May 102008

The transportation
This year, I carpooled with a few friends down to Scon. The ride, was VERY interesting, especially because of the weather (which shall be elaborated more in another section). As our driver puts it, “we’re so special, we went through 4 seasons just to get to Scon!” Yes, we drove through sun, rain, snow, clouds, wind… It was quite an adventure. Here’s three pictures I managed to capture:

Foggy mountain top!

It’s actually snowing outside, but my camera couldn’t catch the wet flurries…

The sun! Thankfully, this is when we got into Seattle!

The weather
Surprisingly for Scon this year, the weather was amazingly horrible. It was wet, cold, windy… freezing. I’m not entirely sure what happened but there was definitely snow that weekend. A colleague deemed it “Snow-kura-con” instead of “Sakura-con”. I find it very befitting given the circumstances of the bad weather we had that weekend. Other than that, many of the attendees toughed it out and enjoyed what Scon had to offer. Luckily, the convention space was larger this year so many were able to hide from the weather and stayed indoors.

The layout
As information gathered amongst my colleagues, we noticed that the convention area this year has increased since ’07. Personally, I felt I wasn’t able to cover all of the areas of the conventions. I mainly concentrated on the areas with heavy traffic flow. However, I did try to venture out to as many places as I can!

The food
Last year, I mostly relied on the food vendors at the Convention hall (the crepe place, Taco Del Mar… etc.) This year, I relied on the restaurant in my hotel building. The Elephant & Castle Restaurant at the Red Lion provided very satisfying meals. The service there was also very good, especially the happy hour appetizers. If you share with your friends, you can probably order a couple of dishes between everyone and sample a whole range of food! The prices were also quite reasonable. I’d definitely recommend the restaurant for your convention meals!

The guests
Hmmm… What can I say other than AMAZING?!
Even before I got to Seattle for Sakuracon, I was already excited for one of the musical guests Scon has gotten this year: Ali Project.
I couldn’t believe I would be able to see them perform live. Ali Project definitely made Scon even more exciting for me than it already did.
Another guest that caught my interest was Nagahama Hiroshi, the series director for the anime of Mushishi. Mushishi was a splendid series that talked about a form of life far more primitive and pure than normal living things humans are able to see. The pace may be considered slow for some audience, but I felt it was directed wonderfully. The flow of the story gave the plot the time for the audience to digest the messages and emotions of the episodes.
Anyways, two colleagues of mine were fortunate enough to land an interview with Nagahama-san. Here’s a link to the whole interview (Jevon@Hi-Sci-Fi; Jesse@Zannen,Canada).

The concert
There is only one thing that I can complain to this otherwise amazing concert: a faulty sound system.
From my spot in the audience seating, I could barely hear anything playing from the stage. I originally thought it was part of the songs of Ketchup Mania (the opening band of the concert) as I wasn’t familiar with their songs. [[I also have to mention that their music was not my cup of tea… My eardrums nearly did not survive their songs as most of the time I did not know what they were singing about…]] However, when Alika was performing with the rest of Ali Project it was very obvious that there was something wrong with the sound system. The microphone for one of the violinists didn’t work at all. However they were still very professional about the situation and performed anyways. Besides having the treat of seeing Alika perform, she also brought over the Ali Ali Ponchika (the four dancers) to accompany her on stage. The entire performance was spectacular to say the least!
Another thing that came to my attention was the incident of an encounter between my friends and some rude photographers. My best friends over at ohSNAP were part of the Press party, so they were allowed to stay at the front, near the stage, to take pictures of the performance for their press-ly needs. However, after the concert they came back and told me of this outrageously rude photographer that harassed them
before the concert started. More details can be found here at their site.
…Some people these days just need to take a chill pill or something.

The final word
Another year of Sakuracon came and went. This year was a lot more hectic than I had imagined because I ran to a lot of different meetups due to prior arrangements. It was fun, but I got really tired most of the time because of making too many engagements. So, I think next time I shall lessen the load and just enjoy my time around the convention at a slower pace!
Here’s a picture of the sunset while waiting to cross over the border back to our country~

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