Project A-kon 8 Memories

It has been too many years of con-hopping.  This year was my big "Fushigi Yuugi" year.  All my friends that were going to Akon were going as FY characters.  It was like... the height of it's popularity for me.  It still wasn't commercialized, and fansubs had been in a whole ruckus over the whole "Central Anime" thing.  It was actually at this con where they had a room to view the last batch of episodes (Episodes 33-52).  Hell, even the OVAS weren't out in Japan yet.  This is how fresh the series was.  Anyway... I did my hair purple and I was ready to go!  This trip I drove in with James and Kyo again.  This time we actually did an INTELLIGENT thing and stopped at a motel for one night.  Funny thing, while probably around... somewhere in Arizona.  We go to change the tire and the jack that CAME WITH THE TRUCK was too big to fit under the truck.  So James tried to lift his truck, and Kyo put the jack under the small area on the frame of the truck so it would properly lift it.  Then after we tried to bring up the truck, we took of the ripped up tire.  We go to put the spare on and sure enough, it wasn't FAR enough off the ground to actually put the tire back on.  This was difficult, the jack wouldn't go any higher and no one was stopping to help.  Eventually one of the guys did lift the truck up high enough to put the tire on.  I think that was the only time I wished that I had Nuriko's "Super strength".  We eventually got out of that situation. Picture credits go to Shana and Lucinda.  Not sure on the rest though, I know there is one also by Dave (Tamahome in the pics).

-Friday-

I remember the first day of the con.  I ran into Mike Young, said hi and stuff.  He stated that the Memphis girls were lurking about.  Then Shana was lead to me while I was in the registration line and she was like "Val!" and glomped onto me.   I had met Shana before through another situation entirely, but we were all friends.  I eventually was introduced to the others.  With everyone from online having designated costumes - it was quite fortunate that we had a pretty solid cast.  Me as Nuriko, Aya as Miaka, Dave as Tamahome, Joe as Nakago, Another Joe as Chichiri, Mike as Tasuki, Kevin as Mitsukake, Jenson as Hotohori, and then we put Amanda in a cute little chinese outfit and made her get on her knees to be Chiriko ;p  Haha.

Eventually I ended up meeting Ruby.  I ran into her in the dealers room, recognizing me from a picture.  She was dressed as Chocolate from Bakuratsu Hunters.  Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of her dressed up.  She also had a Tira cosplaying with her, but that wasn't her main costume.  Anyways... She knew of me through a friend named Greg.  I think the best explaination to this was she said "Actually, I thought you were a guy for the longest time because your name is Val.  Val is a guys name."  I figure eventually Greg corrected her.  I can't remember how it got resolved that she discovered that I was a she though :)  I remember she bought a Tokyo Babylon book, and then bid me farewell.  This is where I think fate takes control.  I hate conflict... I really do.  When people see others dressed as the characters they are dressed as, conflict happens a *LOT*.  Either one has a better costume, or whatnot.  Usually it's just a defense mechanism because you're dressed as the same character and you wanted to be unique, you know?  I spotted a girl with two friends (I think) dressed as Nuriko.  I remember freezing up and kind of turning the corner hoping she wouldn't notice me.  She had a much better costume, by far.  I guess I didn't want to be put on the spot and embarassed.  To be completely honest - None of my costumes have been very good.  Through the years, I usually get a costume that is easily picked up at a store (like, with FY it's easy because it's all chinese garb).  The Ukyou costume I did make, at least the blue top... but I really have no sewing skills.  I tried to make a Ryouko (From Tenchi Muyo) costume and it turned out like crap.  Since that attempt I was sick of wasting money on making really bad costumes.  Okay, I escaped embarassment for like 15 minutes.  I'm now outside of the dealers room speaking to someone about spotting the "Other Nuriko".  Then suddenly that same girl I spotted before rounds the corner ( This was in front of scoops, for those of you who remember the old Harvey layout ) and a guy is video taping her.  He then turns and puts his video camera on me.  I'm blinking... he says "Hey!  Didn't I see you at Katsucon?"  Which was right, I was at Katsu.  I say "Uhh... yeah, but I was only there for Friday.  I did Karaoke."  (This is all paraphrasing, I can't remember exactly what I had said).  He then mentions he did see me at least on that friday.  I say something about not being very recognized because FY hadn't became popular really yet.  The girl is like "Oh, You're dressed as Nuriko." and I'm like "Uh... yeah.  But your costume is much better."  She says "Well, you're Nuriko before the haircut and I'm Nuriko after the haircut, so we really are different." I feel a bit better about that, because it was a relief that she didn't say "Your Nuriko costume sucks!  You bring dishonor to the character" and crap.  This random Nuriko was my first encounter with Lucinda.  Little did I know that all the people I would meet at this con would be like... my most treasured friends later on in life.  A lot of this day really is hazy from this point on.  I remember I sang "What's up guys!" With Rob Lantz and Randy.  Then later I sang the opening to blueseed with some random guy, and I also sang "Choose Me" on my own.  I kept getting compliments later about how well I sang it o.o   Later on in the night I remember wandering to the FY room (An actual hotel room with some folks from Central Anime, I think, showing the episodes that were just now being subbed).  I saw like episodes 32-40something.  The rest would be shown on saturday night after the cosplay.
 
Me and Kyo on the couch after Karaoke.       Pic of Tony and Jenner as Keisuke and Tetsuya

- Saturday -
 


Kevin, Amanda, and Regan chilling in the room.

I can't really recall too much from this day.  It was just so hectic!  We went to Walmart to pick up some last minute sewing supplies and items for the cosplay.  Mind you, we went IN COSTUME.... Here's a few conversations and how they happened:

Amanda (Not in costume): Hey Connie (Aya), Did you see how that security guard looked at you?
Aya dressed as Miaka: Huh?  I didn't notice, I was looking at the Cheese Balls.

  --- Later while at the mcdonalds inside the walmart ---

Shana: Die die die!
Me: You want your Tamagotchi to die?  You just got it.
Shana: I don't like what it evolved into.  You hear that honey?  You're adopted!

One of the many trips to McDonalds we made, IN COSTUME!
 
Anywhos... we made up a skit, we had the players.  We go to the cosplay 'waiting room' and then get our numbers.  This is where it gets weird.  Ruby's dressed up as Yui and they've got a skit prepaired with a bunch of other people for another FY skit.  This, of course, means that people will do that "Conflict" thing because for some reason if another group is doing the same series as you they get highly offended and defensive.  I stayed civil and conversed with both groups.  There were weird vibes everywhere, though.  I remember sitting down and chatting with Lucinda.  She asked me how I knew my group, I was like "Oh, it's really weird.  I know them through the internet... yeah.  Actually, I know them all through the internet.  God that must sound really bad.  We're all pretty good friends though."  Eventually, the cosplay was over and gone.  What'd we get?  A Judges choice award :)  Me and Amanda were in the audiance and completely missed going on stage.  I remember when they were announcing their awards, Lucinda put her arm around my shoulder and made a joke about how there should be a "Gay boy" award.  Ruby's group won some awards.  Pretty interesting stuff, to say the least.  I don't remember much else from the cosplay ^_^;;

Randy as Rokutunda.                Pic of our Tamahome and Miaka
 

Later on in the night, I went to the FY room to watch the rest of the series.  I remember at a really emotional part (Not gonna spoil it for ya) Amanda ended up grabbing onto John Biles and cried for like... 20 minutes straight.  Then John had to go.  I moved over to be closer to the tv and she glomped onto me!  @_@;    I remember spotting Lucinda in the room for a few episodes.  Then Amanda called Tasuki (the character) a spaz, and then Mark (Dressed as Tasuki) smacked her upside the head with his fan ^_^;;  Later, Lucinda left the room and Mark followed along.   After the viewing of the series, I decided to wander around the halls a bit instead of sleeping and I ran into Mark, Lucinda and their friend with the video camera (we call him "Hotohori").  I sat and chatted with them for an hour or so.  Then Hotohori says "Hey, let's take some pictures!" And so we all pose for a few pictures.  After we start to head off for the evening (It was almost 5 am) I say "Hey, is there any way that I can get doubles?"  She's like, "Sure, I'll get your info tomorrow." and we part ways.

This is one of the pictures we ended up with ^_^

-Sunday-

Third day, and the shortest day.  I scan the dealers room for a few things, but nothing was really of interest.  I get dressed up for the wedding between Amy and Doc (Which I did receive an invitation to), but then was informed by Amanda  that Regan had to be taken home early so we had to leave like... THEN.  I could not stay for the wedding.  I'm on my way out, with my bag, and suddenly I run into Lucinda (who is now out of costume).  I say "OH!  I need to give you my info!" And take a piece of paper, quickly jotting down my name and address.  I leave thinking nothing of it.  I ended up staying in Memphis for about a week after the convention.  I think I still owe Amanda like $20 for the whole thing.  Lots of non-con adventures there.  But anyways...  the best part about this story is 2 days after I had gotten home, I received a letter in the mail from a "Lucinda".  I'm like "Lucinda?  I don't know ANYONE named Lucinda.".  I open the letter and sure enough... it's the photos from Akon.  There was a nice letter in there saying hi and everything.  You know, if a random person said "Hey!  Here's my info, send me doubles!"  I probably would have accidently lost the address and forgotten about that person, especially if I had only JUST met them that con.  She truly set a very strong impression on me by being extremely cool at the con and in the end, I made a really great new friend.  I didn't activly start talking to her again till later, but this is how we met ^_^

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