And so, as promised, here is the first of the AX reporting!
As is always the case the day we leave for AX, we woke up pretty nervous on Thursday. But we were pretty sure we had everything packed, and even though we have a deathly fear of public transportation, we were confident things would go well. We put on our Saiyuki costumes and were almost ready when our ride arrived early. Steve was going to be driving us to the train station, and he's the most Dursley-ish man we've ever met, so we were evilly curious to see how he'd react to us being in costume. It's probably for the best that he wasn't really surprised.
While we waited for the train, we noticed a girl going around carrying a Keyblade, so when we got the opportunity, I said, "Looks like you're headed the same place we are!" to which she responded, "Where are you headed?" I guess Saiyuki isn't as well-known as I thought. I told her we were going to AX and she confirmed that that was where she was going, too, and then seemed to want to hide. So we left her alone, and thought the whole thing somewhat strange. I wonder if it has something to do with Fresno people in general.
The train ride was pretty uneventful. At the bus stop, we ran into the girls we would be sharing our hotel room with on the first night, and there were a bunch of other people in the attitude of being otaku, and someone asked, "How many people on this bus are going to Anime Expo?" About two thirds of us raised our hands, and someone said, "I love this bus." We wanted to have an anime sing-along, but we weren't confident enough to orchestrate one. We picked up more con-goers in Los Angeles, a few of whom we overheard talking about the crazy Mormons in Utah during part of the ride. The main speaker said she didn't have problems with the mainstream people in most religions, but the crazy ones she doesn't like. We think they were talking about polygamists. At one point she asked the guy she was talking to, "You're mainstream Christian, right? Then I assume you have some distaste for the Mormons." I wanted to interject at some point, but I couldn't find a suitable opportunity. This was either because I couldn't decide if I wanted to say something like, "Hey, as a Mormon, I think I can shed more light on this subject," or be more sneaky and like, "What's this about Mormons?" and pretend I was just interested in them until a better opportunity to reveal myself came along. And the fact that I wasn't in a good place on the bus to really be heard in that conversation certainly didn't help. Ah well.
We arrived in Long Beach after a very long bus ride, but the convention center was visible from the bus stop, so by that time we were very excited. We made our way to the hotel with our roomies and their guy friend, and since we got there early, we had to wait before they'd let us check in. The guy friend took this opportunity to find a bathroom and change into his Vincent of the Turks costume. That got us talking about Final Fantasy VII, and we sang our version of the Shinra anthem, which was highly enjoyed by all. I think. I don't know if our roomies appreciated it as much as he did, is what I'm saying. We know he liked it, because he asked us to sing it again later when we ran into him with some more of his friends.
After getting checked in, we were off to registration! We were pretty sure our registration was in the Hyatt, so we headed that way, but we got distracted by some members of Organization XIII and a Vash the Stampede who glomped us as we walked past the convention center. It was Athena's first running glomp, and I think the first time I was on the receiving end. They asked us if we'd be Goku and Hakkai the rest of the con, and we said no we had other costumes, mentioning Donald and Goofy. They told us about the Kingdom Hearts gathering on Sunday, which we probably wouldn't have gone to if they hadn't, because Sora cosplayers tend to not be able to notice anyone but themselves, which is only partially in character. In character or not, it makes it difficult to choreograph awesome pictures.
So after that encounter, we ran into some guy who said he'd noticed a lot of people getting lost looking for registration (which turned out to not be in the Hyatt), so he showed us how to get there and then asked for a dollar. We thanked him and gave him a dollar and headed off. On the way to the line, we ran into a couple of guys carrying a huge pile of boxes that was about to fall over. After all the trouble we had figuring out how we were going to get to AX and stuff and wishing there had been more people to help us out, we had been determined to try to be more helpful where we saw a need, so we ran up to help them stop the boxes from falling. We figured we might as well help carry, too, since they seemed to appreciate the help (they made us honorary employees for the time being, and thus we were allowed all the way into the dealers' hall, getting a sneak peek before it opened! Whee!).
We nearly lost our group in the whole process, but they were kind enough to wait for us, and we met up with them only a little farther than where we had been separated. We found the registration line, but there was a sign saying that industry and press registration actually was in the Hyatt. We made sure the rest of our group got in line and were ambushed by a group of merchandising volunteers selling t-shirts. The shirts were very pretty, and we were feeling touristy, or wanting-to-buy-stuff-y, so we each bought one. The volunteers were fun, too. They're all like, "And look! You have all four of us right here talking to you! How often do you get this much attention?"
Shirts in hand, we headed off to industry registration, and when we got there we discovered it hadn't opened yet. Then there was mostly a bunch of wandering around until it did open. At about industry registration opening time, we went back to the Hyatt and discovered an AX staffer (or volunteer--he wasn't wearing a vest, so I'm not sure) carrying a bunch of boxes down the stairs. We helped him get them down all the stairs and then lined up for registration. As we got inside the actual registration room, we saw him in the back stuffing bags and he looked sad and lonely. We should have asked if he needed more help, but we failed. We did get our registration taken care of, though, and I think we may have gotten fewer goodies than the normal attendees, because we saw people with manga samplers that we didn't get. But then again, I guess it makes sense that industry people wouldn't really need manga samplers, because a lot of them would be the ones giving them out. Still, free stuff! *pout*
There was more wandering, only this time in search of food. This is where the dislike of Long Beach began. In Anaheim, there's a Pizza Hut Express right in the hotel! And it's somewhat reasonably priced. I miss Anaheim. *sniffle* During this time, we ran into chibidrunksanzo, pixiepilot, rurounigochan, and kabochan for the second time that evening, and the question was brought up as to who was stalking whom. The long commute and lack of food was preventing us from coming up with a witty response, but now I think I would have decided they were stalking us. I think I had a reason for that, but it's gone now. But do I really need one?
We also ran into another group of AX friends, and would mention a few of their LJ handles, but I can't remember the spellings or how public/private they are. They were waiting for a table at Islands and invited us to join them for dinner, which was exceedingly awesome of them. But then it turned out their ringleader's mother had cooked dinner for all of them, and they went to that so as not to offend. They invited us to that, too, but we're notoriously picky eaters so we decided it would be best not to go, so as not to offend. And also not to be asked annoying questions about what we will and will not eat.
Eventually we settled on getting a large pizza from Extreme Pizza to take back to the hotel, and then we'd have leftovers which would save us money on food for another meal or two. As we were eating, our roomies came back. (We actually ran into them at Borders during our search for dinner, but they had already eaten, alas.) We got to talking and fangirling while one of them put some finishing touches on her Sailor Galaxia costume, and ended up staying up way too late. We were awful and took the bed, even though they were only going to be there one night and then they were off to a room stuffed with more people, but they insisted that they wanted the floor and we were exhausted and headachey. Not that they weren't. We really were awful. It wouldn't have been so awful if not for the lack of extra blankets. We tried calling the front desk about that, but nobody picked up. Either this hotel is really not up to par, or it really did not like being invaded by hordes of crazy cosplayers. Either way, there were no extra blankets, so I hope our roommates were warm enough.
And thus we went to sleep, excited for the convention to come (but a little nervous, as we noticed Translator Guy's name wasn't in the list of staffers).
Well that one may not be so long (edit: I didn't think it was so long scrolling back up at what I wrote, but when I viewed the entry it looks like it's kind of long after all), but I'm pretty sure it'll get longer from here, and I don't want to spend all that time right now.
Today I'm thankful for having working air conditioning, friendly roommates who will stay up late and let us show off our seiyuu knowledge, opportunities to help people, flying glomps (especially non-fatal ones), and leftover pizza.