Alright, I’ve been to Japan, Baltimore, and everywhere in between over the last month and a half, and, so, I haven’t been able to post much. However, since I have about a week before I start teaching I now have a fat stack of time, and, so, prepare for a wave of anecdotes, anime garbage and doom (of the epic kind). For now, have some Korean One Piece fan art (sorry, don’t know the artist) while you wait for more fun below the fold!
First off, anecdotes from near and far. I went to Otacon this summer, and was a part of the game show crew. Having been to a couple of cons before purely as a fan, trying to run things was very different. To begin with, it meant that for about half the con, I was sitting up in a hotel room putting the finishing touches on questions and testing out equipment. However, I had the rest of the con to fool around at, which gave me time to hit the dealers room, hard, and also to get an autograph from Seki ‘freakin’ Tomokazu, the man who died for your sins in episode 4 of Nadesico. It was epic, to say the least.
From my perspective, it’s a lot more fun to help run stuff at a con than to just attend. Attending a con is a lot like going to a mall, except instead of the hot-topic goth kids and the rich girls yaking on cell phones, you have fat Naru-tards and people who don’t understand the idea of hygene. Moreover, a lot of the panels are just not that interesting (panels dedicated to shows, I’m looking at you). Usually the presenters are either hyper-fans who will spend the whole panel squealing about some worthless aspect of the show, or industry hacks, who are trying to seem “cool” and sell their crap. In contrast, when you’re running a panel, or another activity, you get the chance to try and produce something of value, rather than just consuming (Props to the guy who was running the Indie J-Rock panel for an example of a good panel). Remember, even if it’s shitty, it’s better to do something creative than just passively take in what people produce.
Enough about that, next up, tidbits from the Japan Trip. So, people should know that I am clumsy and have bad luck. A perfect example of this is getting stuck in Jersey for a week because I wouldn’t be able to get back from Japan when I was planning on going (seriously, the flights were overbooked by like 20 people. No joke.) Once there, I found that I had to switch up my scheduling, because I forgot that it’s across the international date line, so things that couldn’t happen on, say, friday that I scheduled for “thursday” (I’m using quotes to indicate that I was still scheduling things in states-time) ended up having to be moved. However, despite the failure from time to time, it was really quite enjoyable. Here’s some stories from various places.
Imperial Palace East Gardens: There’s a building there (if you go, you’ll see what I’m talking about) that looks like a rocket-ship from a b-movie in the sixties. You can’t go in, but it’s definately something notable.
Shibuya/Harjiku: I think they need to have a sign that says: You must be this fashionable to enter, and then have a picture of a guy in slacks with a nice shirt; because in addition to the standard “People looking at you when they think you aren’t paying attention because you’re a foreigner” you get the more common “What the hell is this guy doing here” look, which is annoying.
The Subway: Never go on the subway during rush hour in the morning. I think I was accidentally violated by some guy’s briefcase. Also, evening rush hour lasts much, much longer than you think.
Enoshima: If you go to Fujisawa station to take the enoden, there’s a big mural with all of the one piece characters. Moreover, there is a train car painted similarly. It was completely unexpected and quite amusing. I should probably talk about how one piece is pretty much better than everything else in Shounen Jump (except Death Note, whose presence in that magazine was completely unexpected and maybe parts of JoJo’s bizzare adventure)
Kamakura: The giant Buddha is less amazing due to the shear number of tourists. Especially when you go inside it and it smells like a gym locker room, because so many people are squashed and sweating in a small place.
Baltic Curry: Strongest Curry in the world my ass. More like: crappiest meat in the world with the most mediocre sauce.
Jinboucho: Nifty little street/ area with a bunch of used book shops, including one that specialized in back issues of Japanese Rock magazines; moreover, this store is run by a tiny 35-40 year old women who dresses in ridiculous goth-loli outfits.
Akihabara: First off, yes, it’s full of anime related crap. In fact, I spent a whole much of time here. However, I must confess that I was taken aback by the sheer amount of pornographic material here. Seriously, there’ll be like one floor for manga, one floor for dvds, one floor for cd’s, 1/2 a floor for figures and crap, and then three and a half floors of porn and another floor for h-games. This is not just one store, but most of the larger ones.
So, yeah, I’ll have a complete trip outline/guide done in collaboration with my travel partner, so wait for that for more details.
Now for the Anime and Doom. So, I’m kinda behind on anime (Since I haven’t had access to a computer), so I’m gonna give my review of the first two eps of Baccano. In a word, epic. It has not only Wakamoto (who, as I have established before, is the Second Coming) , but also Koyasu (Jade from Tales of the Abyss, Illapalazzo from Excel Saga, and Touga from Utena) who is like 10 gallons of ass-kicking in a 5 gallon jug. The story seems solid, if a little difficult to follow, due to the number of characters, and the animation quality is, so far, high, while keeping a more realistic than iconic style. The Doom is that the show in only 13 eps, which means that, considering the number of characters, I’ll probably be better off reading the book, which is a huge pain, because, to paraphrase Barbie, “reading Japanese is hard.”
Well, expect me to give a much longer review of some stuff, (mostly manga that I bought overseas) in the near future. Until next time, dear readers, prepare for another hot heaping helping of awesom. (Oh, and BigN, I’ll send you your crap on tuesday, the shipping place was closed for labor day)