It’s 6:30 AM on Jan. 1 2007
Happy New Year
Yesterday, we were basically awake at 4AM, and puttered around for a while, ran out to the AM-PM for breakfast, relaxed and repacked so we had everyhing we need ready to go.
Rica arrived at about 8AM as promised, so the three of us lugged our stuff to the already jam-packed Rinkai line, which dumped us all off near Big Sight. As the train completely emptied in a roiling sea of otaku, Rica panicked. LOL I told her that, at *every single* event I do, I have that moment too, when I look around me and think, “Why am I doing this?”
And, as far as I’m concerned, we were now with the slightly more functional half of otakudom.
As we walked (and walked an walked and walked) with the rushing circle folks, we talked about the differences between comic events in Japan and American cons. Rica said that she liked the idea that at cons (for convenience American events will from here on out be referred to as “cons” while Japanese events will be “events”, ‘kay?) people come all dressed up. She gestured around and said that this was boring. I looked around and nodded, because parkas are *in* this year and greay and black are the dominant colors. But it is winter, after all.
When we arrived at the West Halls, we saw, in succession, a girl with the most FABULOUS black back-laced boots, which she had laced with a hot pink wide ribbon. It looked great. Followed by Yumi, from Marimite, and a boy dressed as the White Rabbit in a really, really cute costume. :)
Lots and lots and lots of maids. Too bad I find it so uninspiring. Many of the maid costumes were ruined with inappropriate footwear. Blue and white striped maid costumes with white ruffles look bad with knee-high brown pleather boots. FYI, girl in the bathroom that took more than 15 minutes to button her ruffle right.
Most of the cosplayers would have been identifiable to any American congoer. There were people who thought, despite all evidence to the contrary, that they were really put together. LOL And many costumes I did not recognize. The wife informs me that the most over cosplayed character was Jigoku Shoujo. I did manage to see a couple Hayate x Blade folks, including one happy Shizuku. I’m not sure why, but the thing this year seemed to be to wear gigantic shoes, so characters like Yumi and Shizuku had a tendency to be strangely tall. :-)
We set up pretty quickly, Rica was rewriting signage and prices, so as Comiket opened, she and I were folding and taping paper. When I arrived, there were gifts from Tadeno Eriko-san to Rica and myself, then she stopped by and we chatted. Also Horai-san, one of the folks who had staffed Yuricon 2005, came by with bags and bags of doujinshi. So we were really crunched for space behind the table. But many thanks to him. :-)
Shortly after Comiket opened, Rica and the wife shooed me away to go shop…which I didn’t want to since I was kind of waiting for someone to come to the table and, in the end, I did miss him, which was sad, but I took myself off to the other side, the East Halls. Compared to the hordes in the East Hall, where were were on the West side was a bastion of civilization.
I wanted to stop at Fujieda Miyabi’s table, and it turned out that so did about 350 other people. I found the end of the line, asked myself if I really wanted to do this and decided that I did. So I took the plunge. It was probably stupid, because we were lined up outside and I didn’t have a coat, but we were right in the morning sun and I felt comfortable enough. The line moved slowly, but fairly steadily, and for an hour, I inched my way forward. Here’s how you know you’re a geek: as I got to the final stretch, I was actually getting kind of excited. lol
Got myself and Bruce some stuff, because he had shopped for me the last two days and headed back quickly where, yes, I had missed the person I wanted to talk to. They said they’d come back, but oh well. More importantly, when I came back the only person there was the wife, and she was doing a brilliant job of selling with no Japanese at all. LOL She wins, hands down, as the best salesperson of the day. When Rica and wifey were at the table, we actually had a line at one point. Which chuffed me no end. We met a lovely translator who knows Drama Queen, and she and Rica talked about how to apply for Comiket. (This year we were the only foreign company at all at Comiket, which made us notable.)
So, behaviors. There’s the person who walks up, looks confused, stares for a while, then nods, as if they “get” it. Then walks away.
There’s the person who stares, rubs their chins, looks at a book, then walks away.
There’s the person who picks up a book clearly marked in their native tongue that it is NOT in their native tongue, pages through the books, looks at another, then remarks, “I can’t read this, it’s in…” Then we point out that, yes, they are, and here are books in their native tongue, at which they bolt, terrified that they were spoken to.
There’s the person who comes up, looks at the books and, when we speak, bolts like they were slapped. LOL
So, yeah, some of the same behaviors as at cons.
What you don’t get is teenyboppers running through the halls, smacking each other with fake weapons, or screaming and no one would *ever* consider running up to the table, screeching, “Eww, yuri!” or somesuch and run away. As the whole row was yuri, that would be plain weird.
So, Erica, how did it feel to be NOT the only yuri publisher in the place? No different, really because we were *still* aliens, being the only foreign circle. So, we still got a weird crowd – even for Comiket.
The circle to our right, when I went to pick up a Shinobuden doujinshi from them, turned out to be a lovely gentleman who reads Okazu, and had very good English. He was very kind and gracious and I will review his book when I get home – the art is simply adorable. I thank you, sir.
To our left was a young woman who was very quiet, but I did buy some of her books, as they are quite lovely. I also took and opportunity to introduce myself to Sakuraike and UKOZ, both of which circles, ALC Publishing has licensed work from for Yuri Monogatari 5, so please look forward to that!
I did manage to buy pretty much every circle I wanted to buy from – including a fair number of fanfic or shousetsu. I also managed, without even realizing it, to pick up a Mori Natsuko fanbook, which I bought entirely for the cover and I cannot wait to try to read. LOL
In the end, we had a terrifc day, and it made a spectacular end to Yuricon’s presence at Comiket. I’m truly glad I had a chance to be there.
Oh, and tere is no doubt in my mind that working an American con is significantly more exhausting than Comiket. Otakon is, for instance, about 20 hours of selling time, Comiket is 6. So, yeah. And the fans…as I say, so much more well-behaved
(I have GOT to interject here. The wife is looking at the Comiket catalog as I type. She says, “Oh, the Marimite section.” then she pauses. “They look so good as ants.” I wouldn’t even LOOK. And she says that, so far as she’s gotten in the catalog, about halway, Marimite is the largest section of circles. Oh, wait, Naruto beats Marimite. But there’s still a chance that One Piece will beat it Go One Piece!)
To celebrate our success, Rica took myself, wifey and Bruce to a yakitori restaurant where the food went from excellent to omg, this is orgasmic. (We really wanted okonomiyaki, but they were ALL closing early for the New Year. I mean, like all of them. But the food at Momotarou in Ebisu gets my hearty recommendation.)
Wifey wanted to go out, but I was starting to crash, so she and Bruce went out to a temple, and I went back to the room to sort through what I want to take back in the luggage and and what can get shipped.
By the time I was nearly unconcious, wifey was back and we crashed.
Now it’s the dawn (literally) of a new year and we’re off to find the seven gods of fortune and thank them for yesterday.
See you when I get back!