Anime Expo, located in scenic Los Angeles. For many, it's the con that one just has to attend at least once. I've been wanting to go since 2007, and only this year was I able to finally realize my dream, in addition to also meeting several of my online friends and getting to know the SoCal cosplay scene. The rest of the CCB crew and I made plans to pool together money for a hotel room and spend not just the five days the convention spanned, but also a couple extra to take advantage of our times in SoCal.
One of the most stressful parts of cons is, of course, packing for it. Making sure you don't forget any vital belongings, realizing your luggage is at its breaking point and having to play a little luggage Tetris just to fit everything in, and in the case of those taking public transit to get there, luggage restrictions.
My bus ride would last about 7 hours, so I took advantage of this by packing all night with the intention of just sleeping on the bus. I wanted to be in some sort of cosplay, so I put on my Yukiteru cosplay. (Yes I know, three layers in what would soon be hot weather.)
So I arrive at the San Jose Diridon Station around 6:45 AM, with Nate arriving shortly thereafter, and find that there are a few others in line who are obviously going to AX: people carrying props, people already in cosplay, people talking about the con itself, etc.
We agreed to take the top floor and sit as together as possible. While some of us had to move to more distant parts of the bus since there were already people on the bus (most likely those who boarded in San Francisco).
The trip was a good 6-7 hours or so, and I spent most of my time passed out, looking at the nonexistent scenery, and/or listening to The Tale of ALLTYNEX soundtracks. We did make one stop, somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
We arrived in LA around noon or so. I had hoped to keep in touch with those fellow congoers but that ended up not being the case.
Nate and I got picked up by Matt, who had driven all the way from Sacramento with Ryan and Amanda. Before going to the con or even our hotel, we made a stop over at a restaurant called Philippe the Original, which is known for (apparently) inventing the French Dip sandwich, as well as being a good 100+ years old. The portions were a bit small, but still enjoyable.
Matt then took us through downtown LA to our hotel, the Kawada Hotel. Though a little small, we were able to work with the room to make it accomodate all 7 of the room crew.
We then took a tour of our means of getting to AX: The LA Metro. Rather than deal with the relatively sluggish (at least going to the con) shuttle, we instead opted to pay $21 each for a one-week pass for the metro. To get to the convention center, all that was needed was to take the Red or Purple Line from Civic Center to 7th/Metro (2 stops), then transfer to the Blue or Expo Line and take that to Pico (1 stop).
Though we didn't go to the con center just yet; instead, we exited the 7th/Metro station and walked over to Target, where we grabbed a few supplies before going back to our hotel room.
Thanks to some outside circumstances, it would be a while before our next 2 roommates, Hilly and Alex, would show up so we could all go together for pre-reg, so instead we passed the time by playing games on Ryan's PS3 and eating some food, including the sandwich thins and meat I had brought with me. Eventually we went over to the con center anyway, passing by the large Girls und Panzer model tank as we reached the entrance.
For us on the press team, registration didn't take very long. We got our badges, then I went around trying to take in my surroundings. I tried to meet up with a few friends, but before I could do so I was called back to the room to meet my other two roommates.
There wasn't much else to do and I was sleepy anyway so we all went to sleep not too long afterwards.