Saturday- August 9, I woke up pretty early. There was something to do though. I was waiting for autographs, and had to complete an individual photo shoot of I-hsiu's cosplay outfit for the day. We decided to meet at the autograph session of Kazuko Tadano and Hiromi Matsushita, about an hour and half in advance.

Lines are issues for all conventions and, Otakon was notorious for having huge lines. As a con goer, there are several choices, get an express ticket or get to an autograph session early. Staff will cut off lines, so autograph seekers are held in lines, like cattle (the analogy fits!) This also is ample opportunity to meet fellow anime fans, and chat about things.

Now consider this scenario as another analogy, the line to the lone Starbucks kiosk in the convention center.

Jumping again... back to the autograph line and waiting for Mr. Tadano and Ms. Matsuhita's autograph session, once again - they manage to please fans. There was a raffle for ten lucky fans to get personalized sketches from the artists themselves; I-hsiu was lucky to get one. After this autograph session was over - I heard from I-hsiu that the Bandai booth from the Dealerís room was giving 100 free express tickets for JAM Project's autographs, so I ran down and was the third to last person to get the elusive ticket.

I spent some time in the Dealers room, before making an attempt to go to the Artist Alley, to which I got lost trying to find the location. The Alley's entrance was apparently next to the exit door of the Dealer's Room, and at first I walked past it. I did eventually find my way to the Artist Alley, and was happy to get several new things from fan artists themselves.

I then decided to go back up to the autograph location, to wait for Kappaei Yamaguchi's line. Seeing that I was quite early, there was time for JAM Project's first autograph session. I went, and it was rather exciting really. I was pretty happy to shake the hands of each JAM Project member. With the assistance of an interpreter, I tried to speak with each of the member. This was some memorable highlights for me, Ms. Okui actually reacted, as I gave her my Slayers the Best from TV/Radio CD booklet to sign. I also complimented Mr. Fukuyama on his solo for Angel Voice from the concert. Once again, there wasn't any photography allowed, because there were just too many people. I was among the first five people in the line to get my things autographed.

Afterwards, I rushed back out in the same area to wait in the pre-line to Kappei Yamaguchi's autograph line. It was quite a long wait that basically felt for me, akin to waiting around NYC's MTA rush hour. The line and crowd formed around me. During this time, I made the acquaintance of several convention goers, and as the hour came for Mr. Yamaguchi's session began, I quickly made the acquaintance of an Otakon staff monitoring the line, who disclosed his worst fear of being trampled by a mob of raging fans. I had also casually mentioned the possibility of shoes being weapons. This is a fact that I overheard earlier, from another con goer.

I was quite ecstatic, when I got to be in the line that got to get Mr. Yamaguchi's autograph... it was a definite deja-vu feeling dream. As he signed a specific pencil board, I impulsively decide to gave him a fanart print that I purchased a little earlier. I-hsiu made it to the line slightly later, and I tried to get her item autographed as well, but Otakon staff was pretty strict, so I wasn't able to.

I made it out of the room, and I went to speak with her, and she gave me the task of rushing downstairs to the Dealer room, where the JAM Project was doing another autograph session. Mr. Kageyama actually asked where I got the cd for him to sign. Now prior to the convention, I had made a last minute trip to Asahiya Japanese Bookstore to pick up two imported cds: of One Piece for Mr. Kitadani to sign personally for me, and a JAM Project cd for I-hsiu. Now at the con, he asked these two questions, whether it was a DVD or did was the cd purchased from Amazon. When I mentioned Asahiya Bookstores, he was really surprised. Then as I saw Ms. Okui again, I got over my nerve to say to her that I really love her work. She couldn't really speak English, so I was speaking with some scattered Japanese vocabulary. Seeing her wasn't as bad as my previous experience meeting Ms. Mamiko Noto in Otakon 2007.

Afterwards I hung around the dealer room some more, I spoke with various anime distribution companies there, such as Media Blasters. I had introduced myself to the various press dealers that supplied JLHLS with published works, thanking them for their support for the Journal. These press include, Aurora Press, Luv Luv, and Yaoi Press. I even had a short nice conversation with Peter S. Beagle. I wished I had thought to take a photo of Mr. Beagle, but that wasn't the case, as 6PM, heralded the closing of the Dealerís Room.

These are pictures of cosplayers I took, during the day:

I can say that by the time the afternoon ended. I barely made it out of the convention center, rested in the Press Relations office for a few minutes. My feet felt like they would have fallen off, so I took a $5 cab ride back to the hotel, which was two blocks over and five blocks up.

I bumped into a high school acquaintance who was a dealer at the convention, I saw him at the Dealers room, so I was equally surprised that we were staying in the same hotel. We made some plans to meet up again to attend the Saturday Night Fan Parodies, with his crowd. The event was quite packed, so I stayed for an hour watching an old Evangelion parody, it reminded me of an old high school experience with my Japanese Animation club.

After the parody ended for that particular title, I decided to head over to where my weekend roommates were, they were attending the Rave. I decided to not attend the Rave, so I headed back to the hotel, with a roommate, and then stayed up late speaking with them about random things.

When Sunday morning rolled around, I was pretty exhausted, but I got up early, and decided to go to the Dealer's Room with another weekend roommate. Check-out time from the Tremont is at 12 noon, so I packed up my stuff, and brought my luggage downstairs to be held by the hotel, until the afternoon. After a morning run over to Starbucks, my roommate, and I walked down to the convention center.

It was interesting, since we were both staring at the crowded line to the dealer's room on a Sunday morning. I didn't have much of anything else to do, so I was at the Dealer's room for a little bit, and then walked upstairs for Masao Maruyama's autograph session. That went smoothly, and something occurred afterwards that had me flustered for a short time. It appeared that I dropped my cell phone, so I met up with my friend who drove down from New York with me, and we had lunch together. During lunch at California Tortilla, I received news that my phone had been located, so I went back, and from there, we met our other driving buddies, and made the trek back up to New York.

These are some photos I took on the last day:

Post conference, I went back to work on Monday, and for the following four days I felt like I was jet lagged. Somehow through those exhausted feeling days, I made reservations for hotel for next year's Otakon. Hotel space gets eaten up quite quickly though; still another year to wait for Otakon.

Thus, this ends my con report for Otakon 2008.

Replies: 1 Comment

Great report Linda! Nice pictures and it explained what the convention was like, have a good time next year.


Posted by Aleksey @ 09/04/2008 07:43 PM PST

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