Anime Mid-Atlantic, in Review

Anime Mid-Atlantic is one of my favorite conventions to attend.  It was the first anime convention I attended as a guest, shortly after beginning my convention-speaking career.  Since then, I’ve gotten to know many of the regulars and staffers at the con.  It’s the perfect size of convention, where it’s big enough to always have something fun going on but small enough to still feel casual and not get overwhelmed.

AMA was at a new hotel this year, the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.  I was a little dubious about the hotel at first, since downtown hotels tend to be problematic for conventions.  To my surprise and delight, it proved to be an excellent locale, both in terms of accessibility of the convention events and to local amenities (like meal options).

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The Meritocracy of Martial Arts

This weekend, I will be in DC for Katsucon!  I’ll be presenting a host of panels as part of the Japanese Cultural Institute, on topics from the Japanese-American Internment Camps in World War II to two introductory classes to martial arts (one for all ages and one geared more towards kids).

Preparing for those classes, I’ve been reminded of a longstanding and problematic point of contention in the martial arts, namely “why do you study [insert derided style du jour]?”.  This question is always asked after the revelation that a person studies an unpopular or denounced style.  In a post-UFC world, Tae Kwon Do and some traditional Karate styles are the usual candidates.  For me, it’s usually when I say that I study Iaido (a slightly obscure art, often connected to Aikido, studying the drawing of the katana).  People, especially those involved in armored combat, immediately remark with disdain and surprise.

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Express Yourself

Katsucon is in two and a half weeks.

I’m pretty jazzed about it.  I’m giving a bunch of panels as part of the JCI (Japanese Cultural Institute), including panels on Miyamoto Musashi, Tale of Genji, and even talking about the Japanese-American Internment Camps in World War II (man, I wish that panel wasn’t so topical right now).  I’m also giving a presentation on hacking the Japanese language.

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