Omonomono Newsletter

While I’m sitting home, working from home, and eventing from home under this COVID-19 scheme of things, the world keeps on ticking. Just because life may have paused somewhat for me, the world has not. Which is just to say, I feel like this blog could use a change.

I thought about doing a newsletter type format thing for this blog for a while now, and maybe that makes more sense. Of course, to make a proper email newsletter, it’s a different type of syndication. I will probably still post the letters on this site for posterity sake. It is going to have a similar voice.

Nonetheless a newsletter format of journaling seems a bit more appropriate for the things I’m thinking about. It takes a lot of time to germinate ideas worth the while for public posting, and then survive the iterative review I do. It’s not like my unpublished draft count is going down… Only a portion of what I write is gets published in the end, no matter how stream-of-conscious the rambling gets. I don’t have a formal clipboard process but that might change as a result?

In short, below is an example from this week. I’m not committed to a set schedule, but I’ll aim for a weekly schedule. I’ll post them in the emails at least, and probably on the blog too, as I go. You can subscribe to it by entering your email below. At some point those emails will go out, when I figure out how this works anyways. Meanwhile I’ll post them on the site for now.

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Otakon 2022: Wrap

It’s really nice to get back to my “home” convention and run through it as if nothing happened since 2019. I enjoyed the humid Chesapeake Bay summer as much as I ever could enjoy…humidity. Otakon was packed to the gills with things to do in 2022 and things I wanted to do, even if much of it is just hanging out. On top of seeing some old timers that I haven’t since, I would chalk it up as a great time, if too short time all together.

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On Cons, Japan, IDOLM@STER

Rather than the usual newsletter I just want to throw this out there to organize some thoughts and info. It’s also an update on my personal leisure time as whatever they’re called, for however much left that I have spent not on family or work-related things. Or watching anime–I guess I am in the middle of a Made in Abyss marathon.

To segue from that, I’m trying to catch a glimpse of Mariya Ise at Otakon 2022, down at o’ Washington DC. Consider this an open jiao if you catch me. Maybe try me at the “official” off-venue rave? Since Aniparty is there.

Otakon is throwing a big k-pop show on Friday and a music affair on Sunday, with Kaoru Wada back in town with his musician friends like Yuki Hayashi (who was at AnimeNYC last November). There’s also a rock act Saturday. The busy weekend probably got a lot going on that I’m not even aware of. I looked at their Guidebook just now and there is conflict city all Saturday. It is terrible honestly.

I am also trying to figure out how to go to Japan, now that it’s open to some tourists, plus people who can apply and get an entry certificate to get a visa. Everybody needs a visa to go to Japan now, besides people who can “re-entry” and other citizen-types. Yes, it makes going to Japan a lot more expensive and a lot more difficult, if just the fact that going as a tourist means registration and monitoring, plus nobody knows what happens if you actually catch COVID (or rather, besides mandatory quarantine and tour cancellation). For people going to concerts this is a brand new world. It’s possibly also a fleeting situation since you never know if another variant will occur and rewrite the rules like how Omicron did during Delta’s reign last winter.

The answer that I figured out thus far is that you can do a private tour. It’s doable, it isn’t cheap, but it’s feasible. So I’m going to try to do one and see how it is and let you guys know. I can say for sure it’s “not the answer” anyone is looking for already, but it is a solution to some problems one person may have. If you have a lot of money that you want to burn, this may be it if you can also physically endure the “tourist in Japan” part as that’s mandatory. For people who just want to go to a lot of lives and stay nerdy in between concerts, this is not it, because again, you need to do tours. If you want to just hole in your hotel room, this is not it. If you want to enjoy Japan frugally, this is not it. If you want to meet friends, this probably is not it unless your friends are not picky about you being a part of a monitored tour and can adopt to your schedule. Furthermore, I’m not even sure if this is kosher by the terms of the tourist agreement set by the Japanese government. Sort of just going based on what I was told here.

There are a lot of risky “downsides” as well given that the high level of operational standard required for foreign tourists in Japan. It’s got extra chance of tour cancellation and forced quarantine, for example. It’s not really “fun” and really the tourist program Japan put in place is just to save face as a G7 country still practicing its xenophobic isolation policies in the name of COVID prevention.

This is really for people who absolutely need to go to Japan for that One Thing. Like, to segue nicely into the next topic, the next “Master of Idol World” or as the announce has it, a five-brand concert next February at Tokyo Dome. On the bright side it is for sure they will stream it and probably even do theatrical live viewings overseas (in HK/TW/KR). But, yeah, I really want to go. I also really want to go to the Million Live show next January. This is gonna be rough.

So yeah, it is suboptimal, to use a nice word, but such is the state of things. As the latest variant of Omicron rages, cons are back. It’s timely and it’s got various levels of risk, but it is what we got in this post-COVID world.

A-Kon 31: Wrap

Let’s do this foodie pics first, because it accurately depicts the order of importance to me of what happens at this con. To recap, A-Kon 31 announced fhana and BACK-ON and subsequently un-announced them about a week before the show. In their place we got Shihori and Diana Garnet. We also got surprise-SG5.

CattleAck BBQ is one of Texas’s best BBQ joints, and a perennial top-3 in Dallas-Fort Worth region. So I went with some folks. This tweet sums it up well.

The con itself deserves some mention, as it’s my first time attending A-kon. For one, it’s one of America’s oldest cons, and it has its share of highs and lows. Without getting into it too much, 2022 featured a completely new venue as they move into DFW area proper, literally 2 stops away from the airport on the local train, between DFW and Love Field. It’s a nice location as it used to be just wilderness and the new development is, well, new. The con center is next to the Westin, and around the area are other nice hotels, foods, and venues. There’s an open space with free rave music on the weekend even.

The weather in early June was actually pretty cooperative for Dallas. Nothing I can complain about really.

Toyota Music Factory is a pretty new venue that was built there and it felt a tinge of LA Live, dare I say? But the venue was new and pretty good. Shihori and Garnet made short work of a small crowd, but I had fun just trying to feel that concert mojo again.

What was really impressive was the fan idol/odorite showcase at A-Kon. The IM@S, Aikatsu and Love Live groups made the thing felt like a fan-made Bannam Fes (which I watched not that long ago as of attending A-kon). For a fan production it is pretty high level, but it’s also clearly still on the crest of cringe. If you enjoy idols like I do I think this is all very precious though, so it’s fun seeing some of these acts trying their best given what they got. There was a full on Million group that wore 3rd cosplay outfits and that got to me pretty goddamn hard.

The fun part about this is also SG5. Turns out they were socializing with all the other fan dance groups the night before at a party which is amazing, lol. SG5 closed out the fan idol showcase with some serious firepower and yeah, clearly professionals at work. After the show there was a post-show autograph area where you can go and buy stuff, so I got an autograph there and a 2shot. I also talked to some of the other fan performers and it was fun to see them just do their thing.

I was able to go to SG5’s panel on Sunday and get more 2shots. Real Idols in America hurrah. During the panel, I learned more about the situation behind their prior works. These LDH-branded entertainers have real chops and maybe this is all very produced? But who’s idea is this? It’s amusing.

Besides that, I guess I did do a lot of chilling in Texas, talking to folks who I haven’t seen in quite a while is always good, to catch up in person versus over social media. It was a nice retreat from the daily grind. I took a quick walk around the con, but didn’t explore every corner. It’s a fairly large crowd for a relatively small space between a couple hotels and the con center, I think. There is a lot of outdoor areas though.

As a con, I don’t have a whole lot to say, as a result. I can talk about the con experience as I had it, which is that A-kon 31 was a bit of a mess, and the least organized one I went to among Acen and AB, but that doesn’t mean a lot in this day and age. It’s a new venue after all, so I had came into it with that expectation. I also heard it was run by some newer folks. There were also some interesting things they did…like a foam rave, or showing films at the Alamo inside the shopping/entertainment complex the con is part of. I think the overall experience was okay, as long as they fix some line and crowd control issues. It’s also unfortunate they dropped the ball on guests! Still, I guess I didn’t mind the lemonade much from the lemons A-Kon gave me. It help cut the grease from all that BBQ.

PS. Covid was definitely a guest at A-Kon because masking was poor if at all, despite con’s policy about it being mandatory. I guess this is how that part of the country rolls, unfortunately. On the bright side much of the con experience is outside, and other than inside some panel rooms or parts of the Westin, you’re either outside or in big open spaces. Even the very crowded dealer hall probably isn’t as bad because of the better ventilation of a modern convention space.

Omonomono Newsletter, July 13 Update

Oops forgot to post last month. Also, been writing this one for a week now? LOL. I’ll try to keep this short (as short as almost 9 weeks of updates can be?). If you were at AX or will be any other con upcoming, good luck and have fun. Stay safe!

Sign up for these as emails here.

Omonomono Newsletter, 2022-07-13

I think the span between my last news letter to this one, this vtuber took off? LOL. That’s a long time in Internet terms. Also did you know there was a Princess Tutu event and I missed it? ORZ.

Lately I’ve been spending more of it with my family. Work is always a big time sink all day long too.

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