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San Japan '08: Day 1

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Adjust the microscope of your Convention Senses, if you would, on a mental map of the U.S., and zoom in. Now do it further. No, more, past that huge Ota-smelling one, in Baltimore, the one I am not attending with my site brethren (not that I waited too long to get tickets and availability was shot to hell by the tropical storm or something, OH NOES). See that, down there in Texas? That's San Japan 1.5, right in my hometown, the very same weekend. The con gods took pity upon this procrastinating moron, along with Captain McVengeance - I'm charging all of you at Otakon to call him nothing else, the whole weekend! - and secured me entrance to this much more local con...along with John Martone. They remembered you, John! I got your badge along with mine. (Un)fortunately, my boyfriend had already bought his day pass, so ‘twas quite easy to stay honest with it. :P

Truth be told, we wouldn't have been able to abuse an extra press pass anyway. After the spectacle of A-kon not too long ago, all I can think is that this con is leeeetle, y'all. It's had a long, difficult, two-year battle uphill (both ways!) to get to its place in downtown San Antonio. The layout of the old-timey Municipal Auditorium was as sensibly used as that of its Austinite cousin, Ikkicon: registration was just inside the door, squarely between both panel rooms, right up the stairs from a nicely wide-open space housing the Artists Alley, Art Show, dealers room and a free manga library. A short brain-baking walk down the street was the con hotel, which hosted both video rooms, the video games and Main Event stuff. My adventures in them today were none so epic as they might've been elsewhere, but my pathetic wallet and I enjoyed them nonetheless. Hit the jump for San Japan's very well-deserved first day Evar.

We started the day out in the grandest of otaku fashion: my mommy dropped us off. Thanks, Mom! Downtown San Antonio is gorgeous, but driving it blows whale chunks. :( We noted what was where almost immediately, and that enterprising ice-cream sellers were already setting up shop right outside the standy-things denoting the different lines. (Shaddup, I took a sleeping pill too late last night, brain no food.) A lucky chance took us straight down to the dealers room, though the layout was such that getting lost would've been a monumental effort; we shopped, we strolled around, we caught vagrant whiffs of B.O., and Mike secured an actual Nintendo controller screwed into a bit of belt-buckle hardware from the Art Show. After that kind of triumph, we quit whilst ahead and headed up to the Proper Way to "Fan" Panel.

Two young ladies moderated this informal exchange of nerdly etiquette. Both have cosplayed, it seems, and at least one was an avowed yaoi fan, but they quite sensibly discussed the upward tick in fangirl-pack attendance and not solitary fanboys, as well as younger kids and families, which makes good behavior more important than ever. Much time was spent upon the proper technique for glompage--namely, no running start, ask first, and try not to break anything in the process. It's also incumbent upon the potential victim cosplayer not to be a douche to someone politely asking for a picture, or shoving away an incoming hug. D: Dearest to my heart were the last two bits, one mentioning that even "light" cosplay in reality may get you in trouble, as she got kicked out of a Kingdom Hearts meetup at the mall when too many bewigged and trenchcoated girls were loitering in...Hot Topic; also, when you read manga at the store, stand up. And no sweatstaining the books. You've been warned!

We adjourned for lunch at that point, getting lost briefly on the Riverwalk before discovering a fantastic Greek hole-in-the-wall I'm not disclosing to anyone ever ever ever. Then it was back to the Gundam/Super Robots/Mecha panel, which was, frankly, a bit sophoric. An avid Gundam fan talked about model kits and different scales and paints till I started to doze off. :( Sorry, dude! Not my thing. (One tip I carried away with me: never ever use nail polish remover, or your $50 model will dissolve.) The biggest bummer was that the next panel, Samantha Inoue Hart's Cel Painting thing, cost $5 in materials to attend. It was for charity, yes, but we were flaaaat broke after capitalism and lunch, so we headed down to check out the manga library.

...Man. I can't even remember what I read. I do know it was 90% females, and they still managed to smell like a locker room. I suspect at least one person was responsible for most of it, though, so no worries if you were there, ja?

I was hoping the "World of ADV" panel would be at least a little industry-specific, but as Tiffany Grant and company pointed out at the very outset, they're contractors, not employees of A. D. Vision, so license info and other stuff like that is totally out. They did have some good tales I hadn't heard, like the Midwestern gal who wanted so desperately to become a voice actor that she left her fiance, quit med school, and moved to Houston...along with a very pronounced lisp. :O Do not do this, potential VAs! Become an actor first, or stay one, and make sure you like Houston or Dallas or L.A. before you up and move there to pursue the dream. Also, don't bust into FUNi's offices, declare yourself the next Vic McNoggna or Vic McNoglia or Menana (seriously, he said it wrong, like, twelve times) and start auditioning to the receptionist. It helps to have more acting skills "than a table," too.

The Opening Ceremonies were fairly spartan, consisting of perhaps a couple hundred people in a large ballroom, listening to the con head take a very richly deserved "HA HA IN YOUR FACE" moment at those who said San Japan would never happen. A local j-pop band, Knuckle Sandwich, DM Ashura, and Smile.dk were amongst musical guests invited to say hello; the latter two may be familiar to DDR fans, especially the Swedish ladies of Smile.dk, what with the Butterfly and Boys songs I spent all that time prancing to in high school. I look forward to their concert tomorrow night, and a full night's sleep to enjoy Day 2. @[email protected]


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Aoi
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'Ello, luvs. I be a sometime editor o' Jtor, dependent on my school and work schedule. Thanks for reading! Remember, the first one's free. more + disclosures


 



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