Well, Otakon 2005 is over and only the afterglow remains as life settles back into its normal pattern. Or at least as normal as it gets for me! First off I’m happy that the money I invested in auto repairs paid off as I had nary a hiccup on the way out or back, despite low tire pressure on the outbound trip. The only real travel problem I had consisted of some wheel vibration at speeds over 80MPH (129KPH), so I need to get the wheels balanced before the next major trip. Once arriving in the Baltimore area, the next challenge was really just the traffic due to construction. I got lost on the way to the hotel, but it was no big deal and over the course of the convention I learned my way around quickly.
Right from the start, I did a lot of things that I would not normally do. I’m not the most social person in the world, but that did not keep me from meeting up with a bunch of cool people from the MegaTokyo forums that I frequent. This is the first time I’ve ever gone out to meet people who I only know of via the internet. And I don’t normally get up in front of a bunch of strangers to sing songs in a language of which I only have the barest understanding, but I did! In fact I sang a total of 4 of my favorite songs during the convention, Shell, Shizukana Yoruni, All the Way, and Take It Shake It. None of these songs are particularly well suited to my voice, but I’m told that doesn’t matter in karaoke!
One of my favorite things to do is take photos of the cosplayers. I got a lot of them at Otakon and I had a really good time talking to the cosplayers as well. Click here to see all of the pictures I took for Otakon. The one below is one of my favorites, but not just because she’s an attractive woman. She told me that this was her first convention and that she’d come alone. Wow! Nice costume for her first con and coming alone says a lot too. In particular, the fact that she’s a young black woman makes me believe that the Japanese Pop invasion has had a more profound influence than one might suspect on the surface. In all of my years of attending SF, Star Trek, and now Anime conventions, generally I was one of few African Americans on the scene. Well it looks like those days are over. There were a lot of young black people at Otakon and few of these people had the classic geeky/nerdy look to them. So while I would not say that anime and manga have gone mainstream, I would say that it has reached a broader part of the popular consciousness than sci-fi ever did.