Summer Vacation – The Weeb Part (上)

Summer vacation has come and gone way too quickly for me to have fully enjoyed it. The break itself was for a total of 6 days, from the 11th to the 16th. The first day, on Friday, was 山の日. Fortunately, it was also the first day of the famous Tokyo Comic Market (comiket 92).

Comic market was something extremely bizarre, when compared to our conventions in Vancouver. While our conventions are both tailored to an audience of people who love watching anime, it seems like comiket is designed for people to buy and sell derivative or original works. There are no guests, and there are no events or panels; for three days, the halls are filled with vendors who are selling a wide variety of goods. Tables are given to people for only one day, however some circles seemed to be lucky enough to have them on multiple days. Also, unlike our conventions, there is a lot of R18 material on sale.

Each day is divided into categories. The first day this year was oriented towards a general audience, with a slight leaning towards men with the largest categories being Touhou Project and Kantai Collection. Needless to say, I was extremely overwhelmed by the sheer number of people and the efficiency of the operation. They forbid people from lining up starting the night before. Even so, there are plenty of people who catch the first train to begin their quest.
When I arrived, the time was already 11:30. The market opens at 10:00, so it was still quite early in the day for the vendors. Despite this fact, I noticed that there were already tables that were packed up because they had sold out already. At the end of the day, I only managed to pick up a few doujins that caught my eye. While initially feeling very price-sensitive, that feeling disappeared as the days gone by. On the first day, I had probably spent $30-40 in total; a trivial amount compared to what others spent.

One tradition that was quaint was the clapping at the beginning and end of each day. It’s a simple tradition that thanks everyone at the event for their time and hard work.

The second day is geared towards a female audience. In the end, I managed to find some Girls und Panzer doujinshi to read, but I can’t say much about this day. I mostly spent the day with a new-found friend, one of the people who lives in the same apartment as I do.
The last day is definitely the stuff of legends. I had thought that there was quite a bit of porn on the other days, but this was absolute degeneracy (and I loved it). The final day is simply 男性向け, which translates to “targeted at men”. This was the busiest, most competitive day, with some of the lineups I have ever seen in my life. There’s an interesting system comiket uses for line-ups. Whenever there’s a line, there’s a sign that is passed down to the last person with the words 最後尾. Whenever someone joins a new line, they take the sign from the person ahead of them. People form gigantic lineups outside the building due to the lack of space and the impossible-to-deal-with traffic that would result in lines all over the place. Whenever a group could finally go to the table, an organizers indicates the start and end of the group of people, everyone puts up their hand, and they move together to their destination.
I left a little early on Sunday. That evening, I took the Shinkansen to Kyoto, where I spent the rest of my vacation. I’ll probably write about that sometime later.

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