Date: 12/29/11

Location: Odaiba

Julia and I checked out of the hostel in the morning so we could make our way to Nicola’s house where we were going to be staying for the next few days. [Thank you thank you thank you so much Julia and Nicola.] Julia and I had gotten a little bit lost at Meguro station and were debating whether we should ask the police at the stand for directions. We didn’t even know what to say. Until we realized we could just ask for the Colombian embassy, lawl. I amused myself by picturing  us frantically asking for directions to the Colombian embassy for no apparent reason until I remembered the way.

The day’s itinerary was entirely on the man-made island, 大台場 or Odaiba. The main course was コミケット81, aka Comiket 81 [YEAH BITCHESSSSSSSSSS] which is the largest single gathering of self-produced manga sellers in the world [Thanks, wikipedia!]. It also is a great place to see some cosplay at its finest. I’ve only been to one convention like this in Japan, so jumping from Osaka’s Comic City to Tokyo’s Comic Market is like learning how to swim for 15 minutes in a blow-up kiddy-pool before being dropped in the open ocean, lol. 

The convention was held at Tokyo Big Sight, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a larger-than-life convention center smack in the middle of a futuristic office park topped by a big space-invaders looking monument.

The train got more crowded as we got closer to Kokusaitenjijo Station and we were finally let out onto a platform where we were immediately herded like cattle up an escalator and out into the plaza leading to Tokyo Big Sight proper. We didn’t know exactly where to go so we just followed the crowd.

That is, until we got distracted by shiny objects. And by that I mean there was a professional street performer. He was actually very good and engaging and warranted my pocket change. But this was a small side-trip before we reached a large set of stairs leading up to the main halls.

If I can say one thing, 人ごみバッカリだったぜ. I have never seen so many people in one place in my life, I don’t think. And these were all people just looking to buy some comics. Jesus! the first thing we did was stop and look at the cosplay 広場 where everyone was gathered to show off the costumes they’d worked so hard to prepare. There was an equally large group of photographers ready to oblige them. Everyone was very polite and not at the same time. Basically every person with a camera would ask permission and thank the subject afterwards. But then people would push and butt into each other to get the best angles. It was all in all a very confusing experience. Have a look, some of these costumes get intense.

Besides the cosplay, the main part of the convention was sales for these self-published comics that take characters from famous anime or manga and put them in new situations. It’s sort of like fanfiction in the US except most of this is sexual in nature. [Yeah.] So the distribution is largely split into two groups, comic artists making stories about heterosexual pairings and those making stories about homosexual pairings. What I mean by this is that, like in American slash-fiction, characters from an anime who are originally straight will be put into homoerotic situations. And there was a warehouse about two football fields long full of this stuff. Yes. In addition to the comics they had lots of fan-made character goods which was awesome.

We lost Marisa in the crowd, and trying to find her proved fruitless, so we wandered the warehouses of comics along with thousands of other people until we found… A SECOND COSPLAY AREA. Here are some more awesome costumed fans.

The distribution of cosplayers was just about equal except the majority of guy cosplayers were either [not very effectively] dressed as girls or not as impressive as the girls beside them. So that explains the skewed gender distribution in this blog post.

We ended up finding Marisa at the end and we were able to walk away from Tokyo Big Sight with about a billion pictures and some doujinshi in tow. I’d say it was a success. It totally seemed late because the sun was already setting, but that was just Japan playing tricks on us. The sun sets at about 4:30 PM here and it confuses me into thinking that it’s a whole lot later than it actually is. With all the time we had, we decided to wander Odaiba which included watching the beautiful sunset from the island and also crossing the 夢の大橋, horribly translated as the GREAT BRIDGE OF DREAM. So we crossed the Great Bridge of Dream and it was glorious and everything was beautiful and perfect for a couple of seconds.

We ran into Andrea and company by chance at the Venus Fort shopping mall which is exactly like every other mall in America. It was nice and warm and there were lots of sales. By the way, this always seems to happen. Every time I’m abroad I find myself gravitating towards malls. It just feels like home and I guess with my suburban sensibilities I’ve grown used to always wanting to be at a mall. It sort of feels like home, I guess, which I know is a stupid thing to say but whatever. Being in the mall was nice. All I gotta say about that.

Speaking of strange goings on at the shopping mall, there was a pool for kids to get trapped in big bubbles and roll around in. It was like zorbing except not really. I really wanted to do it, but couldn’t. :/ Also, there was a blueberry natural foods store that had a cow next to it.  You could put on a cow suit too and take a picture with it, which I also wanted to do, and did.

After Venus Fort, we wandered a bit more and found the TOKYO TELEPORT STATION, which sounds super futuristic and on Odaiba wouldn’t seem out of place. Unfortunately we haven’t figured out yet how to move molecules around in that way. Unfortunate, but the entrance still looks pretty spiffy. If you get out of the other side of the station, you run into Aqua City, which is… ANOTHER MALL. Hooray! We spent quite some time there as well. And you know what’s attached to it? A Statue of Liberty and the Rainbow Bridge. So if you take a picture, you can get what looks like a replica of the Eiffel Tower, the George Washington Bridge, and also the Statue of Liberty.

While I was taking these pictures, I realized that I really take for granted the fact that not everyone around me speaks English. A little girl was being boisterous and screaming in front of me, and I said, out loud, “Girl. You need to calm yourself. Stop dancing, for serious.” It happens all the time, commenting on people in front of them, especially on the train. Good thing I tend to mumble, otherwise I’d probably actually end up offending a lot of people, haha.

In closing, here’s some polar bear statues that I found outside of Aqua City. They’re crying, and I am too, because it’s so cold ;_; It was definitely below 8 degrees that day. And with wind, it totally sucked :/

But no time for tears, polar bears, for tomorrow is another day!

3 Responses to ““ストレートどきどきする””
  1. tyblazitar says:

    Just found this blog, and have been reading my way back. I went to Comiket too! And I went to Meiji Jingu on New Year’s! Would’ve been funny if we bumped into each other, haha.

    By the way, I’m under the impression that most fan fiction is also sexual in nature, but I might just have been more exposed (haha) to that sort.

    – Patrick

    • ochancoco191 says:

      Lololol. Thanks for reading :P Oh man, I ran into two other groups of friends that I didn’t know were going to Comiket that day and it would have been just hilarious if I also ran into you, lol.

      And yesh, it was probably the largest market… of that sort… that I’ve ever been to, but hey, I’m not complaining (^皿^);;

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