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July 24, 2007

Otakon recap

In a word, Otakon, the Japanese Anime convention at the Baltimore Convention Center last weekend, was draining. 

I'll post some photos as soon as my buddy RJ sends them to me. 

It was my first time navigating the inside of the sprawling convention center. I hope I never have to do it again. This massive building takes up two whole city blocks and is horribly confusing -- even with a map.

Otakon's volunteer staff made it even trickier by labeling some doors "exit only" and others "entrance only." Several times, we were told to walk all the way around the convention center to get to the "in" door because this was the "out" door and God forbid we walk in through the out door, even though no one is walking out, but rules are rules and rules shouldn't be broken. Gimme a break.

My little sister Emily and I caught a couple decent new anime flicks, munched on some Pocky, bought some merchandise and walked around all afternoon.

As expected, at least a third of the crowd came in costume. My two favorite ones actually weren't anime-related at all. One guy came dressed as Jesus, complete with a giant cross he lugged around all day. People went nuts. Everybody wanted their picture taken with Jesus.

Also saw Santa Claus (real beard!), who posed for photos with an index finger over his lips, saying "SHHH." Guess Mrs. Claus didn't approve of him sneaking away from the North Pole.

Around 4 p.m., we ended up in an almost unbearable How to Write Japanese seminar. It was a classic case of the awkward leading the awkward. Emily summed it up nicely: "I learned how not to teach Japanese."

We left, exhausted, around 5 p.m.

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:06 PM | | Comments (2)


Why haven't there been any stories in the paper about Otacon? I'm not an anime nerd, but I was working downtown over the weekend, and the convention was definitely a big deal.

Doesn't the arrival of 23,000 strangely-dressed people in your town merit at least a small story?

Not sure why there wasn't a recap or advance story in this week's paper. It was a best bet in the LIVE weekend preview section, and we've done at least one story on it every year for the past several years.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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