My First Otafest Aurora - Part 1

I must confess, it's been a three years since my last anime con. When I became a Calgary Events Examiner, I decided that now, I have an excuse to attend every music geek, pet geek and geeky geek event that I can squeeze into my schedule. So now, it IS my job and my duty to other geeks to go and report it! First up: Otafest Aurora. A huge thank you is in order (as well as full disclosure is required in these matters). I did purchase a general admission ticket and asked Gareth Lypka of Otafest Public Relations to let me know if anyone had a gala pass they had to get rid of. Well, one did become available and I was given a Gala Pass. どうも ありがとう ございました ("doumo arigatou gozaimashita") to the Otafest Staff for my reviewer's pass.

For those of you just tuning in, Otafest Aurora is a one-day Calgary anime convention. This year, 1,176 otaku attended the event on Saturday, November 30, 2013 at the U of C's downtown campus. That's twice as many as last year's anime con.

Otafest Aurora, formerly called "Otafest Lite" is a chibi version of the main Otafest Convention, held on the May long weekend. This is the second year that Otafest Aurora has taken place.

First Stop: The Otafest Aurora Vendor Room

When I arrived at 11 a.m., the Vendor Room was a happening place. There were 40 vendors at this year's anime con. It was a little cramped at times, so it was good to go a couple of different times.

My first stop was to say hi to Cindy, my classmate from the Calgary Japanese Language School. Her booth was extremely busy. Cindy-san said that didn't have a chance to get all her merchandise on the tables when the first wave of customers came.

I was good. Really good. I didn't buy much and I didn't break the bank. However, I did buy items that I know I'll get a lot of mileage out of.

At the Nerd Loft, I purchased a Shingeki no Kyojin Survey Corps patch. I was debating over whether to get the full set in anticipation of a SnK cosplay, but after speaking with several of the SnK cosplayers, decided that an Attack on Titan cosplay is beyond my time and abilities to put together.

I picked up a pixelated Charizard and Bulbasaur for a Christmas gift. Note to self, I must contact Chelsea Kerr of Pixel Clips to commission Volpix and Squirtle.

My biggest purchases were my Fullmetal Alchemist Watch set and my Otafest Aurora hoodie. I've wanted an FMA pocket watch for ages! It really didn't take much to convince me and the otaku after me to buy a set each. Arigatou, Random Array!

My Otafest Aurora Hoodie is so warm. It's perfect for a week like this one. Gareth said that the hoodies are American Apparel, so they are very good.

My final purchase was a fuzzy Domo-kun tote bag. A steal of a deal at $10.

Cosplay and More Cosplay

I saw some incredible cosplay throughout the day.  The fact that so many were hand made was simply incredible. These are some of the cool cosplay outfits I saw:

Magic Armor Link #2

Travelling to Japan with Jessica Roh

Jessica Roh from Anything Goes, gave an informative presentation on 10 things we need to know before we travel Japan. In actuality, her tips are good for travelling anywhere:

  1. Plan and prepare: Do your research. Ask yourself the W5 (who, what, where, when, why, how)
  2. Get immunized
  3. Be early for everything
  4. Pack less
  5. Protect your important documents
  6. Learn key phrases in Japanese (or the native tongue of your destination)
  7. Arrange for someone trustworthy to take care of things at home
  8. Pre-book your accommodation
  9. Book tours in advance
  10. Document everything

This is just Part 1. Click on the following links to check out the rest of my first Otafest Aurora experience: Part 2 of My First Otafest Aurora | My Otafest Aurora Review on | My Otafest Aurora Photo Album