Serial Experiments Lain was one of the first anime series Aaron got me to watch, over ten years ago now. If you’re into anime or sci-fi, especially thought-provoking (or even mind-fucking) plots and universes, you owe it to yourself to watch it through. It’s only 13 episodes, so it’s not a huge time investment, but the experience is worth it.
Alex Heberling sketched my face on an index card for $1 at Animarathon last weekend! I will soon have a new avatar on teh internets…
We came to a realization when we walked into the building full of becostumed teens and young adults: we are no longer part of the anime con demographic. We’ve seen and heard most of the panels, some of them multiple times. Any anime we want to check out are easily available online (generally speaking), so we don’t hit the video rooms. We’ve cosplayed a couple of times, and it was fun, but we don’t get the joy out of it that we once did. We definitely don’t get any joy out of listening to fangirls squee or otaku guys try to sound intelligent. We’re tired of rude otaku of all persuasions being pushy and inconsiderate in dealers’ rooms.
It’s not fun anymore.
Granted, it was awesome to see Alex (who created the awesome mascot for the late WARP Anime Podcast) and Traeonna (local cosplayer extraordinaire). It was also awesome to get a new Beer-chan shirt from Wizzywig.
Plus, it was free. You can’t beat free.
Will we go to the upcoming Garasunoshi-con (translation: Glass City Con) at Owens Community College? Probably, as it’s also a free con. But I don’t see us traveling to Columbus for our once-favorite cons anymore.
Aaron does point out, though, that we weren’t too old for the Providence Anime Conference, as it was 21 and up. The youthful insanity was at a minimum, and the panels were interesting and relevant. Hopefully, that one will stay around for a while, and maybe start a trend…
Since I don’t have a great track record of finishing giant long entries about my travels in general, I’m planning to write several shorter entries about PAC instead of doing one giant con report. (If you’d like one long con report, feel free to listen to Aaron and me on his podcast, “live” from our hotel room.)
The Artists Alley is a staple at anime conventions. For those readers who haven’t had the privilege of attending a con, the Artists Alley generally consists of talented (and not-so-talented) anime fans, selling either fan art or original art, in almost any media you can imagine. In the past, Aaron and I have bought prints, figurines, hats, boxes, t-shirts, and probably other things, too. Usually, though, we skip past much of the original art and the fan-art bookmarks and buttons.
We were pleasantly surprised to find several artists at PAC with unique and skilled reinterpretations of some of our favorite characters, as well as some really compelling original works. Shelli Paroline was the artist behind the official conference graphics (as far as I know), and was selling and displaying some great ink drawings of Totoro, Star Wars, One Piece, and original creations. I really wanted to buy a print of her interpretation of Luke and R2-D2, but she didn’t have any more on hand to sell. Neither did she have any more copies of her great Ewok print. So, I satisfied myself with the Totoro print.
I also highly enjoyed Stephanie Yue‘s prints; most of the ones that caught my eye were super-cute original drawings of martial arts as done by mice. I bought an 11×17 poster of 24 Posture Mouse Tai Chi Chuan — I haven’t done the 24-form in years, but watching the mousie do it reminded me of how it goes. There was also a great print of two mousies sparring, and one doing a hip-throw on the other. (Poor mousie — I’ve been on the receiving end of a hip-throw myself, and it’s a little scary, IMO.)
Sharing a table with Stephanie was Zack Giallongo, from whom Aaron bought a Megaman poster. It has a great cel-painted look about it, and has an intricate background full of Megaman villains, bosses, and bad guys.
Also in the Artist Alley was Alison Wilgus. Alison is a friend of the Ninja Consultants, and we met her through them at Otakon two years ago. Unfortunately, she didn’t have anything we were interested in buying at the time, but we did enjoy shooting the shit about the con and the panels we attended. Interestingly enough, we seemed to have attended completely opposite panels, but enjoyed the panels we attended equally.
All in all, the Artists Alley at the Providence Anime Conference was small but awesome, from my point of view. I don’t usually buy anything from Artists Alley (excepting the massive Artists Alley at Otakon), so buying two prints (and wishing I could have bought more) is a pretty big deal.
Still to cover: panels, accommodations, and the overall “feel” of the con. Stay tuned…
Seen in the dealer room at the Providence Anime Conference, 5 October 2008.
More photos (and con report) to come…
I’m sitting in the recliner, typing on our new-to-us laptop with a brand-new stick of RAM installed.
(Note to self: need to trim fingernails before doing any hardcore typing on this here laptop.)
Aaron and I are preparing for our trip to Rhode Island this weekend for the Providence Anime Conference — he’s ironing and spot-cleaning his cosplay, while I’m trying not to fall asleep before I get all my stuff packed and ready to go. The laptop will be accompanying us, despite the fact that our hotel only has wired internet, and we only have wifi on the laptop. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that the Convention Center will have wifi. If nothing else, we’ll be able to mess around and pre-write blog entries about the con.
New toys are fun.
Since I’ve had a little extra money to throw around, I’ve been treating myself here and there to things I’ve been wanting, but haven’t really been able to justify. This time, it was a macro lens for my Nikon D50.
I’d noticed recently that the lens I usually use didn’t work so well with close-up photography. This is unfortunate, as I really enjoy finding small and/or unusual things and photographing them as best I can. Granted, I do think my “old” lens is in need of cleaning (OK, I know it is), which would explain the weird glow in the comparison photos I took tonight:
I can get in so much closer now, and the images seem to be crisper and have more contrast. I can also narrow the depth of field waaaaay down, throwing everything but my subject out of focus. (Which, for those of you who have seen a decent amount of my photography, is my usual MO.)
So, now I can give you the marimokkori photo I really wanted you to see:
Note the pronounced, um, mokkori. Yeah. That’s what I’m talking about.
So, I was reading the novelization of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home — you know, the funny Star Trek movie with the whales — when I came upon a scene that was removed from the final draft of the screenplay, but was left in the novelization. I remembered reading this before, but it made a little more sense this time.
In late-20th-century San Francisco, Mr. Sulu is approached by a young Japanese boy, who asks if Sulu is his uncle. Actually, he says, “Ah! Hikaru oji san desu ka?” (Which, truth be told, don’t you just use oji for your own family, but ojisan for someone else’s? Not sure about the proper politeness factor on this one.) Then the boy asks casually what his uncle is doing here. I recognized the words tokoro, nani o, and desu ka, and the rest of the sentence made sense with the author’s prose around the Japanese.
At this point, Sulu replies with some vocab that I don’t know, but I can at least recognize the sentence structure. From the English context clues the author provides, he is responding (in antiquated Japanese that he learned from classes on literature) that the boy has mistaken him for someone else. The boy exclaims, “Honto desu ne,” which I think means something like, “Really!”
The boy starts to get all creeped out and back off, but Sulu asks the boy to wait with some other words I don’t know. Then he asks the boy’s name, which I totally understood, and the boy responds that he’s Akira Sulu. According to the author’s English paraphrase, Sulu of the Enterprise then tells Akira Sulu that he will live a long and happy life, to which the boy responds, “Ogisama arigato gozaimasu,” before scurrying off.
I know my Japanese skills are still severely limited at best, but it done my heart good to recognize some Japanese spoken by Hikaru Sulu’s great-great-great grandfather. ^_^
It’s not that my brain is full. I’m still doing OK with picking up the grammar and vocabulary in the Pimsleur lessons, and the JPod101 Survival Phrases. Thing is, I’m not sure if they’ll be helpful, and if I’d be better served to spend all my Nihongo brainpower on the katakana studies that Erin suggested. Although that would be harder to study during my lunchtime walk.
Between what I learned from Josh in Japan (mainly just left/right and numbers) and my two other audio sources of Nihongo goodness, I can introduce myself, ask directions, ask if you understand English, be humble about my own knowledge of Japanese, ask you to repeat yourself slowly, be generally polite, make sure I get on and off the train at the right place, ask if you’d like something to eat or drink, ask how to say something in English, ask what something says in Japanese, and a few other parlor tricks. Most of the really useful stuff has come from the JPod101 Survival Phrases, though.
I’ve read that the Pimsleur lessons don’t give an accurate representation of native language speed or rhythm — which is daunting, but expected. I think I can get a better idea of the flow with a half-hour Pimsleur lesson than a 15-minute JPod101 lesson, though. I guess I’m just wondering if I should even keep bothering. I know I’m going to sound pretty idiotic saying stuff like… oh, I don’t know… OK, for example, I don’t think I’ll ever have occasion to say, “Ee, eigo ga yoku wakarimasu. Watashi wa amerikajin desu.” (“Yes, I understand English well. I am an American.” Well, hello, Captain Obvious! Was my god-awful accent the first giveaway?) I also don’t think I’ll ever have occasion to actually ask someone if they’d like to eat or drink something, and especially not at either my place or their place. (“Watashi no tokoro de?”)
I’ve read online that there’s an upcoming lesson that teaches how to count yen. I need some help with remembering numbers without counting on my fingers, so I’ll stick with it at least until that one. Listening and repeating also helps my recall of the previous lessons. I don’t think I’ll
get need to use very much Japanese in Tokyo, but I’d like to at least sound like I’m trying my best when and if I do use it.
(The people at my work think I sound Japanese. I don’t think they’ve ever even watched anime.)
I just submitted a reservation for a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) in Asakusa, Tokyo. Turns out there’s a festival going on while we’ll be in Japan! How cool. However, it makes our goal of staying in a ryokan a little more challenging, as the good ones in Tokyo all appear to be in Asakusa, and they’re probably all booked because of the HUGE festival.
Anyway, I just got the greatest confirmation message ever:
Thank you for an application.
I do the telephone of affirmation by return.
In addition, since there is also a case of a transmitting trouble, 2 and when you will carry out for three days and there is no reply, please ask by E-mail, telephone, etc.
I’d imagine the Japanese are probably too polite to nickname the hack-job that we gaijin do to THEIR language.