As with most reports, I usually start with Day Zero. But for this report, I'm starting at Day -1.
The day before Day Zero, usually called "Day -1," fell on a Tuesday. That day was the day when Ryan and Amanda would come from Oregon to Sacramento to stage before we left the morning of Day Zero.
In starting the week that would turn into "FoodieCon" (as indicated by #foodiecon), we went to L&L Hawaiian BBQ, a spot that doesn't exist in Oregon. There was also time to pick up extra food and a special something that would into play later at the convention. The rest of the Day -1 consisted of planning and resting up.
At 1:45am, we were off to Los Angeles. My parents wondered why we left so early, and my answer was that we need to check in as soon as possible. Yes, there is a standard check-in time (3:00pm for our hotel), but with most anime conventions the rooms are already ready for people to start checking in way before that 3:00pm mark. If anything, the hotel would prefer that you come as soon as possible so that they are totally overwhelmed by everyone checking in at 3:00pm.
During the drive down in the middle of darkness, we had a Daft Punk and Deadmau5 playlist on my iPhone going. By the time day broke, it was nearly 5:00am in Lost Hills, CA. A stop at the Chevron off of Highway 46 allowed me to refuel before making the eventual trek up the Grapevine.
It would take us another hour to reach the base of the Grapevine at Wheeler Ridge, which then called for breakfast at the Iron Skillet, a Denny's-type restaurant incased in a massive truckstop containing showers, laundry, a movie viewing room, and even an arcade. Here, we filmed our first video before taking the morning drive up the hill to downtown.
We arrived in Downtown Los Angeles around 9am, and just as expected the hotel allowed us to check-in with the room block. When we got into the room, it was smaller than advertised. We sat in the room wondering how to rearrange everything, playing what we coined "Room Tetris." I don't know how we did it, but we made it work.
With some time to spare before Ray and Nate would arrive in Los Angeles via MegaBus, we took the first opportunity to buy our LA Metro pass as an easier method of transportation then relying on the shuttles. With the shuttles, it was "Every 15-20 minutes" or "every 30-60 minutes" depending on the peak or non-peak hours and traffic. But with LA Metro, we knew what time we could leave and arrive; not to mention, it was faster to travel, even with transfer from the Red/Purple Line to the Blue/Expo Line.
There was highened security along the Metro with the 4th of July weekend as LA County Sherrifs were patrolling the stations armed with fully automatic rifles, Holographic sights, full tactical vests, and even bomb-sniffing dogs on the 4th. But that didn't stop them from taking a photo of myself as well as Ryan and Amanda as Miku and Kaito.
We made our first tour of Anime Expo, showing newcomer Amanda the area and points of interest. We also surveyed the line, which was expected to be huge.
We headed back to the hotel to pick up the car to pick up Nate and Ray at the Union Station Transit Plaza on the other side of the main part of the station. From there, we went off to get lunch at Philippe's The Original, a local food joint that was featured on the TV show Man vs Food. This placed was known for inventing the French Dip sandwich, at least according to the story. If we wanted to start off the convention the right way, it was by eating here. As we ate into the sandwiches and homemade sides, it was like we were eating into a part of Los Angeles food history. Then Ryan decided to go crazy with the Hot Mustard, putting it on everything that he was eating. We had a great time, and we would defiantely come back if we come back to next year's Anime Expo, or just in general if we're ever in the area.
The five of us came back to the hotel to settle in. We wanted to pick up our badges but we waited on two more people, Hillary and Alex, that were going to stay in the room. However, things got complicated and we reached a point where we had to go get our badges now and those two would have to wait until the morning.
As we all picked up badges from the "Press/Industry" booth, Drake's "Started From The Bottom" came to mind. At some point, we all started from the bottom and now we're at this high point of pressing at Anime Expo.
With all of our badges picked up, we went back to greet the two that had just arrived. We were all settled in and ready for the Day One. We had dinner plans but instead ate with whatever food we brought with us.
-Day Zero End-