San Japan was held in San Antonio Labor Day weekend, which fell on September 2-4. Well, it was held the weekend before Labor day but it didn’t extend into Labor day. San Japan doesn’t really have a banner with their logo (except for the really tall one), so I just pulled something from their website. Their actual banner that wouldn’t really work as my headerimage is this one:
After doing A-Kon, I already had a pretty high bar for Texas conventions but this one was almost equally amazing! They were so well organized, sales were great, and attendees were so incredibly friendly. Now that I’m attending so many large cons, I’m starting to see repeat artists which is really neat. There were a few things in AA I really wanted to pick up, but I never got the chance because Mags was at the smash tournament (he got 2nd place but still won like $250 or something?!) for most of the weekend or playing smash. I didn’t mind too much because yay he won! And he had a lot of fun and got some valuable experience, considering how strong this region is. Anyways, normally I would get a little lonely or bored but I met some awesome people at San Japan. My neighbor on the right in particular (her name is Linda) was so friendly and I really clicked with her so I chatted with her all weekend long. This was my first convention that I started playing music, so it was fun listening to my own personal playlist which was a mixture of jpop, kpop, and some edm. Linda and I had a lot in common, too, and her art was amazing so we ended up doing art trades. ^__^ Follow her stuff here! I have one of her Love Live prints currently on my wall and I admire it every time I see it. 🙂 My neighbors on the left were also soooo friendly! They were a group of 3 iirc. They had so many cute charms and other merch but I forgot to trade with them!! So sad. I hope I run into them next year if we go to SJ!
Anyways, the actual venue was very spacious. Maybe a bit too spacious? Only half of the building was actually used, I believe. But the half that was used was very full! I think the other half wasn’t used because apparently there was some sort of event that was supposed to happen there alongside SJ but due to issues, it got unexpectedly cancelled. We originally entered the wrong entrance because I was a bit confused, but after the long walk down the hall, we found check in for artists and everything was very smooth. We went directly to the convention center from the airport to check in and drop off our things so we didn’t have to lug it back and forth from our Airbnb. The airbnb we chose was incredibly confusing to get to at first because the road’s name was also under the same name of the interstate it ran alongside. >_> Our hosts tried their best to help us and finally we managed to find it! It was a shared house and we were renting a few rooms there so when we got in, the house was HOT. The air conditioning for the common areas was typically turned off when no one was there, so because it was just our group, we had to wait up for our rooms to cool down. Also!! Delta ended up losing our stand so we had such a huge fiasco with getting it back. It ended up arriving around 2AM and the delivery person also had trouble finding us. I was too stressed to handle it, so Mags did it for me. =_=;; So when we originally went to the con the first time for set up, we organized everything and prepped so that all we’d have to do was tack everything onto the stand.
When we arrived the morning of the first day, we also realized that I had left out a few prints from our display because we had to pick it up at the UPS inside the con. The only problem was… THEY WERE CLOSED?! Their holiday hours listed they would open 1 hour before the convention opened but there was no one there until like 2pm?! So the first few hours, we didn’t have our newest prints available. By this point, I was so frustrated but I got over it. Things like this happen all the time but all I can do is either just fix and or be patient until I can fix it!
So I did mention that sales were good here, but man were they great! I was so busy all weekend long. Mags actually has a HUGE fanbase so all weekend long when he was at the tournament, I got bombarded with his fans asking where he was or if I was him. I had to repeatedly tell them no but he’d be here later to sign stuff. So many people asked for his autograph, it was really cute. Linda even commented that he was so popular because he had so many people asking for him! Yay, that makes me really happy!!
Cosplays here were really nice! I had such a great time chatting with attendees and admiring cosplays. Even though I was so incredibly busy all weekend long, I managed to take a lot of pictures.
So many cosplays!! And that Kancolle group.. I was so sad I didn’t cosplay as Iku that day. T___T HUHUHUHU it would’ve been so cute! I was chatting with them and they told me that their Iku had backed out that weekend cuz she got sick or something. ;( Oh well, maybe some other time!
Food in San Antonio was really good! We didn’t eat much at the con, but we did try out a lot of places. There was this little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant about a 15 minute walk from our Airbnb that we decided to go to. It doesn’t look appetizing in pictures, but it was delicious! First authentic Mexican food experience I’ve had.
We also explored a little bit of San Antonio! We didn’t go see the Alamo but we did go to the zoo and Tower of Americas. The zoo was small but very fun! They had this adorable butterfly exhibit and I know butterflies are especially dear to Mags, we had a lot of fun just playing in a garden full of hundreds of butterflies everywhere. I have never seen so many butterflies and didn’t realize how aggressive or big they can get. Some would be zooming by my face and I’d duck each time because I was so terrified it was going to attack me. Lol. My friends were actually holding some and petting their wings, but I was too scared!! The staff member their even spent a few minutes trying to calm one down enough to have it crawl onto my arm but as it got closer, I shrieked and couldn’t handle it. I felt bad because I must have scared it off, but that thing was bigger than my hand! I’m not even exaggerating, the wingspan of some of them were larger than my face.
The view from the Tower of Americas was breathtaking! We got there for happy hour because the food was supposedly really good and cheap but stayed and just watched anime for like 2 hours. Lol. We continually ordered food, though! So it’s not like we just ordered a few things and stayed there for several hours. Here was the progression of our view throughout the day:
So lovely! We stayed at the bar but apparently if you sit at the tables which were on the floor below, they continually rotate so you get a full view of the city. It’s especially beautiful at night! I bet it would be a great place to go on a date.
We also spent a day shopping at the mall where I got my cute backpack that I use a lot now! The mall was also having several exhibits throughout showing various US landmarks or buildings with legos. It was really awesome! It was only there for a short period of time, so I was happy I got to see them.
If you look hard, you see the Lincoln memorial inside too! It was so detailed, you really had to see it in person to appreciate how cool they looked. This was also where I tried the Cheesecake Factory for the first time. The pasta I got was really good and but I ended up being so full that I couldn’t eat any cheesecake.. Sigh. I would’ve bought some to go, but I think I forgot or got lazy? Or something. Maybe I didn’t feel like holding it because I wanted to browse the mall and then got lazy to pick it up before we left. Lol.
Well, that about sums up my trip to San Antonio for San Japan. I’m really happy I started writing up these posts because it really puts into perspective how inexperienced I was in the beginning. Looking back at my impressions for the earlier cons, I think I would’ve been really angry or upset if I had a repeat experience. I suppose each event we are continually doing better and better so what I considered “amazing sales” earlier this year or last year would’ve been abysmal or probably not worth it to return. But because I’m experimenting a lot more and am pulling in a lot more clients to work with, I learn from each event and everything is just getting better and better. I’m curious about when I’ll reach the point that we’ll move from the artist alley to the dealer’s room. I feel like that point is coming soon, too! I feel very blessed and happy with how things are going for myself and the artists I’ve been working with. I feel especially thankful for the friends I’ve made within the last 1.5 years. I know I still have 1 more con to write up my thoughts on for 2016, but it’s currently 2017 and I feel very content with how this year is going and look forward to a successful year! ❤