My time in Los Angeles flew by much too quickly, and before I knew it, Day 4 and my flight had already arrived.
Exhibit Hall & Haul
On my last day, I arrived early before the opening of the Exhibit Hall to meet up with papermario, and for the first time, staff had us line up outside. I can only assume this it to control some type of rush for hopefully discounted items. Once I got inside, it was immediately obvious that this was the last day, since I could actually see the ground and walk around with pressing up against someone. There were hardly any cosplayers in the ground floor lobby, either.
With funds running extremely low, I only picked up a few choice items, a couple of which were lucky finds for me. I found an adorable thigh-length sweater that upon purchase came with a free pair of socks of my choice. Then in the artist alley, I picked up a Miku decal for my laptop, as well as only one of two Moyashimon knit plushies. Finally finding a product for one of my favorite shows, which is getting a second season this summer, made me crazy happy! I especially loved that it was the Aspergillus niger, a type of yeast which is the main microbe seen on the anime. He is a black yeast that is used in the brewing of shochu and produces citric acid in shadows (info). I also included some images of items I actually picked up in Little Kyoto: an adorable pair of sandals that are extremely comfy, a few adorable notebooks from a Japanese book store, and a copy of Non-no–a fashion magazine. This magazine is actually a nostalgic find for me since it reminds me of my first Japanese exchange student who used to read them all the time.
To close up my trip and kill time before my pickup to the airport, I walked around Little Tokyo for the second time. After spending a long time in the book store, I had lunch in the Curry House. Their service was incredibly fast and attentive, and my tofu and ground chicken curry, complete with a soft-boiled egg, was delicious and filling.
For my first con, I think I did really well. There were a lot of sources out there for advice on how to survive these kinds of conventions, and my fellow con attendees were so friendly and willing to help a first-timer like me. Some valuable lessons learned:
- Always, always, always have a drink, preferably a water bottle that you can refill at water fountains in the cc.
- Don’t wear skinny jeans or any other uncomfortable type of clothing. I can’t even count the number of times I had to wait in line and wanted to just lounge on the ground; because of my skinny jeans, I couldn’t sit cross legged without showing off some butt crack.
- Don’t forget to eat. I always had one major meal a day, but being as I’m a snacker, not eating breakfast or remembering to munch on my dried fruit would sometimes leave me a little nauseated and lightheaded.
- For you girls (or guys) who wear makeup, it can melt pretty quickly in the hot and humid L.A. weather. Either bring along loose powder, some blotting sheets, or set your makeup at the start with a setting spray.
- Plan your panels and events accordingly; if you want to hit some back to back, you’ll probably want to sit near the back in an aisle seat so you can jet out a little early to make it to the other. I found almost every one of the panels I wanted to attend were placed far apart in the convention center and couldn’t be reached in less than five minutes. YES, the crowd traffic is that bad.
- Be ready for shuttles two hours in advance. Waiting for a shuttle can take as long as a full hour, and the ride maybe 30 minutes depending on the number of people getting off and on at stops and the amount of traffic. When X-games opened, the traffic doubly worsened. If you take a long time to get ready like I do, then set your alarm three hours in advance.
- If you’re interested in photographs, keep your camera on a strap around your neck, or around your wrist. You never know when an awesome cosplay will walk right by you. So many times I saw something I wanted to shoot, but took too long fumbling for my camera before he or she was up and moving away.
- Work on shyness. I usually had much more fun when I was able to talk to the people around me–case in point: transportation to and from the con, and waiting next to people in lines.