Big thanks to everyone at Anime USA this year. It was an absolute blast and I want to thank everyone who came by the table and came to the panels for making it so memorable. To try and return the favor, Caffeine & Ink hooked up all AUSA attendees with free links to the first chapter of my new book, RocKaiju. Given the traffic we immediately saw, I’m guessing they like rock ‘n roll and giant lizards.
The staff of the Wardman Park Marriott deserve some serious credit for running such a tight ship. I saw their staff all over the place, making sure water was flowing and chairs were stacked. We had some hiccups throughout the weekend that the hotel staff was absolutely on top of. Kudos to their people, top to bottom.
One such event was the Attack of the Water Nation. Apparently there was a spill or something; details are sparse and conflicting. Whatever the case, said water-related incident kicked off the fire alarm, which is always fun at a cold-weather con. Again, the hotel and the con staff were on it and handled it in minutes.
Friday saw two panels: Intro to Japanese Cuisine and Myths of Japanese Martial Arts. Both were well attended and thank you to everyone who came out. I’m (again) sorry that there were no samples as the Japanese Cuisine panel, but since it’s mostly about not stabbing your chopsticks into your rice and not wiping your face with the hot towels and that okonomiyaki isn’t food but a culinary dare, there’s only so much that can be done.
Also, my apologies to all the ninja in the room during the Myths of Japanese Martial Arts panels, but historical documents just aren’t on your side. But you’ll always have Michael Bay, so that’s…something?
Friday also saw the sell-out of all my copies of Samifel. A lot of people at AUSA were keen for dystopian romance. Or cybernetic car-racing. Or maybe both?
Saturday was pretty hectic, as most cons are. The dealers’ room never really dipped in activity so we were busy the whole time. I was glad I got to say hi to the representatives of MAGFest, Katsucon, and Anime Mid-Atlantic (which coincidentally makes up my forth-coming con schedule), though the MAGFest people were quite busy arguing the supremacy of King Doughnut.
Saturday also saw my panels: Ins and Outs of Mecha, and How the Meiji Era Invented the Modern World. The Meiji Era of Japan (1860s to 1920s) broke a lot of rules of society, big and small. It’s hard to appreciate just how innovative that time was for Japan, and the effects those innovations had on the world at large. The 1800s were marred with revolution and upheaval but Japan did it in a way unheard of in human history. Plus, the Meiji Era gave us Jigoro Kano, who may perfectly personify the Meiji Era. It’s always a fun panel to give.
Ins and Outs of Mecha was a little crazy. It’s a tongue-and-cheek panel to begin with, but after Japan and America already duked it out in an almost-entertaining way, it’s hard to call mecha combat speculative. We had some technical issues that marred the panel, but everyone seemed to enjoy it so I’m glad. Any chance I get to talk about mecha, I’m delighted.
Sunday saw my Intro Martial Arts class, where I give a simple martial arts class to any interested con attendees. It’s always really interesting because invariably the class is split between total novices and high-level martial artists. In either case, there’s always a lot of fun as we go through and breakdown very simple techniques. Coming from a Kajukenbo background – which is to say a hybrid skillset – I’m able to tackle a wide variety of questions which makes the end of the class always a lot of fun.
Sunday also saw selling out of Rhest for the Wicked, allowing me to leave the con with a giant smile and a light suitcase.
AUSA felt different than previous conventions. There was a more casual feel, like a sleep-over or a campground party. Much of the frenetic energy and rush I feel from the crowd at other cons wasn’t there. This was more laid-back, more casual, more relaxed. Certainly no less fun, however. It was a great time, I hope by all. My hats off to the convention staff for their terrific work.
Thank you again, to everyone!
Next up on my convention docket is MAGFest! I’ll be in DC again, this time in National Harbor. MAGFest is a giant party: part convention, part music festival, and just four days of unmitigated fun. If you’re going to be in the area, I strongly urge you to check it out. If you won’t be in the area, I suggest you re-evaluate your plans. MAGFest is one for the ages and something you should never, ever miss.
MAGFest will be the sight of some big surprises from yours truly, including several new books (yes, books; plural) and a lot of big things popping going into 2018. Come to the panels, come to the table, come have a blast.