My eye is marginally better and I wanted to get this down before it all started to mush into my collective con consciousness. (For a Dutch perspective, please look here: http://forum.ngamer.nl/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10269)
Yaoi and Yuri Con (YaYCon) was held on April 1, 2012 in Enschede, The Netherlands at a music venue called Atak.
In addition to being a Yaoi and Yuri-focused event, YaYCon explicit bills itself as a LGBTQ-friendly space. With this, and with the Dutch reputation for tolerance and acceptance, we found that the people and the event at YayCon were welcoming and friendly. Not a single “Eww, Yuri” was heard. ^_^ American BL fans, you could learn from this.
Because Amsterdam is well known for art and architecture, rather than anime and manga, we spent several days simply walking around and enjoying the sites, the canals and the buildings, rather than rushing hither and yon filling our pockets with goods. I am sorry we didn’t get a photo of the 5 euro bag of mini “Delft” shaped like wooden shoes. That was the funniest and smartest bag o’souvenirs I’ve ever seen. ^_^ Imagine this in a plastic bag with a 5€ sticker on it:
We did take this picture, because we knew the Rijksmuseum was undergoing construction and the wife was dead set against going in if Rembrandt’s The Night Watch wasn’t on exhibit.
Amsterdam is a wonderful town for walking around randomly, since the architecture did not take a beating in WWII, we were able to spot houses as old as the 16th century that still were in use.
We stayed at a Hotel called Chic and Basic. Thankfully it wasn’t Chic, instead it was quirky and charming. The giveaway was when you walk up and on the window it says in large letters “Yes, you are standing in front of the window of the hotel.” Next to that on the door it says, “Yes, this is the door to the hotel.” I loved it right at that moment. The rooms had very thankfully not been updated to the Chic and Basic decor, so they were rather strange, instead. Our room had a clown, a smurf and holiday flags as trompe l’oeil on the walls, with a ribbon painted hanging down from the wall onto the headboard of the bed. Bruce had a “painting” of a naked man over his bed. I feel sad that these will be painted over for white with white trim one day and white non-furniture. Poor weird little rooms.. Other items that had comments – the room key expressed a wish to be a movie star’s credit card, rather than a hotel room key and the soap in the hotel was confident that it was the cutest soap that we’d ever steal. (It wasn’t, but I didn’t want to tell it that….)
After several days of Amsterdam and at least one breathtaking meal, we headed out to Enschede, for YaYCon.
We had some difficulty finding our hotel, but when we found it, it was nice, if full of steep stairs. We took a walk around central Enschede, found Atak, the venue and settled in for the night.
The next AM, we headed right for Atak, and were met by Liedi, who acted as our guide for the first part, until I was set up for my lecture. Both Marissa and Nicolle were lovely and I once again thank them very much for inviting me to visit their event!
It was relatively early, and I expected more BL than Yuri fans, but when I got started, the room filled up. It was gratifying and some of the questions – including the one from the tech crew – were great.
Wifey, Bruce and I wandered around the event, and went out for a lunch of epic proportions with Lililicious leader Wendy. (Epic as in, it was the worst meal we’ve had in years. ^_^) Poor Wendy. We laughed through the meal, then went back to look around the Artist Alley.
We finished the day off with Wendy and I running a very informal Yuri Panel, where we focused on Yuri that currently is or is soon to be available in multiple languages (from this post) and, as I have begun to elsewhere, I rewarded good questions with prizes. ^_^ Fans got books, we got good questions, and we all had a lot of fun. I was presented with a piece of original art by the artist, as a gift from the con organizers. It was a lovely gesture.
Once more, my sincere thanks to Nicolle for the invitation, Marissa for her help with accommodation, Liedi for her enthusiasm, all the attendees at YayCon for being fun and cute (and so young!) and especially Wendy for her help and for hanging out with us. As always, my undying thanks to Bruce for his train-schedule skills and companionship and to my wife, for traveling with me to wherever, for whatever.
I hope those of you in Europe will try to get to YayCon in the future – it was small, pleasant and really full of wonderful fans. I hope to get to another European con in the future, so if your local con is interested in having me as a guest, have them contact me! ^_^