Friday, July 19, 2013

Matthew's Anime Expo 2013 Report: Part 7 - Days Five & Six

If you weren't checking out yesterday, you were checking out today to beat out the last day of the convention rush out of the hotel. But we were staying an extra day and checking out on Tuesday. We wanted to hit up some places and see family before taking off the next day.

Day Five

Initially, our plan was to film our convention thoughts at the hotel. But since our passes were still good until the day after, we decided to head back to the convention center to do our filming. Except for a few booths and banners inside, the entire convention center was gutted of anything Anime Expo - the panzer, banners, all gone.

During our filming, we realized that we could go inside. After we were done, we explored the convention center the day after Anime Expo. It was a complete opposite of yesterday where the convention center was completely dead sans a few workers cleaning up the mess. We made comparisions to the PS3 video game The Last of Us as we walked the entire length of the convention floor. It was a nice to walk the floors without having attendees crowding you on each side.

Then we were off to Little Tokyo for lunch at Orochon Ramen where a year ago Ryan completed the #2 Challenge. His picture was put into an album so it wasn't on the wall to look at; we were able to see Adam Richman's photo, which has its own special section and frame. We also went to check out the renovated Anime Jungle before heading out to Rowland Heights.

While Ryan knows the OC, I know this area more than anyone else. I have a lot of family that live out here and I know my way around here even when I wasn't driving. Our first stop was Round 1, a bowling alley, karaoke lounge, and arcade that I've been wanting to go to since my first visit in 2011. One of my goals was to start my Initial D Arcade Stage 7 AAX career, but they didn't have any cards in the system or on sale at the desk. I was able to bring back my Maximum Tune 3DX+ career and play against a couple of people including Ray. I first met him when he was known as "gs68" back when MT was popular in the late 2000s. I also tried out some new games that I haven't seen before.

Our second and final stop was at Manila Bay Seafood Broiler in Chino Hills. I wanted to meet up with whatever family was available, and my uncle and aunts came out to have dinner with us. We ate up classic Filipino dishes I haven't had in years as well as tasty seafood. It kind of reminded me of a combination of Boiling Crab and South Villa here in Sacramento. I think the one person that was really enjoying this was Ryan who consider that night to be "All Filipinos go to food heaven." Then again, I don't think he's gotten that much good food where he lives.

After the drive back to the hotel, we packed up and got ready to leave tomorrow.

Day Six

The morning of Day Six indicated our last few hours before we would leave Los Angeles. Ryan, Amanda, and I had a long drive back up to Sacramento while Nate and Ray took the round trip back home via the MegaBus. Ray and Nate were going to get something to eat before heading to the transit plaza at Union Station, and we took off shortly after 11am.

Once over the Grapevine, I fueled up the car as well as the remaining crew at In-N-Out. On the way back, I realized that I was getting ripped off. The two gas stations that I filled up was $4.37 at Lost Hills and $4.47 at the Grapevine compared to Buttonwillow, the next major exit after Lost Hills, that went for $4.19 and $3.99 back in Sacramento the day after I arrived back home.

We made a stop in Kettleman City since we were running low on water. As we pulled out of the Shell, we saw that a MegaBus had stopped at the adjacent Chevron and McDonalds. We thought "is that the bus that Nate and Ray are on?" So I called them and found out that they had in fact stopped in Kettleman City at a McDonalds. We parked the car next door and reunited with the two as the bus made a lunch stop. We told of our drives for the time that we had before the bus took off again, and shortly enough all of us were back on the road.

After a couple of stops and grabbing something to eat back in Sacramento, we were finally back to the place I called home. We also stopped by an Aaron Brothers, a traditional stop when I pick up frames to hang signed merchandise. Since the towel was longer than the standard lengths that were available, I inquired about custom framing. They came back with a quote of $250 to $500 depending on the quality of the frame; that also came with a personalized plate that, if the price was right, I wanted to commerate Porno Graffiti's first overseas performance. I did get one later on; I had to fold part of the towel, but at least you get to see the other side as well as the autograph.

After a good night's rest, Ryan and Amanda took off back for Oregon on Wednesday while I went back to work. For a 162.25 hour marathon at Anime Expo, I found it refreshing to be back at work.

-Days Five and Six End-

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