Rurouni Kenshin's Con hopping adventures ^_^x
      Hello!  Welcome to this page that is dedicated or something to sharing my adventures from  Project A-kon 9 and Anime Expo 1998.  Both cons, I must say are beautifully run and take place one after the other ( Only a month of preparation time between the two ).  Project A-kon, one of my favorite all time conventions took place the weekend of May 29-31st.  Hearing generic con stories is pretty boring, and sometimes I wonder what exactly people *do* for their conventions most of the time.  However, after so many of these cons, the adventures are different, and you've suddenly found a story to tell.  For Christmas, I had just gotten this beautiful Vivatar Camera, so I was ready and willing to take pictures of everything and everyone.  A-kon I was not as camera happy as I should have been, but AnimeExpo was *my* con.  I  took my fair share of photos at AX to last a lifetime.  This is basically a generic online journal for people to flip through and read the stories, look at the pictures that go with it, and reminisce about the conventions in your own way.  BTW, if you're confused by the title name for the page, I was dressed as Himura Kenshin from the show Rurouni Kenshin.  


The days counting down to A-kon...
      Okay.  This is basically what it comes down to - I am not a very prepared person.  About February of this year, Connie Chow got in contact with me asking, "Hey, I heard you were going to be doing Kenshin this year for AnimeExpo.  Well, I'm part of this Cosplay group, and they need a Kenshin, would you like to do it?"   I was a little baffled to say the least.   She gave me the web address to a Kenshin Chat room ( Chat Ni Kenshin ) and said to log in there and talk to Tomoe, yadda yadda ya.  So from this point on, I was now known as the future Kenshin.  I finally was put in contact with Tomoe ( her name is Alice ), and I guess given the "Well, she's adrogenus enough once we get her in costume, she'll make a GREAT Kenshin." seal of approval.  Everything was set months in advance.  Now if only I weren't an idiot... ^_^x
       The closer I grew to A-kon, the more I thought I'd like to have my costume together for this convention as well.  At least, that was definantly my intention.  Connie already has been very generous enough to make the beautiful red top, which I would receive at A-kon to go along with a "Complete" Kenshin outfit that I was supposed to have together ^_^x... I didn't quite factor in that I didn't have very much to spend in that category, and so far I only have 'Tabi' ( The two toed socks ) and they are still their original color of white.  My search for the White Hakama began.  Now, I live in Las Vegas... this city isn't known for it's keen culture... in fact, it sucks.  Every martial arts or asian clothing store I tried was like "Hakama?  We only have those in black.  It's traditional.  White doesn't get made anymore."   I was not about to spend $89 + on a Hakama that was the WRONG color and size.  I found exactly one white colored Hakama, and it was at the only 'real' martial arts store in town.  The problem came with the size.  It was a 7, when I should be wearing a 2 or 3.  To explain the sizing method... I'm about 5'2"-5'4"ish, which is where a 2 or a 3 should fit.  A 7 would be along the 5'7"-5'9" crowd.  Since I couldn't find this anywhere, I thought maybe if  I had bought this one, I could size it down to the right length, but... I also realized I have 3-4 days before the convention, and I am certainly NOT THAT TALENTED!  Ahem, anywhos... I was flown out to San Jose to ride down with my ride-mate and friend, Matt.  I figured in that part of California, anything is possible :)  All I needed really were the Hakama, Shoes, and Sakabatou.  Not that I'd get a Sakabatou, because heck, even if I did have one, it'd be peace bonded and no one would see it, so what's the point of being *THAT* authentic?  I skipped the sword and went for the details.  Matt tried to search for the Hakama in his area before I came up, but he got generally the same responses I did.  They only make Hakama in black now, and so forth.  The best was from a martial arts store he had called.  They said, "White Hakama?  HAAHAHAHAHA!" .  He wasn't exactly amused that they laughed in his face o_o.  Soooo,  while Matt was at work his last day before we left, his friend Gary was extremely generous and drive me around downtown San Francisco searching for this sucker.  Taking the hour or so to get there, and searching... and searching... and searching.  No one seemed to have it in J-town.  Chinatown?  Nothing at all.  So what's to do?  I'm getting panicked, so while in Chinatown, we decide that perhaps we should look under martial arts stores and go to one in the area that may have what we're looking for.  We open the telephone book up, and it seems that someone before us RIPPED OUT ALL THE PAGES FOR THIS PARTICULAR SUBJECT!  It's like, GYAH... what is up with this?!  Gary looks down to see half an ad with an address he recognizes, in Oakland.  He said, "Oh, I used to work across the street from this place.  Let's go here and if they don't have it we can check around from there."  I was like, okay, anything to get out of the San Francisco traffic.  Another hour and a half later, we finally arrive to the store about an hour before it closes.  We ask the kind man behind the counter if he has any white Hakama's.  He looks over, then comes back asking which size... I give mine, he pulls out the item in question.  He glances at Gary asking for his size next.  So... we spent HOW many hours wandering around downtown San Francisco searching for something that was already at a place he knew of  BEFORE we began the journey!?!   Ironic!  That's all I have to say!  It's ironic!
        One down, one to go.  To be quite honest, I have only seen about 1-36 of Rurouni Kenshin.  I've picked up a Manga or two since then, but compared to the people I'd be cosplaying with, that's a very limited knowledge of the series.  I didn't know if  I would be getting the right kind of  zori (shoes) or if  I would look the part, or anything.  Since San Francisco was already done, and I didn't see much for shoes... we decided to head back down to Vegas, and pick up the shoes on the way home, in LA ( Only a slight drive out of the way, by like 1 1/2 hours or so. ).  I found a pair of black lined tatami zori for $8 there on sale for, I think, Boys day or something to that effect.  They're a good size, cheap, and able to be altered to the white and brown colored shoes Kenshin actually does wear.   These were a far cry from the correct ones.  When we got back to Vegas, my work began.  I  had to dye my hair red, fabric paint the shoe straps and sides to the right colors, and dye my socks brownish-red.  All in 6 hours before we pick up another carpooling friend for the con from the bus station, and then leaving early in the morning the next day for the 20 hour drive to Dallas, TX.  Needless to say I got things done with a great amount of help from Matt and Marla.  Though, I think the lady at Walmart gave me strange looks when I said, "Now all I have to do is go home and boil my socks." ^.^x


The trip to Dallas
       It was short and sweet.  Nothing spectacular really went on during this entire drive of  two days.   Though, just like all trips, at least ONE event has to happen that stands out in your head as just strange.  We were driving through a tiny little town in Texas.  I can't remember the name of  it, that part really eludes me.  Down along the center of the main highway/street is construction work.  The odd part was, that's the ONLY life in the entire city.  It's only about 5-6 pm.  All the gas pumps were turned off, no one in the cafes.  One gas station was half a gas station, the other half was a  gravestone/monument place.   The 'new' car dealership looked like it was selling models from like 92 and lower... it was just scary as all hell.  Everything from the sign on the church to the only other sign of  life had been a naked man in the window of what appeared to be a preschool or nursery school.  Needless to say, we were strangely fascinated by the amount of  picture potential for this town, Matt wasted an entire half a roll ( only 12 ) on shots of stuff from this place.  I saved my film.  He sent me a scan or two though.   We arrived at the hotel thursday evening/friday early morning, around 2 am.
 We can have our best witness in the worst of times.  WTF?!?
                      It really makes me wonder what the hell happened to this poor town O_O


Project A-kon, Day 1
     After a good 3 hours of sleep or so (Ah, I love those convention weekends...), I went down to the registration line in my Save Ferris shirt, Acme hat, pair of jeans and trademark seatbelt belt. I was instantly greeted by the Memphis crew in the lobby, Amanda (Aerith) was already dressed up and passing out flowers.  "Val-chan!", I was greeted, followed by hihugs and glomps from the crew.  I ran into Connie, Joe, and Alice shortly after.  I got my badge and showed them to my/our room, passing out keys and all that sort of stuff.  Since we were already up there, I got dressed in costume for the first time, Connie applying the scar carefully.  They were all so impressed by how Kenshin-ish I looked.  It rather scared me ^_^x;;  Now to go in the halls and strut my stuff.  Out of every convention I'd gone to, this is the first time I had *EVER* gotten this much attention.  I suppose it was because he was such a new or cool character, and that generally my costumes never measured up to being anywhere close to what they should look like.  This time people were very receptive.  The amount of attention was just mind boggling.  Not just from people in costume, but all the people asking for pictures.  So, I step off the elevator for the FIRST time in costume, and suddenly a woman screams, "Kenshin!", giving me a firm glomp/hug O.Ox  I think the best response to that was "Oro!?!".  I didn't know her, but she thought the costume was very fantastic.  She herself was dressed up in samurai-like gear, and very happy to see people dressed up on the first day of the convention.  How's that for a first time in costume? @_@x
           I passed by an art table and noticed this one guys artwork, taking a glance.  He looked up and said, "Oh, hey Kenshin.  I just finished a drawing of you." and pulled out a nice drawing of Kenshin in a dynamic pose.  I smiled and looked over some of  his work.  I ended up passing by the table a lot during the convention, and looking at new stuff every time.  The previously mentioned girl was also an artist, and stayed around at that table throughout the weekend.

 Artist guy and girl who hugged me o.ox
                             I wish all artist people were this nice.   I forgot to catch their names though x.x
          Hooking up with the Final Fantasy crew shortly after made my day.  I jokingly added -Dono to their names, and Aerith, Tifa, and Yuffie would joke about how they'll drop Cloud and go with me instead.  I had my own Mini-harem!   And they were the FF7 girls, what more could I want? ^_-x
And now presenting, the wonderful flower girl from the slums, Aerith-dono!
This weekend was also when I discovered that eating wasn't 2nd nature to me.  I thought it was before the con, but... I forgot to eat Saturday and Sunday.  How could a person POSSIBLY FORGET TO EAT?  I did.  But it probably saved me money.  Early that day, I met several cosplayers, including a nice guy named Shawn (or would it be spelled Sean? I didn't ask) who was dressed as Kintaro from Golden Boy ^_^x
 Hiya Kintaro!
                  What a lousy scan I have done. ^_^;  This was Kintaro the last day of the con.
         Throughout the day I did the Video Music contest (Or at least half of it x.x), I bought a whole three items from the dealers room (Keychains, wai!)  and Karaoke later that night.  I am sort of vaguely remembering the weekend... so give me a break ^_^;;; I do believe I caught the Kenshin movie in one of the hotel rooms ( A very nice person set up their stuff for the movie that was just released recently to show to congoers. )  So far, it was a pretty good first day.
 Kenshin singing.  Yeah, this happens all the time Final Fantasy 7 posing :)
   I do believe this picture was destined to be bad.  It also appears that in EVERY photo taken of me, I look awful unless it was taken with my own camera (My opinion, of course)  This was taken and scanned by Lee Thompson, and made smaller by me for your loading conveniance ^_^x  Here on the right we have a picture of  Vincent, Aerith, Elena, and Tifa as taken by Shana Farris.

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