Friday, July 12, 2019

Matthew's FanimeCon 2019 Report: Part 2 - Day Zero

Unlike last year, this year's FanimeCon started with an more familiar scene: someone driving in the day before (which was Ryan this time around), then driving down to San Francisco and the Bay Area and enjoying a day out there before heading down to San Jose to check in, pick everything up that we need, and settle in.

The drive over the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge [Photo Credit: Ryan Silva]
Downtown San Francisco [Photo Credit: Ryan Silva]
Japantown [Photo Credit: Ryan Silva]
One place that we haven't been to in at least a year was Japantown. We were there to pick something unique up for one of Ryan's friends back in Oregon, something that was promised but was never delivered on. We did get some water since we were both thirsty but didn't make any other major purchases since we were saving for the convention. Also note to self: make your pulls for SR ships in Azur Lane at Kinokuniya.

Back on the road, we head down the 101 past San Francisco International and into Silicon Valley, home of tech giants like Google and Facebook. But somewhere along the way, we went off the 101 - University Ave to be precise - to cut through the nearly multi-million homes of Palo Alto towards the main campus of Stanford University and to one place that we've been craving for a long time:

Shake Shack.

The front of the Shake Shack in Palo Alto
I had heard about this chain since it had opened here, in Larkspur where Tom lives, in Los Angeles near Anime Expo, and in Santa Monica. The pricing was high, making it more comparable to Five Guys and less In-N-Out. But between having a burger with a portobello mushroom stuff with cheese and frozen custard blended with a blueberry lemon pie, it was a good way to start off FanimeCon 2019.

Our entire order at Shake Shack
The remainder of the trip down to San Jose was on the more familiar 280 since I know where to exit to get to the convention center. Once we made that turn onto West San Carlos and seeing that 25th Anniversary banner strung across the convention center, I realized that this convention was going to be a special one and that "THEY ACTUALLY PUT A BANNER UP."

The banner from the Idea Tree
Check-in at the Marriott seemed standard fare, which was good because based on my financial calculations the entire room plus incidentals were covered for. But better news came cross the way when we found out that we had a corner room that looked out towards the park and that the room next to us was a suite held by a good acquaintance and his friends - and we got to know them early and often throughout the convention.

Our view from the 9th floor
After getting our stuff in, it was time to go pick up Ray in nearby Santa Clara and make our obligatory grocery store run. Once we organized everything and iced the necessities, we headed down to pick up our press badges before heading over Swap Meet but didn't stick around as long as we wanted to; we were, however, able to hand stuff over to Nate who was selling over the next two days for him to sell and get extra spending money for the convention. Then we realized that we had under bought some "supplies" now that we knew who our roommates were, so we made another run to stock up for the weekend.

A rotating FanimeCon banner [Photo Credit: Ryan Silva]
It was time for a late dinner at a FanimeCon staple: Iguanas Burritozilla. Yes, the same 5 pound, 18 inch monster of a burrito that I tried as a 1/3 five years ago and was on Ryan's bucket list to eat. This time around, we halved that behemoth in the second half of starting off FanimeCon 2019.

No regrets
They sure do love us
We round out the night by watching the early birds play at the free-play arcade and experience Maimai, which I call "that washing machine rhythm game."

The banner in front of the convention center (at night)
-Day Zero End-

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