Confession time. Until just recently, I had never been to an anime convention. That being said, I can now say I have. On March 22nd, I attended Anime-Japan 2014 in Odaiba, Tokyo. It was crazy. Having never been to a convention before, I was invited to go with a friend who has been to conventions in the USA and even volunteered at some. This was her first convention in Japan. She was very surprised at how normal everyone looked. There were very few cosplayers.
The entire convention was highly organized and no one was just laying about. I was just excited to be in Odaiba. We were directed completely around the convention center to the back doors, which happened to be the entrance to the event.
There are some experiences you never forget. One is riding in a crowded subway or train in Tokyo. Another would be the experience of being pushed around inside of a Japanese convention. It was hectic for a introvert like myself, but I was amazed at the number of people who came. I traveled through the entire convention, avoiding certain sections I did not feel comfortable with. I struggled to take pictures in the crowd, but still I found many wonderful things.
I discovered Super Heroes
and Robot Boys
and a robot cat.
However, the thing I discovered that was by far the best wasn’t robotic, 2D, or even popular. It was time spent with a friend on an adventure, getting confused by the trains, crushed by currents of people, and fighting lines in konbini. It was a wondrous adventure. I recommend going with someone, because even if you don’t like the madness, you can enjoy the company.
I loved seeing how much people appreciate anime, but the event itself reflected a loneliness that I have often sensed here. Thousands of people in two gigantic rooms and almost all of them looked like they felt alone. In a way, this event is about more than anime. It is about money, but it works because of a longing in people to be drawn to other people who value what they value.
If there is one thing I regret about this event, it is that I was so worried and focused on my own thing, that I forgot to look at the value of the people around me. I forgot to look at them the way God does. God loves them. I let my fear rule me for a time, but I am not supposed to live in fear. I am not supposed to feel alone, and neither is anyone else who was there. I wish now that my focus had been on the people instead of the event. Next time, I want to go to meet people instead of just seeing anime booths.