Sunday, February 1, 2015

Matthew's Taiyou Con 2015 Review: Part 4 - Post-Con & Closing Thoughts

My copy of Carpe Diem packed away as we load up to leave Mesa.


By the time Ryan and I woke up, Danny was already on his flight back to Portland. During our conversations post-convention, we found out that he was on the same flight as the Guests of Honor to Seattle, making it seem that he was continuing to "stalk them from the convention center and the hotel."

Ryan's portion of the packing still to be done.
My badge on the nightstand.
We were out of the hotel and on our way back to Long Beach shortly after checking out just after 10:30am. However, we didn't leave Phoenix quite yet as we still had unfinished business over at Alice Cooper'stown and just as they opened for lunch at 11am we were there ready to devour the "Man vs Food" Bases Loaded Big Unit...which we did. At the pace that we were eating we could of easily eaten the entire thing by ourselves, something that we plan to do when we come back to Taiyou Con and/or Phoenix.

Me front of Alice Cooper'stown. (Photo Credit: Ryan Silva)
Once we hit the I-10, we needed gas before making the trek back over the desert. As we stopped in a placed called Buckeye, we saw that we were right next to a Dunkin' Donuts. None of us had Dunkin' and were waiting for the total takeover of California, so it was a good opportunity to see what we had coming. Both the coffee and donuts almost made me betray both Krispy Kreme and Starbucks at the same.

The obligatory foodie post, courtesy of my Instagram account.
Soon enough we were back into Pacific Standard Time and Orange County. The evening consisted of seeing James, Amanda, and Kathy while touring the old neighborhood. By midnight going into Tuesday, we were lights out in Long Beach.


This was the final day of travel, at least for me as Ryan had another leg from Sacramento to Medford. We spent some time on the beach, re-finding ourselves and reflecting on everything that's gone on in our lives to this point. By 11am, the 405 was below us as we made the trip back through the Central Valley up to Sacramento.

As nightfall came, we reached Elk Grove around 7pm. One of our goals was to eat at a all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant, and there was one right off the freeway right as you get into town called Oz Korean BBQ. I'm serious here, it's right off of Elk Grove Blvd, literally a minute or two off the freeway. Best known for good food, the endless K-Pop music videos that play on the big screen, and the "Beer Tower" that Ryan kept starring at, we spent more time there and ate more than I can recently recall eating there with both my family and myself.

Me getting down on the appetizers even before the meat got on the grill. (Photo Credit: Ryan Silva)
With home in sight, my focus started to turn to work the next day, processing the photos and video for this report, and helping Ryan with his first convention memorabilia frame which came out just as I expected from someone who frames just about every piece of convention memories he can get his hands on.

As the morning approached again, we had one final meal before heading over to a Walgreens to print out his wallets of the photos he took over the weekend while heading to work. Right on the intersection of 16th and X, he turned left to go west then north while I made a slight left and continued east. I had a slight tear - ok, I was full-blown crying - listening to "Never More" before reaching work.


One of the questions heading out of Taiyou Con was "could this relatively small convention that caught lightning in a bottle sustain their momentum and become an established convention within the Southwest portion of the US?" If you look at the Arizona convention scene, the only other relevant anime convention that I know of is Saboten-Con in Glendale; then there's the comic convention side of things with Phoenix Comicon leading the pack. This would leave Taiyou Con to expand on what happened this year and is primed to take on exponential growth. As this convention ended, I saw myself back at SacAnime when they moved from the Scottish Rite to the then Red Lion Inn Hotel, that point in a convention's lifespan when they turn the page and begin to evolve from what it ordinarly is to what it could be. I have full faith that this convention can capitalize on its recent success and that the high management, the staffers, the attendees, the local community, and those who are now behind this convention will come together to build it further, but unless that happens this year will only be seen as a "one-hit wonder." To be fair though, it's very hard to top the guests that they had this year - something that even the big-time conventions have a hard time doing.

We are honored that Michael and Gackto brought us into the Taiyou Con family and they've gained my full support as I love what they're doing out there. I would love to come back to future Taiyou Cons, but as I stated before in my end-of-the-year piece I can't tell that far off into the future especially as other conventions that take place in January step their game up and garner my attention.

Big thanks to all the convention staffers, the Mesa Marriott and their staff for providing us with an awesome hotel over the weekend, the city of Mesa and Phoenix as a whole for being a great city to visit, and to everyone who we hung out for the weekend - even if I got a bit annoying.

A special big thanks goes to Kawamura-san, Hirata-san, and Lotus Juice for coming out to the US. Many people said over the weekend that playing the Persona series and digging into its motifs and messages changed their lives, and I chuckled at that for a moment until realizing that I'm the same exact way but I hadn't realized that yet. Meeting the three just deepened those motifs and messages and now I can't hear any of their songs the same way again. It's one thing to see someone like Childish Gambino, Eminem, Drake, or Coldplay live, but when you get to sit down and listen to their stories and influences and ask them questions that burn the mind, it puts it at a whole other level of understanding. Once again, thank you for giving Ryan and I that opportunity.

I will end this report with the last chorus to "Memories of You:"

Mabayuku kagayaku hitotoki minna to issho datta
(At the bright and shining moment, I was together with everyone)

Kakegae no nai toki to shirazuni watashi wa sugoshite ita
(Without knowing that it was an irreplaceable time, I carried on)

Imawa tada taisetsu ni shinobuyou I will embrace the feeling
(Now I simply try to reminisce dearly, I will embrace the feeling)

 Kimi wa ne tashika ni ano toki watashi no soba ni ita
(You were definitely by my side back then)

Itsudatte itsudatte itsudatte sugu yoko de waratteita
(At all times, at all times, at all times, you were laughing right next to me)

Nakushitemo torimodosu kimi wo I will never leave you
(Even if I lose you, I’ll recover you, I will never leave you)

Thanks for all the memories that I'll cherish forever.
私のレポートを 読むためにありがとう。
Thank you for reading my report.

-Taiyou Con 2015 Report End-

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