goodness, what an experience. so ive been going to anime cons every year since like 2000... and... nothing ive been to compares with the summer comic market in tokyo. i mean, i've been to all the different kinda of events and gatherings at AX... i've been to all parts of las vegas on the new years countdown... i thought id be ready to experience the legendary comiket crowds... but i wasnt! lol.
so the plan was to climb fuji between thursday and friday morning, come down, and get to the con in tokyo around noon on friday. THAT SO DID NOT HAPPEN. lol. it was like 1000am friday and we were like 'lol so how bout that getting to comiket by noon plan...' we werent even at the top yet XD though we were very very close (but so far away ;_;)!
anyway, we were just gonna eff the con for friday, and use the rest of the day to rest up to be all fresh for saturday. brother had left luggage in a shinjuku station locker so we had to go pick it up first thing saturday morning. there was no way we could have woken up any earlier than 1000am on saturday after the climb, so we set out for shinjuku around 1030am saturday thinking itd take like 45 there, and 45 back (to funabashi where we were staying) with some waiting time tacked on there. then going all the way back to the tokyo area again for the con lol. anyway, i predicted we'd be there at 130pm-ish and that way, wed beat all those early morning veterans right? then we'd do a quick swoop of goods without cosplaying that day, and devote our sunday to cosplay...
that was the rationale... but the trains totally failed us in tokyo. the line that we wanted to take back to funabashi was totally out of service for some question mark reason, as were the 2 following trains on the line, so we had to take this lame and long roundabout way back with like super chunky waiting times... by the time we got back to funabashi we were like, 'i wonder... if we'll be able to make it... like for reals... lol.'
we tried anyway =D
...and got inside one of the dealers hall right at 400pm! ... but no one was selling anything!!! -_- that day we really REALLY felt how punctual jp folks were. they have this tradition i think? where they applaud the 1600 hour chime (comiket ends ON THE DOT!!!! at 400pm). lame. anyway, we were able to marvel at the tail end of the crowds which were still pretty fatty. we saw cosplayers like freaking everywhere - in the halls, outside the building, inside the building, at the AM PM conbini - so we said 'sweet, theyre lax about cosplay.'
we met up with some of my buddies and spend the rest of the evening in akiba... where a monsoon of a rain kept us trapped there for some time haha. then we partied like no tomorrow at good ol saQra bar that night after getting back to funabashi.
SO - having missed 2/3 days of the con we were bent on getting there at 1000pm (the opening time) on sunday. set my phone alarm for 800am and noticed that i was low on battery so i plugged it into buddy's charger to test compatability, charging light came on and everything, so i set it and we all went to sleep.
come morning, the urge to pee woke me up, so after a trip to the bathroom i looked at mr phone and it totally didnt turn on and i was like, 'ah come on~~~~' ... sure enough mr phone was dead which meant alarm that was supposed to have rung didnt. i checked my watch and it was like 930 and i was like cruddddddd. i was kickin myself too because i had actually brought my own phone charger too, but after getting tricked by that damn charging light, i didnt think i had to bust it out because i thought our chargers were compatible.
totally got tricked.
we hurried to get con-ready and bolted out. after stopping by random places for last minute cosplay items and food, we managed to get to the con around 130pm i think. first thing i dashed for was T2 ART WORKS! but how foolish was i to think that there would be any of HIS goods left at 200pm -_-
after being hosed in so many ways, i felt that we had to at least get out there in the cosplay area and get some pictures of ourselves with other macrossF cosplayers. so we mosied our way out to the cosplay area ready to enjoy ourselves at the last hour of cosplay on the last day (cosplay ends at 300pm on the last day). we chose a relatively secluded (as secluded as you can get at comiket) place near a bush, made a magic circle, and began to gear up!
as we were changing, people were staring at us and we were like !(<_<>_>)a
we thought it was because we were talking kinda loud in english, and we had an exotic non-asian among us lol.
anyway, we looked good!! after the first random photographer came to snap us, we were in happy the moment! which made up for all the time we missed out from the con =D well, that's how i felt at least haha. there wasnt any way i was gonna leave the con without getting at least one picture of us in our cosplay, after spending so much time and effort and yen-age on them lol.
at 300pm we decided to go back into the halls to scout for goods and thought - well theres hella people inside the halls in cosplay (not just innocently ambiguous EGL threads either - like we saw full bright pink wig shit and stuff) so that means green light towards the end of the con maybe? so we were looking around for maybe 20 minutes when a staffer comes up to us - or rather, comes up to our non-asian buddy and is all, "hey! hey, change out of your costume now. cosplay time is over." and we were like, "aight. we understand." and since we had our clothes underneath our cosplay, we could change fast and stuff. so we parked next to a wall and began to de-gear.
the meaning of freedom:
i took off my wig, tie, hood thing, and started to unbutton my shirt when the same staffer runs up to us with this end of the world look and is all "HEY! HEY! did you not understand what i asked you to do?!" and i was like, "... " kinda taken aback at how he was like screaming at us all up in our grill and shit and he was like, "can you understand japanese?! huh?! can you understand what im saying?!" and after a few seconds of thinking like "omg step the eff BACk, coz..." i say, "um, im changing...' then i undo another button and his head like explodes and hes like, "STOP!" this time in english, and holds up both hands widespread in front of my face like russian martial art style... which makes me drop my tie and hood on the floor so i instinctively pick it up and he goes, "NO!" in english. then i drop them both in my bag and he goes "STOP!! NO NO NO MOVE!!!" and im like '...lol' then he talks into his walkie talkie thing and like 5 other staffers show up and original dude explains to them in japanese, "uh, we got a bunch of first-timer GAIJIN here who dont know any japanese, they dont have their clothes with them, and theyre trying to change in the bathroom."
at this point im thinking, 'uh, we know what youre saying, we're not changing inside no bathroom, and we have our clothes right here... on our bodies... just let us take our shirts off and we'll be part of your perfect image fake ass plastic society again, bitch.'
BUT - we decided it would be to our advantage to play the "so sorry, no japanese!" card.
lol. and then they brought out Tanaka!
jk - basically they told us to follow them. we were good kids so we did and so we were bought to this staff area where we were forced to wait for some question mark reason... i listened to this staffer on his walkie talkie who said "yea radio Tanaka (dont know what that other punk's name was) we need someone to tell them about how stuff works in english... yea tell him to escort them to the locker rooms too... alright thanks, see you."
i pointed to this girl in cosplay and was like, "why arent you forcing her to change right now?"
he said, "we only called you out because you're not registered"
we were like, "and how did you know we werent registered? by looking at our faces? its not like that girl, or that other girl, or that cloud strife with his big ass buster sword right there are waving around their reg papers or anything."
he was like, "...."
then he was like, "there are like 200,000 people here right now. we cant catch everyone."
then we were like, "so catch her... or her... reach out your hand. youre not doing anything right now... your other staff buddy isnt doing anything right now either, go bust em."
then we were like, "why did you tell us and not anyone else?"
" ... "
then he was like, "if we let one person go then other people will do it and itll be like a... domino effect."
alllllllllllllll we had to do was take our effing shirts off. like... 5 seconds for reals. they can close their eyes, count to 5, open their eyes, and everyone can go about their business again - no stress no mess. but thats not how they do it in japan.
whatever task or process that needs to be done, you gotta involve as many people as possible, push around as much paper as possible, and wear a suit and tie as youre doing it because god forbid you do any business without having your wife shine your black valentino shoes and bleach your-never-before worn white shirt beforehand. but zomg that cant happen and you'll get fired from your salaryman i-hate-my-life company because your sons gonna effing stab your wife to death before she can touch the shoe polish or washing machine.
anyway, comiket rules are whack.
LOL oh yea, so as the first dude was beginning to bully us he was like, "where are your papers? dont you have this cosplay registration packet?" and we were like, "registration?"
right then his head exploded another time and we were like, 0_o! then he talks into is walkie talkie all panic-like saying, "oh shit, oh shit you guys, these guys arent registered, we're in a big mess here omg - O M G!!!"
Tanaka walks us all the hell the way over on the other side of the con where the locker rooms are and explains to the female cosplay staff that i didnt register for cosplay but cosplayed anyway and now i need to use the changing room without being registered and ZOMG will it be possible to do that??? ZOMG ZOMG!!! and even the lady staffers were all biting their nails in nervousness and i was like in jp, "i. have. clothes. all. i. need. to. do. is. take. off. my. shirt." then they were like, "oh well.... hmmmmm. i think we might be able to somehow make an exception...." so they led me to the room, i took off the shirt as i was walking towards the exit where the exit girl asked for my reg booklet and i was like in jp, "i am going to walk out now. i talked to 10 people about this already. im leaving." and went out lol.
most pointless thing ever.
raced all the way back to dealers hall to scout for this one decal of Ranka Lee that we had glancingly seen earlier, met up with the rest of my people again at that location, we each bought a decal, and then at the very next minute, the chime went off, people clapped, and comiket 74 was over.
our non-asian buddy was totally profiled. comiket staffers will let the locals slide on the rules, or in the harshest of cases they will politely ask their fellow jps to do XYZ. we on the other hand get yelled at in the face over the smallest of things. we're the ones getting detained and shit - being made an example of...
im not sure if i was THAT ready for being treated like that... and i know it's all one sided the way im telling it.
i did read the comiket phone book. i read english version, made sure i knew what was up and what to expect and everything. i was aware that there was a cosplay registration + fee BUT because of complications we only had one hour to cosplay anyway.
it was my suggestion to put our cosplay stuff on outside in the open air because it would have (and DID) save us time. we did not need the services of a locker room, though i am aware that the con said we needed to any ... how can i say ... "movement of clothing" inside the locker room. from my american point of view (the right point of view) why do i need to pay for a service i dont need?
it's like if a homeless guy comes up to your car, washes your windows for you without your express permission, and then extends his hand in your face demanding payment. maybe that's not a good comparison to the situation, but that's how i felt about it. the "if you wish to cosplay, you must register at the dressing room" thing is just a way for these guys to score money off of cosplayers.
what if you had a white mage cosplay where all you had to do is put on a cloak? you wear a socially acceptable pretty white summer dress to the con and as youre waiting in line, you take the cloak out of your bag and throw it around your shoulders. did you hurt anybody? did you flash anyone your panties? what's the problem? what's the big deal? everyone within a one mile radius of me right now actually is into what im doing too. we all think it's cool here. you guys are all about closed-community magic circles. i accept that you enjoy child pornography. why cant you accept how i like costuming?
imagine yourself in street clothes. what if it was cold in the morning? you have a pullover on, and as youre waiting in line, it heats up so you take it off. youre breaking the rules!!!!
one can argue that these cases are different because the bottom line is that one person is a cosplayer while the other is not.
comiket reg book states "Please be aware that cosplay and masquerading have yet to be widely accepted in mainstream Japanese society."
where does the word 'cosplay' come from again?
that sentence should be re-written to something like, "Please be aware that the freedom you and i have grown up with does not exist in Japan. Please be aware that even among the most hardcore of Japanese otaku, it's still not ok to show your fandom in front of them. Please be aware that the presence of shame is as prevalent at this convention as it is in the rest of Japanese society."
imagine youre a world class chef who goes to an international cooking convention. then another chef walks up to you and calls you a glutton fatass for coming to a cooking convention. if it was in the states, itd be a great joke! but in japan itd be for reals man...
cant wait to get back to it.
damn proud to be an american.
our country may be harsh, crazy, dangerous, and the ass of every other countries' jokes but, at least we got real freedom here. ive never been much of a patriot or anything, but after living in a country like japan, you realize just how much shit you're allowed to do in america. we think outside the box. go against the grain. question authority. we're ready to take all kinds of heat from anyone cause we're fighters. but we're lovers too! we dont squirm at the sight of PDA.
cause darn it, you cant sit in a classroom and learn about diversity if all the kids around you are japanese (plus one token brazilian lol).
you talk to the jp kids who have lived in foreign countries for several years and they come back to japan and theyre frustrated about all the stuff they're smacked down for doing here. then youre frustrated cause theyre frustrated!
come on jp folks. just. do. it. eff everything else.
/claw eyes out
it's ok to be humannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
lemme get back to the con...
anyway, it was my fault lol. i should have acted more... japanese... and mindlessly followed an established system... but i let the american in me have too much free reign. i'll behave next time. i wont even cosplay - it's too much of a pain in the ass. i dont wanna wait in a pointless line to enter a room i dont need to use and so wasting my time.
I'll enjoy TGS as a simple foreign fan as i did last year =D
i'll quell my cosplay flame by sewing pjs lol.
oh snap! lol. so i was talking to a ranka in the cosplay area and we were just talking about who we were and where we came from and stuff, costume chatter yknow then i mentioned that me and steve were eng teachers and she was like, "oh wow teachers! nice! ...oh wait /whisper is it ok for you to be here getting pictures taken of you?" and she said it all seriously too LOL.
anyway i think im done venting on the subject of my first comiket. i was gonna pick apart more of the "DO NOT"s of the book, but it's alright... i feel better now lol. i feel like i have a better understanding of the society here. and no, it's not as warped in my mind as how it came out written here, lol.
we were after all experimenting with cosplay at a jp con for the first time. it was truly a fine study for us. i have no regrets. i think what i needed was this kind of harsh treatment anyway to kinda beat me into sumbission lol. i myself still have 2 more years here after all haha.