My con buddies and I get to the convention center before 10am. There are people wandering around already but only a few dozen. At least a third of them are in costume.
The first event of the day is the opening ceremonies. They’ve upgraded since last year and included multiple large TV screens so even those in the back of the room can see what’s happening on stage. I’m sitting toward the middle.
Taiko drumming, Kabuki players, greetings from special guests freshly arrived from Japan, and a rousing bit of karaoke with full audience participation kicks-off this year’s Sakuracon – the largest anime convention in the Pacific Northwest.
I get a little teary-eyed when the Consulate General of Japan comes on stage in traditional dress. Don’t ask me why. Happens every year.
After opening ceremonies I go walkabout. I can’t help but notice how different the space looks for this convention than it did for Emerald City Comicon a few weeks ago. There are less people shoving through the hallways and squashing themselves on to escalators. The rooms have been downsized to accommodate more and smaller panels. And the exhibition hall has been condensed into one big space instead of multiple giant spaces.
I spend some time in the vendor area, looking at rare animation cells (no one has $600 on them to loan me to take one home), original artwork, costumes and costume accessories (so many wigs!), board games and expansion packs, and action figures, models, and Japanese snacks. I buy very little. I still have two days after this one to blow all my money after all.
I attend two panels, neither with celebrities. Sakuracon has way more “fan panels” created by and for fans than celebrity sessions. A group of cosplayers led by Zapp Brannigan (Futurama) and including Home Simpson, Johnny Bravo, and Jamie Lannister (Game of Thrones) does their version of ‘Loveline.’ It is sometimes funny, sometimes awkward, and sometimes really bizarre.
Later some ladies read aloud the absolute worse fanfiction they can find. I’ve attended this panel the last four years in a row and never left before laughing until I cried. My only complaint is that it happens so late at night (12:30am this time around) because it is a ‘mature’ rated panel. As I get older staying up so late isn’t as easy as it used to be.
I’m not terribly surprised that as soon as the fanfic panels ends I’m back at the hotel and crawling into bed.
*In addendum – Tasty Eats from Seattle:
Pike Brewing Company – I think I have a problem, and it’s my addiction to the pulled pork sandwich at this brewery (so yummy!)
Ohana Tiki Bar – we ended up here because the place we were actually headed was closed, but it was not a waste of our time at all; had a giant mai tai (complete with festive umbrella!) and a sushi roll I can’t recall the name of but it was full of fish and crab and lightly fried and very tasty, also their gyoza were superb and the decor was delightfully over the top
Benihana – it was one of my friend’s birthdays so we dressed up a bit and headed to the Seattle Benihana location; it was loud and busy but fun and my Teriyaki chicken was tasty