Okay, day two of the Con, and I am still alive…sorta. You know how I said in Japan, that as long as I see one thing a day then it was worth it. It was worth it. I so far am only spend 4 hours a day at Sakura-Con, which for example for today, I was at the start of the exhibition hall (where stuff is sold – huge, huge draw, I was at the front of thousands of people – crip card pass!). I stayed four hours and got to see about half of the hall and the sellers, considering I just once in while stop to buy things, like gifts and stuff for myself. Then I come home, have to do the recovery, oxygen, I am running a fever, and I sleep many hours, leave the convention at 2:00 pm, by 11:00 I wake up, and by midnight the fever has broken, ready for another four hours tomorrow. This. the four hours out, is ‘pushing my limits’, that is life now. I try to deal with it.
Here I am on the ferry to Seattle on Day one, getting ready to be dropped off, due to a health crises, I was coming 6 hours later than planned. But plans are made to be broken, yes? The point is I am ready to fly (please notice shaved armpits and legs – also armbands sent to me just in time).
On Friday there were far less people so I had more time to talk to the vendors. The publisher Media Blaster was there and I talked to a girl there who it turns out is the translator for the manga from Japanese to English. They are the ones who publish Doujin Works which I had on my wishlist, so I bought that from her and took off the wishlist.
I got a Doujinshi art book from a guy who talked to three people simultaneously and was either in a maniac state or had some altering substances in his system (don’t take amphetamines kids!). As one guy wandered by, he wanted a gift for a friend and the owner was:
“Oh, you want chicks with dicks having sex with each other…..” running around to about 50 boxes, and throwing doujinshi at the guy.
Guy: “Uh, no, I just want um.”
(Cut off), “Oh yeah, tentacle rape, I know what you mean, yeah, yeah, get it exactly…” (this seller is NOT doing manga/anime favors)
Meanwhile guy is holding a doujinshi with the cover having two naked girls on it one touching the other. He is an American male, he wants ‘straight girl lesbians’ (the kind of lesbians where both are femmes, both shave the body, etc – wait a minute, Linda and I are both femmes, and I just shaved my legs, under arms and Area 51 (very small panty triangle under very short skirt)…).
Other random things: being offered a job AT the convention within an hour, chatting to and flirting up a girl with tattoos who was in a roller derby and we were like THIS close to a date, Cheryl getting picked up by a GUY, me saying, "Oh, I'm not getting this book, I try not to promote heterosexuality!" several times and no one batting an eye (well, all the girls read Yaoi, the guys read lesbian stuff so...), a art book seller from San Jose had a box of H (stands for X-rated word in Japan) well he had to put all the stuff in there, so he sold me a couple books from there as one had girls kissing with one girl with a hand on the other's breast, I said, "This isn't X-rated, this is my LIFE!"
Of course, what anime convention would be complete without the many stores selling LARGE blade weapons, which you can’t even pick up unless you are over 18. And they card! The swords are for show as many are for characters are you see someone carrying a 8 foot axe. Most people have dressed up someone, and you never know when you meet someone who you don’t recognize the character (Laura Croft?) but you have to have the picture.
There was a SIX hour workshop on kimono’s but I did not see one person wearing the obi correctly, except the Japanese shop owners, as to many of the shops I went to, the owners didn’t speak English. While others were ‘Con sellers” and were off from here to San Fran or somewhere else in the 40+ anime conventions they do a year. There was this very fine Fukura Kimono (see the long sleeves for a young unmarried girl before her coming of age ceremony at 21 when she gets entered in the rolls in Japan with her OWN last name) – this is silk and probably cost between $5K and $25K. It is not of the colors of an imperial city, neither from Kyoto or Kanazawa but it VERY nice. Linda wanted me to wear my Yakata with Obi but my wheelchair would crush the obi, alas!
There were stores selling ready to wear cheaper Yukata and Chinese slip dresses with fans and paper umbrellas. Lower quality but affordable price for people who just want to dress up and have fun. Also there was steam punk vendors and every time I pulled out my Feather Bag to pay the Japanese they would go, “Oh, h.naoto!” and then we would talk about how I got the bag or what they collect or the h.naoto limited edition Hello Kitty stuff, like the anarchy stationary or goth loli stuff, which is the most collectable. The translator had a H.naoto Hello Kitty on her key chain and we were all about they were so subversive.
It wouldn’t be fair to talk about h.naoto without mentioning another phenomenon which is the “Sweet Loli” where they dress like Alice (the Japanese are OBSESSED with Alice in Wonderland) or other ‘sweet girl’ in a frilly style. The originals are sold by Sweet Baby and are just as limited. Here we have a picture of two Sweet Loli’s and probably a h.naoto schoolgirl. The girl on the right has the most expensive stuff and her matching wrist cuffs are probably about $90 while a dress like that is several hundred dollars.
We saw several people doing photo shoots, sort of like Prom, with pro-photographers and whiteboards. The h.naoto associated band and designer Hangry and Angry, the Japanese Punk, were performing, so we saw some Japanese punk (You HAVE to die your hair blonde, as a rebel against Japanese black hair if a punk) – and instead of a nice mouth guard for coughing (so as not to spread colds), punks do it in black saying, “Yeah, I’m sick, deal with it!” – here is a couple, the girl looks like she is right out of Nana, a cult hit series in Japan and the US about a couple bands fighting to make it big and the girls, one a singer, another a girlfriend of a singer.
As for me, I DID manage to find an art book store at the end and bought a COUPLE of artbooks as you see here (that LITTLE pile my hand is on) (Oh, so sad, and almost all the ebay money gone in day 1 – the rest goodbye in day two!). This seller, from San Jose, was very good as he let me see inside. So the three page list of books I was looking for (for the blog, as I am not exactly action crip anymore and I want the readers to have good images, besides, I LIKE the different art books, it is one of the few things to get me excited!), the owner allowed me to look inside, so I labelled some as “so/so” and others are “Must have!” Thankfully my “must have” pile was fairly small (due to not finding ENOUGH!). Then the owner would give me a NEW copy. He was really great! I returned to be told by Akadot that two of the books I had ordered from Japan had arrived – one which was $49 anywhere I could find it was $25! (It was EST, from an artist started as a Doujinshi artist, so a real bargin for anyone wanting to try out an art book) So I paid for those but crying, “all the money gone!” Oh well, that was the point right? Akadot has been very good in checking with and getting rare or out of print books for me if they can from their Japanese major dealer.
Cheryl and I were on Uke alert! And if you remember there was that book, “Maid in Heaven” from my last Uke post about a guy who has to replace his sick grandmother for a stern young master. Master falls for male maid and fun ensues. Well, here is a guy who HAS shaved his legs and chest (and underarms?) and Cosplayed as Maid in Heaven – hooray! Uke be proud!
Today I ended up going to a few places offering Manga at 20%+ off and found some deals, like Pumpkin Scissors for $5 and so I took those off the wishlist and put on new series I found to read, including one about the most famous of French Fencers and a spy. I also ended up having to carry Cheryl’s BOX of manga as with her crushed vertebra she can’t carry them – oh yeah, use my flat unfeeling legs to just LOAD ME UP! I also went and got some presents to send out, though a lot of prices were higher than I expected so I couldn’t get as much as I wanted. But I will do what I can (give it my best!). Tomorrow is using any money I have left for gifts too.
I also talked to people about David’s Cat Network in Japan. We had, after talking to David, made up two sided coupons (which I am handing out here - carrying CHERY's MANGA - and a bit of mine...), where on one side it talks about how David, due to that there are no ‘official’ or government organizations does TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) of Feral Cats as well as healing and treating many sick cats including many with cat’s HIV.
Since I last wrote David now has a Tokyo branch, thanks to volunteers, and he has a new housing unit for the cats. He needed to clear the area but instead of paying the near $1,000 for the clearing equipment he did it himself and then it was build and just finished. People come to see it as it has not just play and walkway areas inside but enclosed transparent areas going outside and then back inside, so it is nicer for the cats (follow the link ahead, it is the second picture down!). So there was a link to his JapanCatNetwork on one side and a Coupon on the other which is open to all reader here as well; if you go to his business selling ‘shitajiki’ or pencil boards to make money to feed and treat the cats, your first order over $10 (before shipping) you get $5 off if you mention the Sakura-con. There are ones of Masked Rider, of TV shows, of Hello Kitty (he gives extras away to disadvantaged kids) , of sports, and of Anime – I am saying it isn’t just ANIME. Also the shipping is just a few dollars for up to four boards, which come in new plastic protectors. If you want some inexpensive suggestions, I recommend this series (cat girls and kimonos!), as well as this series. But a lot is just exploring and searching what you want for yourself. Doujin are artists who do original work, which can make them more expensive, but also more amazing, like Tinkerbell (click on the pictures for a better view!).
That is it for day two, I have to go do a few postcards if I can and then get ready to pack up in the morning and to go to the last day (I want to go to the workshop on Kyudo (the Japanese Bow) and learn how to shoot it!). While it is VERY taxing, I am glad I came, it is better to DO and pay for it, then not try at all. And I get to roll and talk to people, or have people ask for my picture as they did on the first day, including the official photographer (Tomorrow is the white Bustier!). It is very family friendly activity and Linda who was out clothes shopping said most of the store workers talked about how great it was for people watching (when there are about 18-20,000 people and about 5,000+ costumes, I agree!).
3 hours ago