Sakura-Con 2009

This was a pretty damn good weekend, minus the lines. Border, registration, dealers room, autographs, etc. Hooray for lines! Here’s Sakura-Con 2009.

Thursday, April 9th
I left Thursday afternoon right after work to pick up a friend of mine before heading down to Seattle. Since it was a holiday long weekend, everyone decided to abandon Canada for the United States, so this means the border crossings would be packed. Being smart, I decided to listen to the radio for the border wait times, and seeing that Peace Arch and Pacific Highway were all in excess of an hour and Aldergrove was twenty minutes, it was decided to take Aldergrove across into Washington state.
Turned out to be almost an hour and a half at the Aldergrove crossing as people kept driving down the shoulder or cutting in from Zero Avenue so those who’d patiently waited in coming down the hill to the crossing had to wait twice as long as those sneak in. And because I’m an asshole, I decided to just not be nice and let anyone try and get in front of me.
But we got through the crossing pretty quickly (and the US Customs and Border Protection officer knew about Sakura-Con, unlike last year) and by 6:00 pm, we were at Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham.

Sakura-con
Sakura-con

After a bathroom break, quick shopping, and some cheap food, it was back to the I5 and down to Seattle. The drive was nice, it wasn’t raining, traffic was light, and any traffic congestion around Everett and the outskirts of Seattle was nil. As I learned later on, there were a few people from BC who decided to follow the car since the stickers on it are a dead giveaway of where we’re going.

We made into Seattle just after 8:00 pm and found the hotel easily, considering I stayed at the same place last year. So, me and my friend unloaded our stuff, checked in, and then headed up to the Washington State Convention and Trade Center to claim our badges. Since we pre-registered, we could pick them up on Thursday between 3:00 pm and 9:00 pm. Made it there at 8:45 pm and joined the line for the badges. It was lucky for us seeing as the staff were closing the doors.

Friday, April 10th
The first actual day of the convention, Friday was going to be interesting. I only brought one costume and that was of Naruto, complete with the wig this time. Because of my long hair, it took me half an hour fighting with the hair net and then making sure that I was completely blond.
We made our way up to the convention centre and this time, there were more people in costumes milling around. A few non-con goers stopped and asked if they could take my picture, so I posed in a classic Naruto stance while trying to pull off a failed jutsu. Ah good stuff.

Naruto and Pedobear
Naruto and Pedobear

I had my camera out and started taking pictures of just about anyone in cosplay, and there were some really good ensembles walking around. Lots of Akatsuki cloaks from Naruto, Soul Society members from Bleach, Organization XIII troops from Kingdom Hearts, and much more. A few blond-haired variants of Naruto (aside from myself) made appearances.
Checked out artists alley and perused the many different styles offered by budding artisans. Lots of good stuff and it was just outside registration, so it was pretty hectic with people coming and going.
The exhibition hall didn’t open until 12:00 noon, and there was a line snaking opposite of the registration line up. When the hall opened, there was just so much available in there. The exhibition hall has pretty much everything —  from figures, to keychains to shirts, costumes, DVDs, swords, and so much more. Of course, I picked up a few shirts for myself, some yaoi doujinshi (I’m terrible), and a couple of gifts for some other friends. I wanted to see if there were any Get Backers or Fate/stay night keychains or stuff like that, but I wasn’t fortunate to find any.
As the day wore on, I kept wandering around, taking more pictures and getting hugs from random people (you learn not to freak out when girls squeal and then try and glomp you).
Me and a friend then wandered out to Westlake Center for an early afternoon dinner, but not before I got cornered by a group of high school students who recorded me for a project they were doing about the word “ghetto”, it’s definition, who would be considered ghetto, stuff like that. Damn this orange jacket and bright yellow hair for grabbing people’s attention!

Saturday, April 11th
Again Naruto would return to the convention, this time with a few things to see and do. The morning for the most part was uneventful, aside from the usual picture taking and random hugs. We went into the Main Stage for the Cosplay Contest, where one of the girls I met at Kumoricon last year, was going to perform a skit on YuYu Hakusho. It was pretty good and I caught it on tape, so I’ll have to post that up later.
About maybe half-way through the contest, I started getting hungry, so I exited and went to the Subway by the escalators for some lunch. I came back to the stage, and after I sat down and started eating, Roy from Fire Emblem appeared on stage. AUGH! And it didn’t help that my camera was in my bag, so I missed him. Now I had a new goal: find Roy and get his picture (and maybe a hug too).
I met up with a few more friends and we decided to make a trek down to Pike Place Market and visit the original Starbucks. During the walk, I pulled out the camcorder and started recording various peoples reactions to seeing this “weirdo” with an orange jacket and blond wig wandering through the crowds. It was pretty damn hilarious, and more than a few times people would stop me for pictures or shout out “NARUTO!!” As like the previous year, the baristas at Starbucks knew who I was, and this time I ordered my drink Ninja-style (don’t ask me how).

Aaron Dismuke
Aaron Dismuke

Back at the convention centre, I wandered around some more and still wasn’t able to track down Roy (I found a Marth instead), but by then it was almost 5:00 pm. This meant I had to get my ass in line for an autograph from Aaron Dismuke, the voice actor for Alphonse Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist. I waited in line for almost an hour and a half before I could get my DVD cover signed by him, but it was worth the wait!
I met up with the rest of our group later on for dinner before retiring for the night.

Sunday, April 12th
The last day of the convention. I slept in, and since I had to pack everything up, I didn’t dress up in costume. It was a relief not being able to overheat under that jacket. We managed to pack everything and everyone into the small car (I still don’t know how we did that). We checked out the con for the last time, perusing the exhibition hall and artists alley, before I bought some Sakura-Con stickers. Then it was into the car, onto the I-5 and back towards Canada.

Sakura-Con 2009 was pretty damn fun this time around. Lets see if Anime Central 2009 can beat it! Photos are available here.

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