Going to Anime Expo and Japan was something I planned to do for a long time now and after many months (you could also say years), this epic trip is about to start. So, I wanted to write a few thoughts about both.
Anime Expo 2011
Anime Expo was a convention I really wanted to go to, even in high school. The problem was that I didn’t have any money. I also didn’t have anyone to go with, though money was the number 1 factor here.
Now as we all know, my first convention was New York Anime Festival 2008. Before that, I didn’t have anyone to go with so I couldn’t get myself to go to a convention. Though I only went for a day, it was a great first convention for me, since I met someone new and I was able to go with friends. I went to two more conventions with those friends (Mokucon 2008, AnimeNEXT 2009). I started going alone in 2009 (NYAF 2009) since those friends were busy and they started loosing interest. I also started cosplaying that same time. It was still great, but I know it would have been even better if I were able to go with friends. This trend continued until recently (AnimeNEXT 2011), so being the shy, timid person I am, I was determined to make new otaku friends since a majority of my friends are not otaku (or don’t even watch anime). How would I start doing that? Well, I started by joining the Anime Expo Forum. (Actually, my original reason for joining was to try to suggest that AX have a speed dating event, which is not happening). Unlike the other forums I’m in, I’m more active in this forum. Next thing I did was get a hotel room with people I don’t know, which I’m going to be doing. Then, I started planning a meet and greet of people that are going alone to AX, which is looking good so far. They say that you need to take action if you want something to happen, so I’m doing things that I would have never done before.
So, what are my goals in Anime Expo. Well, my main goal is to have fun. I’ll be at Mikunopolis, the AX Masquerade, etc. I also hope to make new friends. (I also do hope I can get an otaku girlfriend that likes to cosplay (and will cosplay Chrome Dokuro), but we all know that’s probably not going to happen). I’ll be posting stuff on Twitter throughout AX, but as for the blog, that’ll have to wait until after AX, since I’m expecting to be busy the whole time.
The second portion of my trip (actually, more like my third or fourth part) is going to Japan. Since I was able to make a little bit of money, I decided to go to Japan. This is something I planned since last year. Originally, I was planning to go on a tour, but then that devastating earthquake and tsunami happened. That tour was cancelled and my trip was in jeopardy. But, against the advice of some people, I’m still going. Before I talk more about my trip, let me say a few words about what is going on right now.
It is my assumption that a majority of people outside Japan think that Japan is just a small island maybe 50 miles diameter with everyone living in Tokyo. However, just the island of Honshu (biggest island in Japan) is 750 miles from north tip to south tip. The devastation is mostly confined to the coast of Tohoku (north of Tokyo). Most of Japan is still open for business, despite what the foreign news might show. They’re even trying to get people to visit Japan, which they wouldn’t be doing if they couldn’t. About the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster, I don’t deny that this is something to overlook. This is a serious problem and of course you should not go near that area. But the problem is that many people think that all of Japan is radiated. Not true. The amount of radiation in Tokyo (or even Sendai, which is even closer) is at par and sometimes lower than in New York City. Another thing: Tokyo is over 125 miles away from Fukushima Dai-ichi. Kiev (capital of Ukraine) is only 60 miles away from Chernobyl. The US State Department advises people to avoid the area 50-miles from the plant. So to summarize, a majority of Japan is safe to go to and you should go to help out the economy. Hey, even Lady Gaga is there right now.
Now about my trip, I will be arriving on Tanabata and I will be staying in Tokyo, except when I tour the Kansai region and when I go to Tohoku. What will I do? I’ll go to Akihabara and other otaku areas (including going to the AnoHana secret base and trying special foods made for the FMA movie). I’ll be vising some of the shrines. I’ll be watching the FMA movie, baseball games, etc. I’ll be doing everything, including helping out the Japanese economy. In fact, I’m going to be volunteering in Tohoku before I go back, helping out in the devastated areas.
I’ll be posting daily updates when I’m there (hopefully) and I’ll show that you can go to Japan without any worries.
I’m excited for this trip and I’m glad that I’ll actually be helping out for part of the trip.