Oniko's Travel Diary:
The Three Mountains

(August 5-31, 1998)

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Sunday August 16th, 1998

Click on the picture to see more costumes from the Comic Market convention!

Since I skipped out on the fun yesterday, I got up early to go back to the Comic Market convention at the Big Sight; of course, I had to detour over to Ikebukuro first, to get more cash. I knew the odds were I wasn't going to buy too many more books, but I definitely wanted to pick up the computer art pad that I had seen two days ago (assuming the company selling it was still there), and that would require at least 30,000 yen. When I got to the convention, I pretty much headed straight for that booth... with one minor detour.
The booth I was headed for was near the area of the convention where people in manga and anime related costumes posed for pictures, so I detoured over to see what costumes were on display today before I went to the booth... the costumes have got to be the funnest part of this convention, just because of the beautiful detail work and imagination that went into most of them. That, and all the girls dressed like fantasy characters.
In any case, after I'd taken a few pictures and seen the best costumes out there, I re-found the booth and fumbled my way through the purchase; there were a couple of times the gentleman "helping" me tried to charge me for the 60,000 yen version, twice as much and twice as large as what I wanted (be warned -- no matter what the language, there are always salesmen who want to sell you the model you don't need). After I got what I wanted, I toured the other booths in this area again, which consisted mostly of computer games related to comics or produced by professional comic book creators... I had decided earlier to buy a copy of the new Microsoft Windows 98 operating system, Japanese language version, while I'm in Japan, so I can use it to construct a Japanese language web page when I get back to the States. The other advantage to this plan is that it will let me run Japanese computer games with Japanese text, not always easy to do on a non-Japanese operating system. So I bought a few games! [UPDATE 1999: I've built that site, by the way -- it's in both English and Japanese: Oniko's Gallery.]
After that, I considered myself pretty much finished with the convention, not because there wasn't more there that I wanted to see, but because there was too much for me to take in; maybe next trip, when I've got more of the language and more comic books of my own under the belt. For now, it was time to head back to the hotel, and get ready for the next challenge. Simple as the day may have sounded, it was four o'clock when I got back to Nishikasai; time flys when you're having fun.
I stopped at a post office before it closed to mail off the artpad and to grab a box... I've got to mail stuff off tomorrow, mainly presents for my family and friends and all the extra stuff I've built up shopping (funny how that happens). And, in one of my usual circular thought processes, I went out to buy more books -- after all, I'm mailing stuff home tomorrow anyway, right? So I picked up some oddball specialty comics I've been eyeing -- like a two volume hardcover set of "Jesus", his life and times in a Japanese comic book! This ought to be interesting...
Other than that, I had dinner at a curry restaurant (yum!), got myself cleaned up, and looked over what I need to mail while packing one box. I'll see how much I can get done tomorrow, my one free day before I get into real trouble.
By the way, I finally figured out why the initial trip to Nishikasai felt so familiar... I came here one day way back in 1990 to track down some used books at a book store. Of course, I didn't know where I was or what I was doing at the time; through a complicated series of events, my then host-mother arranged for me to travel out to this ward with a rough map and an address for the bookstore, owned by a relative of a bookstore owner in an entirely different city, because it was believed it would have some difficult to find manga titles I was trying to track down at the time. I found them, and a good thing too... the same books would now cost me about $80 each instead of the $1 a copy I paid at the time. It's little wonder that I didn't recognize the area after nearly ten years absence!

On to August 17th, 1998

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