Journal Entry: Mon Sep 20, 2010, 8:41 PM
WARNING: WALL OF TEXT
It's about noon on Tuesday here in Japan, and the first part of my trip has come to a close.
Todd and I arrived here on Thursday evening and met two of our hosts, Ray and Akiko-san, as well as Lionel, the other contestant. Ray works for Konami America, and Akiko-san is a travel planner hired by Konami to take care of us. Anyways, the five of us went to the ANA hotel in the rain where we checked in. Ray left and Akiko san took the rest of us to dinner at a curry shop. It was delicious! The first thing I noticed was how large the portions are-- something I didn't expect. After dinner, Akiko san took us back tot he hotel and left, and Lionel, Todd, and I explored the surrounding area. Lots of weird signs! The hotel itself was gorgeous, although there was a window from the room into the bathroom. Really weird!
Friday morning we were scheduled to go to Akihabara. The five us were joined my Ayako-san from Konami's Japan division, and we only had about an hour to walk around. We hit up maybe 3 stores, I got a Risty figurine, and we left for Tokyo Game Show. We passed by Heza-chan, Kojima-san, Imaizumi-san, and Matusyama-san (Rising producer) on our way to the meeting room, where were briefed on the contest. We were given a case of Peace Walker Mountain dew and then allowed to see TGS for its last hour before closing.
I was really impressed with the booths at TGS! Much more time and money had been spent on them than what you see at US cons. The Monster Hunter booth was particularly cool, with lots of statues. I checked out the Konami booth where they were showing a trailer for Castlevania which looked awesome, and then got my photo taken with the Edgeworth statue at the Gyakuten Kenji booth. Oh, and the Sega booth was playing a trailer for Valkyria Chronicles 3, which looks to have Selvaria in it! After the hall closed, Todd, Lionel, and I met with Akiko-san and went to the Konami Style Store. I bought a huge Shiroro plushie since I had almost all the MGS merchandise in the store already. They had a Naked Snake and Old Snake statue, but I don't think that was for sale haha! Very cool though, I got my photo with it. We then ate Tonkatsu and went back to the hotel.
Saturday was the day of the contest. All six of us headed together to the game show. When we got to the meeting room, we met the other contestants who were all really good! There was a Cecile (Maiko), Sunny, Paz, Ocelot Soldier (Yooki), Ocelot (Misaki), and Psycho Mantis. I had actually been talking to Maiko for quite some time before the contest, and she translated quite a bit to help Todd and I out. I really appreciate her help! We decided to get dressed early and everyone except Mantis went to the Konami booth in cosplay. We were too popular so Konami escorted us to the designated cosplay area and cleared a spot for us. It was crazy. The photographers didn't form a row like in US cons but instead formed a circle around us, and the stream of photos was constant. It was overwhelming! Todd's Snake went over really well, so we were happy about that.
After a while we went back to the meeting room to freshen up. Even though Lionel, Todd, and I don't speak Japanese, we were able to communicate with the other cosplayers and had a lot of fun with them! We had pre-judging with Jacki, and then we were taken to the Konami backstage area. Everyone did well performing! When I went up, Kojima-san said that my costume had increased the sales of the Sweet Snake figurines, which was so cool to hear! Anyways, the three winners were Rooki, Misaki, and myself. So exciting! We went back to change into regular clothes, and Omi Gibson came by in her Boss costume to say hi to everyone. Misaki, Yooki, Lionel, and I were taken to dinner at a beautiful French restaurant with KojiPro, and Kojima-san and Shinkawa-san came by to toast us. We had a good time talking with the Konami staff about Japan, cosplay, and Rising, and then we were taken back to the hotel.
Sunday morning we checked out of our hotel and said our goodbyes to Ray and a Lionel, who was going back to the US. Todd and I went back to TGS, met up with Maiko-san, and changed into costume. Yooki-san was very generous and gave me his Kerotan, which I had been searching for for days! We had fun in costume and met another Sweet Raiden and MGS4 Raiden who were both excellent! We did a few private photos with Leonard and left to change hotels. Maiko-san put us in contact with Omi-san's friend Brad and his wife Megumi, who helped us change hotels. We couldn't have done it without them! We then went to dinner with Brad, Megumi-san, Maiko-san, Omi-san, Jiro-san, Michi, Sie, Go-Ku-san, Yooki-san, and Henry of ACP. I had a lot of fun chatting with everyone (Brad translated for us) and dinner was excellent.
Yesterday, we met up with Omi-san, Jiro-san, Go-Ku-san, Maiko-san, Brad, and Megumi-san and went to Akihabara. They showed us around all the niche shops for figurines and airsoft guns. We found the Medicom Raiden figurine and a few other things too. We also stopped at a maid cafe where Jiro-san showed us the awesome Raiden mask he built. So cool! We also hit up a Purikura which was hilarious! I wish we had them in the states! We finished the night off with dinner and said our goodbyes.
So the first part of our trip is over. Todd and I are on our own until Friday now, and I miss everyone I've met in Japan already! Everyone we've met has been so kind and fun to be around; if we have the money, I definitely want to come back next year! Despite the language barrier I feel we've made a lot of friends, so it's really sad that we live so far from all of them.
I'll make another post about the rest of our trip when I get home, and I'll also reply to all the messages I've gotten then. I've just been so busy! Thanks for the support everyone!