Kawaii Kon 2005
Monday April 25, 2005 - 10:21 AM

Kawaii Kon 2005 was absolutely spectacular! It was better, and much more hectic than anyone of the staff or directors ever thought it would be. It was absolutely craziness from start to beginning. Unfortunately since I was staffing and running around crazily the most, I had NOT had a chance to enjoy many of the events and panels that took place. I skipped the opening ceremonies to get people registered, I ran the cosplay costume contests, I went through a total of over 600 floors over the course of the convention.

Elevators - The Ala Moana Hotel’s elevators were all broken. It was horrible. Out of the six, only 2 worked, and there was one that stopped on EVERY FLOOR regardless if there are buttons pushed or people waiting on those floors. Thankfully I never got into that elevator, but I heard it was pretty bad, especially since the elevators attempted to reach top-speed (and trust me, top-speed was FAST!) even if its just going to the next or previous floor. So you pretty much left pieces of your stomach on every floor. If you didn’t take the elevator, you were LUCKY.

Registration - The total attendance was almost 1900 people. That is almost 4 times more than the expected amount, which was 500. Thursday was really smooth and steady, since people were just picking up badges and registering. Friday was a little slower since most people had picked up their badges already, but there was still a waiting time and hefty lines at times. Saturday was the craziest day. That had to be the day when the most people just popped up. Probably because of the articles in both the Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin. I can’t tell you how much everyone hated Saturday. We were even under-staffed, so we had to recruit some con-goers and some other random people that we knew. Sunday we had another 350 registers, plus others who had passes from previous days. So we had quite an amount of people. We were over-staffed on Sunday. It was really busy in the morning, and continually died down as the day went on. About 2 hours before closing, we opened it all up to everyone. So no registration was needed (if you came then, you probably scored an AWESOME deal with all the $1 manga). But we pretty much broke records for a convention’s first time. It was simply amazing. We ran out of Ghost In The Shell themed bags, and the various goodies we put inside. We also ran out of badges, so we had to use tags, wrist strips, we even resorted to drawing happy faces on people’s hands and program guides. Definitely awesome. Beyond words. We had to scramble to prepare goodie bags around 3 or 4 times, because they weren’t all ready at once.

Vendors - Collector Maniacs just went crazy during the last hour or so. All DVDs were $10, and EVERY MANGA WAS $1! I decided to purchase all the Escaflowne manga that they had, so I paid $5 for 5 books (thats like $45 off). That deal was just CRAZY! I loved it. So I have like 10 manga books now, and only paid $5 for most of them. The rest were just given to me because I was staff. There were other great vendors, a few from outside of the state, so it was great to see NEW stores with NEW items. I also made sure the vendors were happy and had everything they needed. I helped out one vendor from California and he gave me some stuff. There were some real deals there. I was happy to see some local shops because it was great to see people I knew.

Promotions and Advertising - There were a lot of people that came just to meet with the organizers. I had to help out a representative from INspiration furniture, and there was another lady from another organization who I helped out. They wanted to sponsor or get connected with the event for next year, and it was really great to see that people are noticing. I know that there were stores that didn’t want to come because they thought the convention would bomb, but they so missed out on making so much money. A few vendors even canceled simply because they couldn’t make it, so I feel bad for them because the Dealer’s Room was full all the time. People shopping and looking, so these stores were getting exposure and lots of revenue. I hope they all had fun. They will all be back next year and it will just be great to see them all over again and work with them. I’ll be expecting lots of new people too so I can’t wait to work with new vendors and advertisers.

Autographs - We had around 3 additional surprise guests which was awesome. For the second day, I was just keeping the line orderly and watching. Keeping the guests entertained while they signed stuff for con-goers. It was very popular and exciting. I mean meeting these awesome people and learning about how they feel and work was just amazing. They had so much insight, and they were so fun to work with, and everyone was having a good time, and it was just breathtaking. Of course I got all the autographs I could when I didn’t have to watch the line or regulate traffic.

Staffing - The staffing experience has to be rated as one of the most exciting experiences I have ever had in my entire life. It felt so great to work for such a crowd and such awesome directors. Operations has to be THE craziest position of the convention, especially if you really are being operational. Running around, grabbing boxes and forms, yelling at people, directing traffic, rejecting people, giving information and instructions, passing out items, anything you can think of, I have probably done it over the course of the convention. There were some trouble at times, there were only 2 other people that had the most information, besides myself, so I was running around most of the time getting people prepped and ready. The founders told us that staffing a convention would be both fun, but incredibly stressful. That is such an understatement. IT WAS FUN! But it was so stressful that I almost gave up a couple of times. No one else understands the work and stress that goes into staffing a convention, especially for one that was as unpredictable as Kawaii Kon. There were some con-goers who complained about the staff not knowing anything, but you know what, I think we did really well for the first time. For people who had just learned the ropes one night earlier, it was a real success. We did the best we could, and tried to do everything as quickly and efficiently as possible.

From Around The World - There were people from China, Japan, and England, and of course from the states. It was great to see that people had scheduled their vacation to coincide with the convention. I saw different IDs from different states at registration, and I was just amazed that people came from those places just to attend the convention. Thats a lot of money, but I mean, what a more attractive place to vacation and attend a convention. Thats probably another incentive to get people from all over down here.

Cosplay - There were so many different cosplayers, from .hack//SIGN characters to Domo-kun, that it was almost ridiculous. People entered the contests, won prizes, people enjoyed taking pictures. I took a picture of Rukia (Bleach), and Revolver Ocelot (Metal Gear Solid). I got pictures of Tomoyo (Tsubasa Chronicle), and you wouldn’t believe how many Naruto characters there were. It was definitely the most popular series at the convention. Oh, even actual costumes from Kikaider and Kamen Rider were there. That was also very popular since they had awesome costumes with lights and everything. Lots of people entered the contest, so it was just really awesome. Oh, and there were cosplayers walking around Ala Moana, so it was funny to see the faces of people shopping when they saw Naruto characters running around grabbing food from Panda Express, or shopping in a store. Facial expressions were priceless.

People - I have to say that most of the people I have met were just awesome. There were lots of hot girls in great cosplay costumes. There was ‘mayumi’ who is great with artwork. I met lots of new people and made new friends, and bonds were strengthened with current ones. Absolute blast. Everyone was funny, and we didn’t have many problems with guests. Sometimes I was poked, or chased, called or hit, but it was all in good fun and I had tons of fun. I’m hoping all the conventions I staff are somewhat like this experience.

Closing Ceremony - All you have to know is that a lot of questions and suggestions were taken about the convention and the next convention. There were some announcements, lots of jokes and giving away of prizes, a last chance to get autographs and take pictures. It was really good to sit down and just enjoy one of the events, even if it was the closing ceremony. The directors also told us to stand up and take a bow. So it was really fun. I teared up after it was over. It was like saying goodbye to so many friends. I know the next one is less than a year away, but I think that sounds like a LONG time.

Dead Dog Party - Right after clean-up and breakdown on Sunday, there was a party with all the VIPs, guests, founders, staffers, and directors. It was up in the big suite and it was just awesome. There were food and games; people took pictures; signed autographs and shirts; played video games; watched anime. I just can’t believe how awesome that was. They also handed out gifts for a few of the top staffers that worked the hardest. I was one of them. Actually, the first person they called (and the longest introduction) was me. I felt so awesome, everyone yelled TIMMY and started to hug me, so I began crying ALL OVER AGAIN! It was simply awesome and I loved every moment of it. After that we all enjoyed food, some people were playing Naruto 3, and many of them were talking to each other.

Badge/Lanyard - On a quick note, I’ve been wearing my badge and lanyard around my neck for most of the convention. I barely took it off except when I slept and prepared to work. Now that I’m at home, it feels like it is still around my neck. Thats pretty weird. I feel pressure on my neck, but I know there is nothing there because the lanyard is on my door. Weird.

I cried. It was the end, and it was really stressful, but I pretty much broke down and cried because everyone and everything was just so awesome that I was sad that it went by so quickly. You wait half a year for a major convention like this, and its gone in a few days (it really felt more like 1 LONG day to me). I only got around 3-4 hours of sleep each night, and didn’t each much except for what people had. I at least had orange chicken for one lunch, but other than that it was only a small amount of snacks and lots of liquid.

The craziest thing about it is how similar it is to the normal cliche of conventions. There were lots of picture-snappy people. I mean GUYS just all asking girls to pose and do various actions so that they could take pictures. I mean if you ever wanted an example of a guy, you can point to this experience and just nod your head. It was also really crowded, so you were always usually against someone or really hot because of all the body heat. I didn’t realize there were so many people willing to cosplay. I saw all types of costumes, even people just dressed up, not really resembling anime or anything. It was exciting, and funny.

I haven’t unpacked fully or cleaned up yet. I have to find a place for my manga.

I saw a lot of people I knew; Ryan, Carl, Noland, Chris, Jamie, Kyle, Sheldon… A LOT of people. Some of them I didn’t know had an interest in anime. It was really great to see people from high school, that I hadn’t seen in a long time. I think Carl snapped a picture of me, so I hope he deleted that. I’m glad I got the chance to say hi and talk to some of them.

I’m already a shoe in for staff, so I’ll be there next year to help everyone out. Kawaii Kon 2006! There is already a confirmed guest, and its going to be even bigger. Ala Moana Hotel will be ours next year.

All the stuff I’ve written here are not all my experiences. There were so many that I just wrote about the ones that stood out. I’ve got many more stories and memories in my mind that I’ll never forget. It was simply awesome!

So I cried during this convention. Now that I’ve had time to think about it a little, it was more of a happy-crying. I was happy because I had met so many new people, and guests, and that I had learned about so many new things. It was just a blast, and something that I will never forget. We made history, and there will never ever be a ‘first’ Kawaii Kon staff ever again. I love all the staffers and directors, and all the people that helped. I really hadn’t cried for a long time, but I’m glad that the first time I cried was because I was happy, and not sad.

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