Last Year’s Sakura-con Guests

Sakura-con usually has Nagahama Hiroshi or Daiichi Akitaro, and some people from AIC. I've had the privilege (working with my wife Hitomi) of hanging out with these guys, as well as last year with the famous director Ishiguro Noboru. (There's an interesting relationship between all these people, I won't go into.)

Here are some memories from last year.

Mr. Nagahama's fairly into the American Comic Book scene. For example, over Anime Expo, he went to see Superman 3D (IMAX).  We also took him out around Seattle for about half a day to look at the various comic book stores.  (It's actually strange I only seem to go into comic book stores during anime conventions.)  During the convention, he sketches pictures of Iceman, Wolverine, Captain America, Batman, etc. for people waiting in line for his signature.  Which is fine, but I don't know if many kids know who these superheroes are.

Mr. Ishiguro, who's been a perennial guest at Anime Expo, showed up at Sakura-con last year to promote Mushishi. Artland has gotten back into producing original works, and luckily their first in some time has been a great success. Hitomi had the privilege to take him out to the Sci-Fi Museum and Experience Music Project. We had an interesting time trying to find and/or translate the names of old American movies into Japanese, since they are often different.

At the guest dinner, there were many younger anime fans. (These days most everyone is now younger than me.) Sadly, not that many fans there had seen Star Blazers, Macross, or Megazone 23. To me, that's like being a Japanese movie buff and not seeing Seven Samurai or Life of Oharu. And many of them weren't that interested to sit there, compared to many of the American voice actors, for example. Fortunately, he's a great storyteller, and unlike many guests who just want to ask and answer questions, makes for interesting listening. He gave his story about how he really wanted to create serious Sci-Fi anime, and all the trouble with releasing the Space Battleship Yamato movie in Japan.

One of the funny events was him asking everyone at the table what their favorite anime was. I'm not sure too many fans brought up any anime that was more than 20 years old. I think Evangelion was often mentioned, Cowboy Bebop, etc. I was put on the spot too, and I said I was an Urusei Yatsura fan, which — despite it being a comedy — was just as significant as Yamato in many ways. (I don't remember what Hitomi said. She was a big fan of Samurai Troopers back in the day.)

The guest dinner, industry dinner, and post closing dinner are the standard dinner events. But the hotel restaurant is a little too boring and the big group dinners usually don't have much variety. And so, for the other meals, the Japanese guests are really interested in trying other sorts of food out, and we spend quite a bit of time eating with them and driving them around.

One evening we went to Anthony's Pier 66, which is a fancy place, with a good view over the water. We put the guests on one side of the table, and us relation staff sat on the opposite, so that all the guests had a view out over the water. The meal consisted of lots of raw oysters, local seafood, etc. To end the meal, we had dessert. Mr. Ishiguro was trying to order vanilla ice cream: Of course this isn't something that's listed on the menu. Mr. Ishiguro was very insistent it come plain, without any sort of toppings or additions that were offered.

Traditionally on convention's Friday, we take the guests out for one night at Hooter's. Big breasted, tanned American women in orange short-shorts are a prime attraction. Needless to say, Japanese in general, and Japanese animators are not prudes. One interesting demonstration a few year's back was a girl who poured the beer into glasses stuffed in her cleavage. Probably a dozen pictures were taken of that. Despite all the beer, the guests are nice enough not to get drunk or too rowdy.

We took the Gun x Sword group to a French restaurant they all ordered French Toast.

Other than food and museums, it's shopping. We've gone to Costco many times, though since Japan now has one (and an Ikea) it's not too special. The Pike Place Market is our usual Thursday hang-out, where many of them get original goods at the #1 Starbucks.

And if it wasn't just taking the guests out to some place for amusement, they always were amusing themselves. Many are maniacs and seem to not require much sleep. They always have something to talk about, some story or observation, or keen interest. And although we liaisons take great joy in helping out, the guests really can wear us out. This is typically why we keep quite a large number of staff on hand.

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About eliasross

Blogging before the word "blog" was invented.
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