Sakura-Con 2010

It’s now 2012. I didn’t write a con report for 2010. Yes, I do have some good memories of the con. But also I have a few things to this day that make me uncomfortable to think of, which is probably why I haven’t written them down until now.

Here I what I could put together based on what I remember.

I was assigned this year to two guests from Japan, Satoshi Nishimura and Takahiro Yoshimatsu, who were bringing with them Trigun: Badlands Rumble. It was an exclusive showing of the movie before it would appear even in Japanese theaters. Some other people were along, notably a very excitable female representative from Flying Dog (who was supervising the screening) and Masaki Koshida who accompanied them on the con’s behalf.

Given the screening had no subtitles, and no translation whatsoever, the screenings did turn out fairly successful. But there was a lot of concern (entirely necessary?) that someone might video tape the screening and release to the Internet. So there had to be a lot of staff checking rooms and threats of stopping the screening if anybody was caught recording. And we had to keep the room lights on during the screening.

There were also concerns about the sizes of the screening rooms. We had to make some last minute room changes since Flying Dog felt the room sizes were too large to completely supervise. Programming wasn’t happy about this.

But we do what we can to please.

Unfortunately, what has to happen when you have two go-betweeners (Masaki and Flying Dog) there is a lot of unnecessary conflict. Flying Dog is representing their business interest, which is to prevent piracy, but not necessarily the interest of the guests who are here to see the convention, meet attendees, enjoy Seattle, etc. And I’m not sure what business Masaki had. I do recall having to get up early and post movie posters everywhere in the convention. Masaki was making a big fuss about not getting the amount of signage he wanted. We did put signs up in the registration and preregistration areas but he wanted them up in areas the Washington State Convention Center just wouldn’t allow.

Additionally, Masaki had different ideas on where to take the guests. He’s been living in Japan for many years and hasn’t been much in Seattle since closing his store Majindo about 10 years ago. So it’s puzzling to me that he thinks he knows better. Hitomi and he got into an argument about which mall to take the guests to, for instance.

Again, the conflict is Sakura-con is providing the hosting, the host (me), yet there’s somebody else who is trying to do the hosting role. I’m a volunteer and don’t get paid, so really I’m in it for the satisfaction which comes from our guests’ enjoyment and for them to meet their promotion or entertainment goals. Then there’s the problem of who pays for what, including the rooms at the hotel and food. Despite these sorts of people knowing the arrangements, they are difficult to enforce.

I did get to take Nishimura out for a nice lunch, just the two of us, and make conversation at Maximillian, a French restaurant in the market.  And I did talk a little bit with Yoshimatsu who was a bit quiet, but ironically Yoshimatsu really loved American Pro Wrestling.

There were a couple of highlights not including my guests.

Mayumi Tanaka (famous voice actor) invited a number of us to her room for drinking. There’s something great about being in the presence of a very small, mature Japanese women with commanding charisma and powerful voice. But not only that, she had brought her son, a juggler, who was performing a juggling act at Sakura-con. We got to see some of the show. Most of the staff (including me) were off in the corner, near the window talking about the usual convention stuff while Mayumi and her friends sitting on the carpet served whiskey on ice.

I offered to the group Theo’s coconut curry chocolate, which brought enthusiastic reactions. Japanese, despite not being very Indian, love the taste of curry. (Most of the Trigun staff got quite a few bars themselves.)

Hitomi’s guest was very cool, Noizi Ito. Monday after my guests flew out of Seattle, I met back up with my wife. Hitomi and I spent some time at the fancy Neiman Marcus mall in Bellevue looking at hand bags. I always get a little bit titillated when a good looking women draws really good looking girls, and a little excited knowing she’s done some adult games. I’m always jealous when Hitomi gets a great female guest but I have to accept that male staff with female guests aren’t really a good match.

But I just am not good with fashionable people who are into shopping. I’d like a guest who was into bicycling, mountain climbing, or kayaking since Seattle is really just perfect for that. Or even fishing or digging for clams. (It did turn out Yoshitoshi ABe is really into bicycling, or at least bicycles and it was unfortunate I didn’t have a chance to ride with him during the convention. I hope he can return someday.)

The Monday night dinner was great, which made up for all the unpleasantness of the weekend. Although there’s group dinners all weekend long, this is really the best dinner since the convention is really over, it tends to be fairly intimate and quieter. More of a dinner than Sunday’s party.

And I believe this was also the first year bicycling to the convention. The weather was quite spring-like and I biked over to the convention center, whereas Hitomi took the bus in. I first parked at the convention center, then had the (surprised?) valet at the Fairmont take my bicycle into storage.

On returning home after the nice Monday night dinner, the valet brought my bicycle out. Maybe should have tipped him?

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About eliasross

Blogging before the word "blog" was invented.
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