The Lessons from A-Kon 2016

-So if I'm Fuudo, then that means Carlos is Infiltration and Ricky is Xian.-

I have returned from A-Kon and it was the most bittersweet time at a convention that I can think of in recent memory. Here are a few musings during my time paneling, cosplaying and being with friends: both old and new and some people that I much rather just avoid.

  • There is nothing like eating white cake and watching Django Unchained.
  • Paneling is still honestly the most rewarding and fantastic thing I have done in my young life.
    • Having fans and people listening is absolutely amazing and I hope to keep doing it for as long as I am able.
  • Swimming is a fantastic way to unwind.
  • Hot tubs are in fact magical.
  • Mackerel is really really delicious.
    • Let’s just say that this weekend I sorta just turned into Haruka Nanase.
  • Having a bedroom to yourself as a lady, cosplayer and introvert is a fantastic luxury.
  • Always save your presentation on your desktop and flash drive.
  • Bonding over webcomics and music is absolutely amazing.
  • Patience is a virtue: my friends have a lot of nonsense to put up with being my friend so I did have to learn to support my friends despite not being as invested in the activity as they were.
  • Cosplay dogs are the best.
    • It’s even better when you see the same cosplay dog two years in a row.
  • Jurassic World is a hot pile of NOPE.
  • Teen Titans vs. Justice League can not be saved by Sailor Moon transformation sequences.
    • And despite Damien Wayne being an insufferable brat, he has every right to feel that way. You do you, Damien.
  • As a former Sebastian, getting a hug from Ciel is actually kinda cosplayer cool.
  • Teaching Drag lingo to someone is an arduous task.
  • A girl in a Trump hat may call you a social justice warrior: she may just be right and that isn’t a bad thing.
  • Friendships aren’t about understanding everything: it’s about support.
  • I absolutely do not understand Gundam model building but I will gladly accept the hobby being explained to me.
  • Meeting other panelists is amazing.
  • Street Fighter is pretty awesome and Karin is the best.
  • Convention tournaments are amazingly fun.
  • Free breakfast is fine but paying for a Dutch Baby was worth the money.
  • Backstreet Boys are best heard at 1 AM.
  • Being recognized as a panelist and a pretty low-rent one is kinda a terrifying feeling.
    • Like I am legit not famous so for people to say “Hey, I remember you from last year.” out of like THOUSANDS of people they saw LAST YEAR is insane to me.
  • I have apparently a very intense angry face that can strike fear into the hearts of men from several feet away.
    • This face was apparently more angry than the AoT potato proposal anger face.
      • You are welcome to ask about that reference later
  • Blackberry ginger ale should not taste like grape but for some reason it does.
  • Shopping at  Tom Thumb at midnight is pretty fun but the rabbi there shopping for last minute items will judge you terribly on your choices to frolic through the aisles looking for s’mores-making materials.
  • Tastemade Japan has clearly gone too far by hollowing out a bread loaf, filling it with meat sauce, broccoli and potato then cracking an egg over it and covering the bread’s edges in mayonnaise.
    • You must be stopped, Tastemade Japan. You have gone mad with power.
  • Do not try to ride the hotel elephants.
  • Dim Sum is best when with a group and when you try new things.
    • But also eat lots of the things you love.
      • Also do not touch my pineapple buns.
  • Drama may happen but what matters is how you respond to drama.
  • Don’t be afraid to stand your ground: if someone makes you feel terrible, you do NOT have to put up with that noise.
  • Having a CVS within walking distance to the hotel is fantastic.
  • You can in fact make a cake with just two ingredients.
  • Do not do your makeup in the dark.
  • I look forward to the day that I stop being my screen or badge name to many and start being “Amanda”.
  • Fuudo apparently looks a lot like Japan from Hetalia.
  • Conventions absolutely can take you out of anime and fandoms in general.
    • Conventions are intense and they remind all of us that our fandoms are FULL of people we don’t exactly like getting to know or see.
      • To that point, it did remind me that there’s A LOT I still have to learn about modern fandoms and fan culture.
  • Team Razer forever, though.
    • And to that point despite me being a HUGE advocate of E-sports I for the life of me do not understand watching people play a game that you yourself own.
      • Zero judgement, I just don’t get it.

I said earlier that this convention was bittersweet. I had some of my biggest panel turns out and some very light drama but it was drama that I think I learned from the most. I learned so much about myself and patience and understanding things that just aren’t my thing. I had to learn that friends will make choices you don’t get. That support means support no matter what. Hype is what you make of it. And it’s always rough leaving a friend behind. I won’t forget this one. I won’t forget the applause in my panels. The costumes I saw. The costumes I wore. The bus trip there and the bus trip back. Being angry at paying for getting my car back but being so happy to unpack my loot, stash my costumes and just get ready for the next one: there’s always a next one. The show must go on and I’m always excited to be on stage and then get off the stage again. Paneling is amazing: the thrill is fantastic but learning and being around others is even better. I’m happy to be back and I’m looking forward to my next convention…but for now I need some hot tea and a nap.



Sunshine Questions

The fantastically talented BRIDGETT MORIGNA tagged me to answer these questions. So here we go. I hope I do them justice.

Do you speak any foreign languages?

  • Actually, yes! I’m conversational in French and Japanese and my German’s a little spotty. Oh and I took Latin for like 10 years.

You can live anywhere in the world, but you have to live there the rest of your life, where would you decide to stay?

  • SALZBURG. Dammit, Salzburg. Take me back, Austria. That or Vienna. The theme is I’d absolutely go back to Austria.

What is the last book you read?

  • The Georgian Star: How William and Caroline Herschel Revolutionized Our Understanding of the Cosmos

What is the last thing you wrote?

  • I’ve been working on a ton of blog posts and I’m really trying to get back into poetry.

Do you have a favorite Pokemon?

  • Drifloon. Drifloon forever.


Do you have a favorite anime?

  • Oh boy. That’s a rough question for an otaku like me. The anime that I can always go back to is FullMetal Alchemist or Cowboy Bebop. Those two are pretty strong favorites. Other honorable mentions include: Axis Powers: Hetalia and InuYasha.

Can you describe your perfect writing environment?

  • It really depends on how I’m feeling. Sometimes I  love sitting out in the park with a journal pretending to be Emerson. Other times I love the quiet cacophony of a coffee shop. My apartment is lousy to write in but I tend to get distracted really easily by anime or music that I like too much. So it really just depends on how I’m feeling and just how much urgency there is to finish the piece.

What do you do to de-stress?

  • That’s another one of it just depends on how I feel. I’ll play fighting games, duel in TCGs or just take a walk. I’ll also listen to music or dance like no one’s watching. I’ll sew if I need to calm down sometimes or craft. If I’m working on cosplay, it’s a good time to paint an accessory or sculpt.

What do you think will be the next big book fad?

  • I’m really passionate about normalization. I’m a little tired of LGBT characters and characters of color almost needing their own special section. A character can be black, gay or really anything and it just be a thing. Their entire narrative shouldn’t have to be written just solely on the fact that they are gay, cis, gender queer or anything. So let’s start to see some more YA novels that are more diverse without forcing it down people’s throats.

What sort of books would you like to see published more often?

  • I really love obscura. I love picking up a book on a wide variety or very specific topics. I finished another one about the pagan roots of Christianity. So I’d like to see more books like that. I am a nerd. A huge trivia nerd. More books to feed that part of me, that’s what I’d like.

This was kinda fun. I tag Kristine and here are the questions you should answer:

  1. Coffee or tea?
  2. Which Neko Atsume Cat if your favorite?
  3. What are you currently reading?
  4. Where do you like to write?
  5. What’s your favorite food?
  6. If there was one place you could travel to, where would you go?
  7. If you could visit any planet without having to worry about the laws of space, time or physics: which one would you visit?
  8. What’s your favorite book genre?
  9. What writing fad are you hoping to see die sooner rather than later?
  10. What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?