(and a fair warning for foul language ahead)
|Nippori entrance, also known as Pori's library.|
|General photo upstairs, near the entry point for the Artist's Alley.|
I didn't bother to fix or put on the rest of my cosplay because we were so short on time to check out the Artist's Alley, one of the main reasons we attended Nippori. I really needed to pee too but there was no time for that either. xD
So yeah, me and Firith went up the stairs and I guess we both were quite perplexed when we saw a big sign stating something like "queue for Artist's Alley here" – I mean, not to be that guy but that kiiiiiiinda already gave me a red flag that the location for the Artist's Alley must be pretty unoptimal if they have to limit how many people can enter at once and from what direction.
We both looked towards the corridor past the glass door and I swear my first thought was "oh no". I could already tell that this would be an unpleasant experience. I shit you not, the Artist's Alley was placed in an extremely narrow reverse U-shaped corridor with barely enough space for visitors to even move past the tables if someone stopped to look at what was being sold. This was ten times worse than Kummacon's placement last year, which also was in an U-shaped corridor but at least there was a semblance of air quality. I found myself trying to rush through the Artist's Alley's later half because I literally felt like I was running out of oxygen; it was absolutely suffocating once you passed the midpoint of the corridor and the constant bottlenecks and crowding made it unbearable (even though we were one of the last people inside as it was closing down, I dread to think how awful it must have been during the active early hours *shudders*). And as we all know some congoers have a bad habit of stopping to talk with friends in the middle of narrow passageways without paying attention to the fact that they're effectively blocking the flow of traffic and yes, Nippori wasn't exempt of this cancer either. I might be getting old and cranky but I have no patience for these kinds of people – like for the love of god almighty please move out of the way if you're gonna strike a chat with someone in a place where space is already severely limited and others are trying to get through, it's not that hard to be conscious of your surroundings and considerate of the sanity of others, is it?
|View of Artist's Alley corridor.|
We arrived a bit too late to be able to check out the other activities that the library half of the con offered – I saw for example that there was a video game room but the door was locked when I tried to open it. Of course, because it was a library, there were a lot of manga put forward that you could borrow and read and I found that very pleasant and yeah, it added to the feel of it being an anime event. There was also this, umm, I guess it was meant to be some kind of art corner or display? Whatever its purpose was I assume it was primarily for decoration and perhaps to show local talent.
While I was standing outside the library's entrance I had a very unpleasant experience. There was a group of three teenage boys who approached me and my company, handing out homemade flyers that read stuff like "have you seen this man?" with a black and white photo of an almost naked male model. I had seen these flyers scattered around inside the library and my educated guess is that this trio were not the intended target audience of the event but just delinquents who wanted to harrass "the weird colorful gays". I'm also assuming that Nippori's security guards had removed them from indoors but were powerless to banish them from the outside vicinity of the library, where they continued to disturb visitors by handing out these flyers. So yeah, I was unlucky to be targeted by this group and one of the three boys proceeded to ask me if I had seen the dude on the photo and when I answered the boy's facial expression promptly changed to visible confusion and he proceeded to ask me at least five times in a row if I'm a man and every time I told him yes in my clearly and unquestionably male voice – like what the fuck I'm not gonna give you a different answer just because you repeat the question and I pity you if your masculinity is so narrow and fragile that the mere existence of an androgynous guy in makeup and a colorful costume is a threat to your understanding of the world. Like what do you want me to do, show you my damn ID card and that little M marker on it or mess up my cosplay by not shaving my beard next time? Gtfo and don't approach me until you have amassed a deeper understanding of the complexity of individual expression, that which transcends the stifling norms your limited capacity is currently capable of processing.
Worst part is that this pissflap even asked for my photo and it was clear as day that he had no good intentions (most likely would have made fun of me) and I politely declined, although I should just have been rude at this point as he didn't deserve an ounce of my respect with how blatantly he disrespected me and made me feel uncomfortable. Even worse, I think he took a candid photo anyway. The group then left us alone for a few minutes before this same boy returned to ask me again "Are you really a man?" like for fuck's sake is your hearing comprehension as challenged as your intelligence? I hate that I was as polite to him as I was, I should just have told him to fuck the hell off but years of school-bullying and trauma have made me extremely scared of conflicts and I just shut down when suddenly thrown into uncomfortable situations.
Oh well, I can't really blame Nippori for that (although I wish security would have stepped in to handle them) as this kind of situation can literally happen anywhere and at any time. It did affect my overall mood for the worse and I didn't feel safe at the event after said incident. Who would? I'm pretty sure a lot of other congoers were also harassed by these shitbags during the day and it wouldn't surprise me if they primarily targeted people whom they perceived as female, which would make it even more disgusting as that's technically on par for sexual harrassment...
|Just proof that I was in cosplay.|
(photographer is Firith)
After some walking we arrived at Nuorisotalo and it was crammed full of people, as one would expect. It was nice to see the amount of people in costumes and fursuits though, especially considering that it's a small event. I felt like a rather notable percentage of the visitors were dressed up in some way.
|Nuorisotalo outside view.|
Now I finally got a chance to go to the bathroom for a very urgent bladder emptying and I also put on the missing parts of my cosplay and fixed up the hakama knot. We then went to check out the Artesan's tables which is similar to Artist's Alley except it's more 'official' I guess, like bigger names and sponsor merchants or something like that. I think the general difference is that artists have to apply but artesans are invited by the event? Anyway, the location of the Artesan's tables were a lot better than what the Artist's Alley got – the shopping area was located in an open space room so you actually could move around like normal and check out the tables. This was such a relief and made the browsing experience a lot more enjoyable. I could actually get in the con mood for a bit too.
|Programs and activites for the con's later half.|
I was lowkey interested by that Sephiroth panel but as I haven't played the games (yet) I didn't want to risk any spoilers and so I passed on it. In the end we didn't stay all that long at the con so we didn't watch the cosplay competition or anything. Our group mostly just vibed for a bit and did the shopping rounds. I didn't end up buying anything this time but Firith had a field day so at least it was worth it to come here lol. Oh well, window shopping is always a decently fun pastime and so is meeting friends regardless of how briefly it is. Yes, we ran into Gure. :D
|Artesan's tables area. Entrance view.|
Oh and there was apparently a cafeteria that sold food and pastries but I had a brainfart and didn't go check it out. Oh well, it's still a very nice addition and something I appreciate as a whole as it gives visitors the option of convenience – they don't have to leave the con area and go walk around in a town where they might feel unsafe because of the way they are dressed etc.
I don't know if I would visit Nippori a second time (especially because of the 600+ km distance, not really worth it for the event alone imo) unless I happen to be nearby for other reasons too. But obviously if you live close and you need to scratch that geek itch then I'd say it's a worthwhile day trip.