I've returned home from Tracon 9 now.. and as a goodbye present I'm now a victim of the con flu. *cough* But let's not worry about that now, because it's time to write my summary about said event!
Tracon was held during 13-14 September 2014 in Tampere, Finland. As per usual Tampere-talo served as the Tracon buildingpre-Tracon (11-12 September)
and I hope it will always stay like that.
Now let's go!
Already on Thursday night my journey towards Tracon started. Me, Hasakitsuki and Jäätynyt Enkeli took one of the very last trains to
We had time to imagine horrific things – like missing the whole con or having to buy new train tickets and pay 120+ € per person to get to Tampere and back. Definitely wouldn't have had cash for that shit. But luckily, eventually, Jäätynyt Enkeli got in touch with mom and *le gasp* she was on her way. When she finally showed up we crammed our mountain of stuff in her car and headed for Kemi train station. I think most of us –except mom– had our hearts pounding in our throats because we were so stressed that we wouldn't make it in time; everyone knows that trains don't wait for anyone.
But yeah, we actually made it in time no problem and lo' and behold – the train wasn't even there yet! o_o We bid mom farewell and waited for the train outside. It was dark, it smelled cigarettes and a few others were around us.. but none gave con vibes. :( People seemed to stare at me because I was carrying a very long black wooden stick. I wonder why... :'DD
Ehem, in the train we made our way to the 21st cart and there –as usual– some random woman was sitting on my booked seat. THIS ALWAYS HAPPENS TO ME. 8C I just told her that it's my place and she moved no problem, luckily. xD
Nothing special really happened during the way there; we just played some PSP briefly and slept. Poorly.
Friday morning dawned and 05:35 our train arrived in Tampere. Our group of half-zombies slid our way out of the cart and into the thick morning fog. We didn't burn into crisps directly because the sun wasn't up just yet. I was happy about this because my eyes felt like crumpled raisins in the eye sockets and I was so damn tired and laggy. The realization that I'd have to put on a cosplay later on the same day felt like walking willingly into a flame pit of Mordor. Ei helvetti.
Oh well, many many hours remained before we could even get into our hotel –which opens at 16:00–
We didn't find anything for a long time. We searched and searched.. until we finally came to the conclusion that only McDonald's was open. Nothing else.
Inside there were just a few others and we took a table close to the window so that we could put some of our stuff on the "ground-level window shelf" lol. Hasakitsuki bought some bad coffee and I had one of these breakfast burger-ish things with bacon and egg on. It was surprisingly okay.
|Burger breakfast, dangnabbit!|
I have some blanks in my memory here because at some point an hour or two had passed and I have no memory that I slept very long but oh well. I remember that someone knocked on the bench and it echoed and then there was a random woman sitting there with her stuff, next to my feet. Slightly awkward. The damn knocking echoed into my ears haha. And I must say that it was painful to lie on the bench because it was so hard; I was lying on my stomach and my knees were hurting from the hard surface and sometimes I moved to my side but lolnope. Pain.
I think around twelve something Joel showed up and that's when I stopped sleeping and gathered my shit. I was still freezing and it felt like I had pee in my brain, but we all wanted to go eat something now that stores were open. Joel guided us to a shopping center called Koskikeskus and we ate at Subway (chicken teriyaki nom!) and then we went upstairs to chill. There we saw an ice cream bar that had like OVER NINETHOUSAAAAND unique ice cream flavors and of course we had to try some!
|Ice cream heaven! <3|
|There's so many...|
It was so good I'd travel the whole way to Tampere just to buy ice cream from this place, if I had the cash that is – that's telling you how awesome it was.
After enjoying our deluxe ice cream and chitchatting for a while we had finally spent enough time so that we could start to head out for Omenahotel. We quickly realized that our room was in the sixth floor and I wasn't going to take the elevator. You see, it was this old-looking cage sort of elevator that I'm shit scared of (I don't like elevators in general) and so one of us, aka Hasakitsuki, took all the suitcases in it and the rest went up the stairs of doom. The stairs of doom tried to kill me, the last two floors were horrible to get through. ;_;
It didn't take long until I received a text message from Anniilaugh saying that she was on her way. This of course meant that soon I had to magically turn myself into a samurai for our planned pre-con Rurouni Kenshin photoshoot. I swear it was hard to get the motivation – I was shit tired from the journey, exhausted and looked like crap. It felt like the hardest task ever.. until Anniilaugh knocked on the door. That's when the motivation came back. Boom, magic.
So I put on my hakama and shizz, did my makeup and changed hair color. Suddenly I actually looked presentable. But that impression didn't last long. Oh no, I was supposed to look like I'd just taken a severe beating!
|"I know we're supposed to be enemies.. but help me|
look like you just kicked my ass, mmkay?"
|Starting to look like something...|
|... aaaaand done!|
U MAD KENSHIN?
When we were shooting at the park some random guys passed us by and one shouted "terrorists!" at us. Whao, we are now terrorist samurai!! This was highly amusing. xD A congoer also told us that we still have to wait one more day for the con. :'D It was funny!
I haven't gone through the photos just yet so please bear with me; the photoshoot pictures will come in a later separate post!
EDIT: Rurouni Kenshin photoshoot posts here → part 1 & part 2
EDIT: Rurouni Kenshin photoshoot posts here → part 1 & part 2
But really, the amount of stares we got on our way there and back though, oh god. Some were staring with their eyes and mouths wide open!
We looked like warriors who were returning home after a war. It was highly amusing to watch the reactions. x)
When we passed by a food store on our way back Anniilaugh went ahead into her Omena room (which was just a few doors away from ours!) and me and Hasakitsuki went into the store to buy some night food and breakfast. It was a bit hard to walk through a narrow store with my shinsengumi flag, but I managed. Just when we had entered the store I'm sure I heard a group of people saying "makoto!", which put a smile on my lips. Yeah, it was the kanji on my flag – I had been recognized! :'D But of course people stared at me in the store too.. but luckily no one called the ambulance lol.
As soon as we were out of the food store and had crossed the street there were these two immigrant men who looked at me and shouted loudly. First a very loud "WHAT THE FUCK?!" (yeah, in English, not Finnish. The rest was in Finnish originally though) followed by "are you from Japan?". Well, at least he said Japan and not China. I didn't answer him and then his friend –I assume– answered to him: "no, it's a student." I don't even. xD What's the connection? LOL
Back at the hotel everyone slowly went to bed and I changed out of cosplay.
My alarm rang at 08:00. I wasn't amused.
I'm not gonna lie, my feelings of waking up can all be summarized into one single picture.
Okay, so it totally was the hardest thing ever to get up; it felt like my eyes were sealed shut with super glue. I just wanted to sleep all day. Just.. no way. It took me 30 minutes to even get up, everyone had at least eaten breakfast and started putting on their cosplays. Meanwhile I didn't want to part from the bed, it was my one and only love.
|Saanksmä nukkuu viel..? ;__;|
Joel was done a lot before us so he left ahead for the con. The rest of us continued our morning putting-on-cosplay rage. When –finally– all of us were done we were hungry again and had to have breakfast, part two. We then headed out of the hotel room and I didn't see it coming that we'd meet again – the Tracon curse and I.
Basically, as soon as we started making our way down the stairs I felt sudden pain in my left knee and it only got worse and worse with each step downwards. Toward the last floors it hurt so much I just wanted to jump on one leg and use my flag as a walking/support stick. But luckily when we got out of the stairs and into the street the pain receded and I could walk normally. I thought it was just a temporary derp and didn't think much more about it.. until I had to walk up stairs again and the pain returned. ;_; *insert dramatic nooo here*
Oh oh, speaking of walking on the street! When we had exited Omena and were about to cross the road towards the train station (you can take a shortcut there to Tampere-talo) a mom and her little daughter passed us by and the daughter stared at me, turned to her mom and asked in Finnish, with big eyes: "is that a doll?" xD Yeah, I'm totally a walking doll, lololo. She looked like she had just seen a magical fairytale character walk by; she had a pretty stunned face.
|Tracon main entrance.|
|Hnng, so many things I want to try!!|
|Shinsengumi panel's first slide picture that I saw.|
|Hajime Saitou from Hakuouki, aka my cosplay of the day! :D|
I started panicking and searched for my phone and goddamnit I didn't find it anywhere! The ringtone just became louder and louder and I wanted to die and sink through the floor at this very moment. I knew that my cellphone was somewhere in my kimono sleeves because I tend to carry smaller things in them but hell, I had three sleeves to go through –juban, kimono and haori sleeves– and I kept fumbling around and didn't find the fucker! Dx It felt like forever until I actually found my phone and I answered it very quickly with a stressed "I can't talk right now, bye".
After that, finally, I could focus on the panel. Which I enjoyed greatly by the way.
But now, panel pictures!
|Birth of Shinsengumi, as well as member list.|
|What series they appear in...|
|.. and more series examples.|
|Hijikata and Kondou information. |
[feat. historical versus fiction images]
|We watched a clip of the best PeaceMaker Kurogane episode, period. xD|
|Shinsengumi clothing information.|
|Strict rules are strict.|
|Okita information |
|And then we watched a clip of the Ikedaya encounter as portrayed|
in Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan anime.
|Hijikata's death poem.|
After the panel I stayed for a while to talk with the panelist, Johanna. After the panel I also spotted FankiKitsune, who had stayed as well. I handed out the give-away prize to him and then I headed out to meet up with my company.
|Part of the Dealer's Hall.|
My hurt knee kept me occasionally limping through the rest of the con and at times it was really painful to walk. Good thing I have a high pain tolerance...
We headed out to eat after this and after some "I'm not sure I want kebab" talk –at least from my side– we ended up eating at the Chinese restaurant just next to the kebab place we ate at last year.
|It quickly got renamed "Chinese Kondou's restaurant". xD|
I mean, look at that hair!
I don't remember clearly what exactly happened after the eating episode but I'm sure we went back to the con and checked around. Probably went to the Dealer's Hall again as well as outside. I must say that this year Tracon had a lot of stuff happening outside Tampere-talo! There were food stands, candy sellers and even a candy car parked next to Tracon! I was surprised, it was an awesome idea!
These market-style food stands gave the possibility to eat for those who couldn't be bothered to leave the con area (not like restaurants were far away though) and also added to a festival-ish atmosphere. It was really cool and I hope Tracon does this for the following years too!
I'm pretty sure at least two persons secretly video recorded our trio when we were walking around near the market area...
|Tracon outside area feat. food stands.|
Oh oh, I remembered a funny thing that happened! At one point we were upstairs on this one floor that had the con representation tables for other events, like Cosvision and stuff. When we were closing in on the Archipelacon table I happened to remember that Ri-kun had mentioned that they'd likely go there. I told my company about this and I promise that on the following second I was done mentioning it Ri-kun suddenly passed us by, out of nowhere. What the hell? xD Did I summon them or what?? Whatever the case it was absolutely glorious!
Before we knew it it had become late-ish, my contacts were drying in my eyes and I started to feel the tiredness kicking in. But I couldn't leave for today until I had handed over the remaining give-away prize to Minorea, who would give it forward to Tsuyami Yukihara. We had been in touch –with the power of text messages– but we didn't manage to meet until fairly late on the evening.
At some point my usual company of Jäätynyt Enkeli, Hasakitsuki and Sairu-chan were walking outside and we decided to go sit on one of the tables because of hurting feet. I ate some green tea waffles with Hasakitsuki that she had bought from the Japanese candy guy earlier. They were friggin' awesome. <3
|Green tea waffle-cookie-things! So good!|
There was a guy and a Bertholdt/Bertolt cosplayer –from Attack on Titan– sitting on the same table and they turned out to be hilarious company. xD
|Bertholdt even wanted to save space in the trash can so|
yeah, totally crammed the paper bag into the cup. xD
|tasuki!Saitou eff yeah!|
Let me tell you about it!
So, when me and Hasakitsuki were close to our hotel we passed by a side street or whatnot that basically only had bars and pubs in it. Bad idea; should have realized, I know. When we were about half-way done with passing the pub area there was this one at least middle-aged scrubby looking man standing on the side of the walking path with an old bike. Almost as if he was waiting for something. When we passed him by he started walking next to us, leading his bike with him. He soon started trying to get contact with us but he was speaking so sloppily that I didn't really understand shit of what he was saying – it didn't even sound like Finnish to me. Might have been Russian or something. It very soon became obvious that he was of the persistent and annoying kind because he didn't leave us alone and insisted on trying to get our attention. At one point he activated his speed-boost and walked ahead of us, stepped into our way and seemed to be about to put his bike on the road – in an attempt to block off our way. He seemed agitated or something because we paid him no attention. Well, I know for sure that I was annoyed at this point and wished that he would just PISS THE HELL OFF ALREADY. 8C Luckily he didn't use his bike to block the road for us but he obviously waited until we caught up and he kept calling after us and walking just next to us at all times. It was friggin' anxiety inducing and scary as shit. I kept thinking that he probably had a goddamn knife or drugs or something in his pockets; he seemed completely drunk and didn't understand any hints that we just wanted to be left alone. He was wearing this kind of dirty looking clothes too and his speech was almost impossible to understand. I was so close to yell at him to go to hell and leave us the heck alone or I'll call the police ffs. :C Such a pain in the butt, rrrraarggh!! Even when we turned to the big street and took the final steps to our hotel he kept following; he even stopped in front of the hotel's entrance and kept bothering the other people who were standing there as soon as we were out of his reach. Omena hotel has a code lock system so if you don't know the code you can't get in – life saver dangnabbit...
I overheard one of the girls of the other group later telling another one that "the drunkard was scary and harassed me!" Eeew. I should have pushed my flag pole up his arse or something, maybe then he would have gotten the idea that he was annoying beyond words... *sigh* Absolutely the most disgusting and anxiety-inducing encounter I've had. Why do I and Jäätynyt Enkeli get all the drunk guy encounters at Tampere anyway?
Oh well, at the hotel we ate our lasagne and changed out of cosplay. We started slowly packing away our stuff so that it would be easier to leave on Sunday and then we went to sleep, tired as we were. I had horrible problems falling asleep because when I was lying down every leg position hurt to hell and back. It was really bad and I just kept wincing in pain for 10+ minutes, couldn't really do much. Eventually –with the help of my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles plush pillow used as a leg support– I managed to find some position that hurt a little bit less than the others and somehow I then fell asleep...
Morning came, we were supposed to wake up at 07:00 but lolnope. At least for me it was a lolnope. I lagged around in bed again and Joel was pretty much in full cosplay before I even managed to drag myself to the table to have breakfast. xD Then again I was a bit worried about getting up in case it would hurt like piss again. It wasn't too bad though when I actually got up. Sure, I was limping around and avoided putting weight on said hurt knee but oh well, it was worse last night, by far.
Joel left before us again. And I swear that every time I thought I'd occupy the bathroom –to start putting on my contact lenses and stuff– then someone else needed to go there in like 3-2-1-NOW so I got delayed for like, forever. In other words everyone kept having constant sudden pee needs and shit needs. Including me, I had to take a crapping session at least twice on the morning, goddammit! xD
At the con we went to a corner near the men's bathroom where me and Hasakitsuki opened our suitcase to take out stuff. Ibuki had half his hair missing haha.
We closed our suitcase and then Jäätynyt Enkeli came to tell me that Sipsinekku was waiting for me close to the entrance. She had bought me a Hakuouki figure on her trip to Japan that I would pay her back at Tracon. But when I found her seemingly Jäätynyt Enkeli had already paid my part for her ('kay..?) so I just paid him instead. The figure can be seen here!
After this I went to catch up with Sairu-chan and Hasakitsuki who were taking our stuff to the checkroom ('narikka' in Finnish) for storage. While there I spotted Satu from Kandi & Cyber whom I handed out mine and Hasakitsuki's gift to – a pack of Swedish coconut chocolate balls. :D
We then headed for the Dealer's Hall because Hasakitsuki was cosplaying Hinata Hyuga from Naruto and had forgotten her newly bought headband at home. xD So she bought a new one and then I followed her outside to the Naruto cosplay group meeting, which started 13:00. I ended up acting as a photographer for their group photoshoot. When the Naruto meet was over Jäätynyt Enkeli and Sipsinekku showed up and asked me for a quick photoshoot of their Attack on Titan cosplays. I agreed because on the same roll I could get a photoshoot for my Ibuki cosplay as well!
Ibuki photoshoot pictures will come in a separate post soon! SOOOOON.
There's too many of them to put them in the con summary.
EDIT: Photoshoot post here → Ibuki Ryunosuke photoshoot
There's too many of them to put them in the con summary.
EDIT: Photoshoot post here → Ibuki Ryunosuke photoshoot
Between my own photoshoot I did a quick shooting for Hasakitsuki's Hinata cosplay. And when we were done I wanted to go and change into my Okita cosplay because the waraji felt like standing on spikes, the contacts were starting to blur my vision and Ibuki's black feet things were constantly rolling down my thighs,
But when we came back inside I was struck by the most horrible sight of them all – I saw loads of people dragging with them their suitcases and heading towards the main entrance. Could this be..? No, it can't be! D: For a moment I refused to believe that the happenings that spread around my vision field meant that one thing. I mean, I just came here! I hadn't even had time to check half the things I wanted to check! Dafuq!? But no, someone pointed at the clock for me and it felt like a slap in the face. Hard. With a saucepan. Several times.
The clock stood at 17:00 and can someone please tell me where the heck the 4 hours went?? Was there a time rift somewhere? A black hole designed to suck in seconds? D: I swear it felt like I just got started and then the con was going through its final hour. There wasn't even a point in changing cosplay anymore. :'( I would have wanted to.
So yeah, nothing we could do to stop time from running away
I still don't even know what happened and it felt like I missed most of Tracon because of a lack of time and too many things to do. I didn't even find half of the people I wanted to either meet or photograph their cosplays and neither did I find that one Sunday Hakuouki group that I was looking forward to find (and maybe join)! I didn't even get to have the photoshoot with Sairu-chan! ;_; *insert moment of despair here*
Oh oh! I don't remember exactly when this happened but during Sunday at one point I had seemingly dropped my cellphone without noticing and I only knew that it was lost after Jäätynyt Enkeli showed up with it in his hands and told me that it had been found and delivered to the information desk by someone. He found out that it was lost because he had tried to call me and someone working at the info desk had answered on my phone. I swear, if he hadn't called my phone I'm pretty sure I wouldn't even had noticed that it was missing before it was too late. Damn, that was a close one! D:
But yeah, me and Hasakitsuki changed out of cosplay and into everyday gear –except that I kept Ibuki's top jacket thingy– and we weren't done changing until a little bit after 18:00 and then we had to hurry outside. Outside near the stairs Jäätynyt Enkeli was waiting for us. We said goodbye to Tracon
Guess which one we picked?
– McDonald's, of course! :-D
No vittu ei.
Okay, seriously. We went to Subway, definitely, even though we ate there on Friday too. Not like Subway is bad though! After eating our sandwiches we headed out to have some super-mega-fabulous ice cream again. But when we came there... it was closed. :C Nooooooooooouuu...
We then went to sit randomly and I went –without the suitcases– to check around if there was something open. I ended up finding a cafeteria that sold popcorn, chips, candies etc for cinema watching. I assume there was a cinema nearby. There was also an ice cream bar, booyah!
So of course we hurried there to get some ice cream for dessert and after that we started heading for the train station because it had gotten pretty late and our train would leave at 22:11.
At the train station there were a surprisingly big amount of congoers everywhere – I remember previous years most other congoers took earlier trains and me and my company were one of the few who took the very last ones. *shrug* Oh well, at this point we all were sitting on our suitcases close to the Food Station area. Me and Hasakitsuki were thinking that we needed to buy provisions for the trip back so we headed out to scout for the Siwa that –according to Jäätynyt Enkeli– was somewhere close and should be open. We found it and bought some chocolate milkshakes, Jaffa lemonade and drinking yoghurt. When we came back the yoghurts went down our throats in a matter of minutes and it tasted like the best thing ever. At this point it was informed that our train had already arrived, even though it wouldn't leave until 30 minutes later. We were surprised and hurried up to track 2 and indeed, there it was. Hasakitsuki decided to do a second speed-run for Siwa –in the name of more yoghurt– while me and Jäätynyt Enkeli took all our stuff into the train. She came back in a few minutes and now our
|Our violet drug!|
When I got an overload of yoghurt I turned to the trusty chocolate milkshake instead. Turtles approved.
|What you mean I have horrid after-con eyebags? xD|
06:13 the following morning the train arrived at Kemi and man, I slept poorly as usual. It had gotten cold over the night and I was freezing while I had my provision breakfast.
When we stepped out of the train the cruel and cold reality hit us – it's called northern Finland and it means you need a winter jacket already. We quickly decided to go back into the train station because we didn't see mom's car waiting for us anywhere. I was shit cold and Hasakitsuki tried to rub life into my back, but it didn't really help much.
Eventually mom showed up and we went to lag at her place until she had to leave for work and could drive us home on the same run. At her place I got it confirmed that I wasn't freezing for no reason – temperature had dropped below during the night!
|DUN DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN.|
And that concludes my Tracon 2014 summary! I must say that Tracon delivered again and did it well! <3 Shame that it ended way too fast this year too. I really hope they would make Tracon into a 3-day event soon because it feels like you just don't have time to do everything you want within two days. It ends before you even get started! :< I don't understand why Finnish cons are pretty much always two days –save for Desucon– when in Sweden most cons are three days, including small conventions. Finland, please... ;_;
But all in all Tracon still stays as Finland's best convention, if you ask me. The location is amazing – a beautiful and roomy building with a lot of possibilities for both programs and photoshoots. Also Tampere-talo is in the heart of the city so everything you could possibly need isn't many steps away!
Thank you for everyone who made Tracon possible and all people who spent time with me! <3
Here's a photo video I quickly put together of cosplays I photographed at Tracon.
If you want your photo just inform me and I'll send it to you!
If you want your photo just inform me and I'll send it to you!
I'm also looking for photos of my cosplays, so if anyone has any I'd be glad if you sent 'em to valkoinensamurai[at]gmail[dot]com!
In 3... 2... 1...
And that's about it!
Shiro Samurai says bye ~