It’s been a while now, but there was a time when I was a public schoolteacher. Some of the kids in my class, particularly the boys, knew that I was an anime fan. As classes let out one year, two of these boys asked if I could be a chaperone and drive them to a convention in Dallas. I was excited to go to a convention, but alas, that never happened (almost definitely for the better). I expected that sometime shortly after that, I’d go to my first con, but it never happened.
Eight years later, I’m headed to my first anime convention.
IKKiCON is Austin’s major anime convention (another is being held soon afterward in the suburb of Round Rock). I’m not going a long way to attend (it’s being held three blocks away from my workplace) and the staff I’ve spoken with have been very nice. Still, I’m a bit nervous (despite Hoshi’s advice otherwise). I may be the writer on this blog with the least con experience, with R86 attending his first this past year and Goldy staffing one in her area.
But mostly, I just feel really strange being a 30-year-old man in this type of setting, particularly in light of recent events and articles.
Luckily, I’m armed with a great set of tips on how to be a “model press attendee” and a list of goals (maybe the biggest of which is to spend very little money – must…save…money). Due to, well, life, I’ll also only be attending for the better part of just one day. Best to get my first taste in small portions, I suppose.
I’ll be heading out tomorrow and will let y’all know how it went. In the meantime, any suggestions, tips, or comments about attending cons might be helpful.
- IKKiCON VI Japanese Anime and Pop Culture Convention (worldculturesaustin.com)
- Otaku life: So you want to go to a con (geekout.blogs.cnn.com)
12 thoughts on “On My Way (to My First Con)”
Have fun, and be careful! Controlling my wallet would also be the hardest thing, so I wis you luck in that endeavor :p Pictures would be great, too, of cosplayers and booths, if you’re able.
Thanks for the advice. Coincidentally enough, I was just thinking that it would be great if I could get a photograph of a Madoka cosplayer to fit the theme of this blog and lovely banner you made for it. 🙂
Oooh, you’re a press attendee? You’ll have lots of fun then, especially if you get to hang out with the special guests. Just don’t let it all overwhelm you too much. Cons have a knack for doing that. Even though you’re only going one day, I recommend keeping a water bottle and maybe a small snack bar with you at all times. Schedules of awesome panels can cross over lunch time sometimes, so it’s good to have some backup nourishment to tide you over.
I think it’s good your taking it a little at a time. One day may seem like a lot, but if you end up having a good experience, you’ll probably want to go the whole weekend next year.
Safe travels and have fun!
Thanks for the tips, Goldy. I was going to email you to ask if you had any helpful advice, but this all came together quite at the last minute. So I’m glad you chimed in here. 🙂
I went to Ikkicon a few years back when it was still held in February. It skewed pretty young from what I remember. Seems to be the way smaller, newer cons like it and San Japan play out. There wasn’t too much to do there, but I think it was its second year, so things should have improved since then. You should be able to find plenty to do for a day.
My friends and I have started to feel the age differential the past couple of years. Even at cons that skew a little older like A-Kon we’re starting to feel like we stick out. Then again, it isn’t nearly as bad when you’re with a few other people around your age, since you can hang out together and not seem like that lone creepy guy people fear.
Thanks for the info, Landon!
This’ll be the sixth time for the event, I think. I’ve been to conferences at the center they’re holding it at, and it’s quite a nice setup (better than many excellent hotels), so perhaps the con has grown.
And…check. Next year, try to bring a friend so I won’t stick out. I’m sure my camera won’t make me look like a creepy guy… -_-‘
I want to go to a Con…when I’m older, due to a lack of cash and adults who would be willing to come with me. Also, the closest I think a con has ever gotten to my little town is around a 7-hour drive away. So no, no cons for me…yet…
I would’ve been in the exact same situation at your age…
Have fun at the convention! I has been on my to do list for years now. However, I am getting old enough that I would stick out too much and that I have an irrational fear that pictures of me during the convention will end up with my nonanime-fan professors/peers.
Yeah, there’s the whole “everyone will know I’m an anime fan” thing. I understand that.
I think you’ll make much better use of your time at the con than I did earlier this year. I didn’t go over the list of sessions being offered, and settled for wandering around and buying (a bare minimum of) merchandise. Also, since I lived within half an hour of the location, I found myself going home and coming back, which probably added to my inefficiency.
This year a colleague of mine is giving a talk during one of the sessions, and as for age, he is signficantly my senior, and I am significantly yours, so I think you have reason not to feel self-conscious. 🙂 I’m also going to try to meet up with him and/or some former students. You have most of the good advice already, but the only thing I think I can add is that it doesn’t make much sense to let a con “just happen.” The old saw about “he who aims at nothing, generally hits it.”
Have fun, and keep an eye on your wallet, but do be sure to pick up a trinket or two. I think you’ll be sorry if you don’t. 😉
Thanks for the advice – I will certainly try to make the best of my time. I have a particular goal in going (related to the blog), so that will help me focus. Otherwise, I may end up just wandering around.