August 18, 2015

Nerdcon 2015 – Sumo judge, nerdiness and so much sushi!

Hello all fellow nerds! :D

I'm back home from Nerdcon in Umeå and I must say that this was one of my funniest con experiences this year! I really had a blast!
Nerdcon may be small and rather new, but that doesn't mean that it can't be a great convention!
So, before I kick this summary up I'll just say some basic information about Nerdcon first – it's a convention in Umeå, Sweden, that was held on 14-15th August. Nerdcon is a mixed convention in the sense that it's not solely about anime and manga; Nerdcon puts focus on board games, video gamers and Western fandoms too. There is a little bit of everything!

I traveled to Nerdcon with my fellow company Sacchan, Jäätynyt Enkeli, Hasakitsuki and with our good friend Marcus! Marcus hadn't been to any conventions in, like, forever, but we managed to get him to tag along after some preparations and planning! :')
We left for Umeå super early on Friday morning, aka the same day Nerdcon would start. I think we woke up around 4 in the morning and everyone were in Sacchan's white Renault before the clock had struck five. Yes, Sacchan was a sweetheart and decided to drive us all to Nerdcon (she fairly recently got her driving license) instead of everyone taking the bus together, which would have been more expensive for everyone and, especially, to Marcus who is short on moolah.
The drive to Nerdcon went fine; I slept, we talked a lot of shit and pulled silly jokes and such, it was fun lol.
We got to Umeå a little bit before eleven I think, which was a good time because the con would open its doors at twelve, but those who were volunteers could get in one hour earlier. Everyone of us except Sacchan were volunteers and two of us had their shifts starting at twelve, so it was a good thing that we didn't get lost along the way we actually had calculated the time for driving right and arrived in good time.

The entrance to Nerdcon!
Note: the black sign reads "Umeå's music school".
Last year Nerdcon was held in a small school building in the middle of centrum that was quite narrow to move in, while also retaining a weirdly comfy feeling (despite the lack of windows xD) – but this year they expanded and moved to Midgårdsskolan a bit outside centrum, in Regementsområdet. I would say that it was a great change as Midgårdsskolan is absolutely awesome for a growing convention! Midgårdsskolan is an art & music school so it kinda is like, well, that kind of schools are, aka filled with creativity and a very pleasant free-spirited atmosphere.

We all went inside and, yes, did it look like a school building inside – a very fresh, lit up and inviting one!

Nerdcon entrance/information counter.
At the information counter they told us that there was some issues with the ticket system so only volunteers could get inside for now. We were a bit early anyway so at least I expected that everything wouldn't be up and running smoothly just yet, but it was no issue.
I had printed out my volunteer paper proof thingy and showed it. I then got a pastel pink & blue fabric con ticket on my wrist and a volunteer badge to hang from my neck, woop!

Nerdcon con ticket. It's cute!
The volunteer badge. Inside the plastic holder were also 4 food tickets,
to the cafeteria, with a worth of 50 SEK each.
Our group were some of the first to enter the building and it looked all clean and... empty, haha. It felt weird to be so early at a con!
My first impression of the con building was really positive and I instantly found myself hoping that Nerdcon would stay here the coming years!

The view you were met with right after you had passed the entrance/info
desk. The stairs led to the second floor, aka where the merchandise room,
video game rooms and board game rooms were.
I found a few guys (security guys if I recall right) standing in a corridor and asked where the bathrooms were. They told me to go past the cafeteria and turn to the left. The corridor these guys were standing in had toilets too, but these had a sign on them reading "personal toalett", aka normally reserved for those working in the building, like teachers etc. I didn't want to risk it so I just followed the directions I was given instead. xD The toilets were easy to find but oh boy did they feel narrow when I entered with all my bags! lol

The cafeteria area.
The Ginga corner (for fans of the Ginga Nagareboshi Gin series) was present,
just next to the cafeteria.
I changed from my traveling wear to some more fancy alternative outfit instead – I wore a black & white fabulous dress shirt, a dark blue vest, a multi-colored fluffy wig, circle lenses and white hakama. Oh, and I had a face mask!

The cafeteria.
It was run by the usual school cafeteria workers (I assume)
and not Nerdcon itself. That's the reason I couldn't work in the
cafeteria this year, because Nerdcon informed me late that they weren't
in charge of it, even though at first it was a possible
working area choice. Oh wells ~
Just the cafeteria's price list, in case anyone wonders what
food options there were. x)
Nerdcon had made sure that the cafeteria would sell Ramune, which
was awesome. Sure that it cost 35 SEK per bottle (compared to 20 SEK when
Nerdcon sold it themselves last year) but it was still appreciated.
I noticed quite early that Nerdcon seemed to have quite many volunteers (I kept seeing people with the badges!), which I think is a good thing because then at least things should run smoothly more easily. :') Compared to the super big and popular Närcon who has way too few volunteers and it fucks up so many things...

Oh and yeah! The Friday was really warm, especially outside. I was sweating like a sinner in church... or something.
I hadn't quite expected it to be this steaming hot in mid-August. OTL

Nerdcon outside area. Such a comfy school surrounding!
There were benches just outside so you could go out at any time
to enjoy the nice weather. There was a door leading outside from
the cafeteria which was always open (during con time) and a nice
shortcut to get to the main outside area.
Nerdcon offered sumo wrestling fun for everyone! :'D
And this was were I later ended up spending most of my time working...
My working shift was to start at 16:00 and I would work for 4 hours each day, which meant that on Friday my shift ended 20:00. Jäätynyt Enkeli and Hasakitsuki had the shift just before me and Marcus worked at the same time as me. I worked with "Aktivitetskontrollant och medhjälpare", which translates to something like "activity controller and assistant". My working duties were to do stuff like helping people who were lost and didn't find their way to whatever place, to check that everything was working in the anime and gaming rooms, help with competitions and other activities etc.

Schedule of everything that happened during the con.
Open in full-size to read!
While my shift hadn't started I just walked around and checked everything that there was to offer; I found the merchandise room, which had at least one seller that I recognized from Skecon. I didn't buy anything because I didn't really find anything that interested me.. but I did spend a while looking through the stuff.

One of the sellers in the merchandise rooms also carried Ramune (cheaper
than the cafeteria had but not cold) along with Pocky and some other sweets.
Most sellers sold the usual con stuff that I've seen so many times before and lost interest in. There was a book shelf with manga (second-hand I assume), older video games and such that was actually cool – there was even the Japanese Gamecube version of Tales of Symphonia!

Random con merchandise.
All along I wondered what that Monster Hunter thingy was.. I couldn't figure it out.
This seller had some stuff I hadn't seen before, including a shitlot of wigs.
There were these "books" with all the wigs that she was selling being
documented with pics, price and description. It was really nice!
I didn't buy anything though because I figured I could get the same kind
of wigs cheaper, just buying them myself straight from eBay...
T-shirts and figurines.
The "sword guy". He was at Skecon and I'm pretty sure he was at
Närcon too...
When my working shift was about to start I headed for the information desk at the entrance, 15 min before 16:00. One of the organizer/arranger guys showed up and asked me and Marcus which one of us felt like sumo wrestling; I eagerly waved my hand and got to follow him outside. There he just told me what to do, went through the sumo rules and most of the remainder of Friday I spent helping him run the sumo wrestling. xD I don't complain, it was super fun!
At one point the arranger guy had to go somewhere and so I was left alone in charge of the sumo. I rolled it like a boss until he came back. It was very entertaining to watch people's reactions and comments when they put on the sumo outfits; some of them said some outright hilarious things. xD

I found that the Nerdcon arrangers were really cool in the sense that even during my shift they told me it was okay to go fetch food from centrum, if I was hungry and wanted something that they didn't offer at the con. So yeah, my company went a quickie run we got lost to Umeå to go eat some sushi at Shogun, the sushi bar just next to the bus station. It's cheap and good!

My sushi plate! Om nom nom nom ~
After the sushi me and Sacchan were screaming for some energy drinks because yeah, I had slept less than 3 hours the night before and then kinda slept poorly in the car. Needless to say that before we went for the food break I had been, at one point, super tired and yes, it was during my working shift. I tried to just push the tiredness aside as much as possible but I couldn't help the constant yawning. ._. So when we were in centrum and actually found a store that carried Esa-Petteri Euroshopper's energy drinks we were overjoyed! XD Yes, it's the cheapo one but it has won a best taste test in Finland lol.
When we got back to the con I went to watch over the sumo wrestling again. I think about one hour or so before my shift was to end the arranger who was responsible for me just came up to me, while I was sitting and fanning myself on the bench, looked into my eyes all serious and started doing the religious bless-you-draw-a-cross-over-his-chest moves and said "I free you from your duties, you are a free man now", in a serious and borderline epic voice. I hadn't seen it coming at all and it was just awesome! XD I went all "Woohoo! o/" and then he continued by saying stuff in a dreamy, wise man way. "Go and live life now, go do all the things you always wanted to do... GO BUY A CAR ~"
"FUCK YEAH, GONNA BUY A MERCEDES!" was said by me and then I derped my way back inside.

The video game room.
I was disappointed that there were no old-school consoles
like last year. Gamecube was the oldest they had. :'( One of my
main draws to go to a video game room is to play really old consoles because
I don't currently have access to those at home. *coughsupernintendocough*
OMG Mario Kart: Double Dash!! in LAN mode. ♡
I kept wanting to play the LAN mode Double Dash but every time I went to check it there was either no one playing it or a full party, so I couldn't jump in. :'(

The second video game room. Yes, there were two. The smaller one
(the one on this pic) was driven by Nerdcon itself, the bigger room
by some other groups.
If you walked past the bigger gaming room and continued walking in the corridor you would find the board game room and the Fantasia room. I didn't spend any time in either; I just checked them out. It's cool that there's stuff for everyone but personally I haven't indulged myself into this part of the nerd culture so I don't really know anything about it... xD Should maybe try one day.

Just an example of what most of the corridors looked like.
The board game room.
There was a lot to choose from!
Some board game put on the table for play.
The Fantasia room. They sold some merchandise and also seemed to
act like some kind of gathering point for Western fandom fans? I don't know.
Friday was slowly drawing to a close... and I had gotten hungry again. I don't remember exactly when but at one point I passed by the cafeteria and noticed that the blueberry Ramune –which I had been eyeing all day– only had one bottle left so I decided to buy it. I've never seen it before!
Oh and guess what? Of course when I opened the Ramune it had to go fountain mode on me and spill all over my clothes! Grrrrrrrrreat...

This was like... my night meal??
The cupcake was awesome, by the way.
We left on Friday maybe one or two hours before Nerdcon closed for the day. I had contacted my friend Hitsu earlier and she had said that we could sleep over at her place this year as well. Everyone jumped into Sacchan's car and we started the drive.. and we got lost.
And Hitsu didn't answer the cellphone.
And the cellphone(s) died.

But somehow, through a miracle, we found our way to her. It felt so nice to be able to lie down after all those hours of sitting in a car and being sleep deprived. It was also very nice to see her again! ^_^
We ended up talking a lot of shit and then eventually falling asleep.

When Saturday morning dawned we all (except Marcus, who was sleeping somewhere in the con's sleeping hall dormitories) dragged our asses up from the beds the worst thing ever and started to prepare for the con. I was extremely sleepy so I ended up not getting up from bed early enough to put on my cosplay at Hitsu's so I just put on my everyday shit instead. Hitsu said that she'd maybe come later to the con but in the end she didn't show up at all. Oh well, she had recently been sick and all so it's understandable ~

Nerdcon had a "pysselhörna" upstairs, aka crafts corner.
You could draw, do origami and "pärlplattor", whatever the latter is
called in English. I honestly have no idea.
When we got to the con I instantly wanted breakfast. I hadn't eaten anything at Hitsu's and so a trip to the cafeteria was the first stop.
I didn't want any pies and none of the warm foods were tempting so I ended up just buying a bakery, a banana and a bottle of pineapple flavored Ramune.
Oh and guess what?
The Ramune exploded on me.
I'm not even kidding!
Niillä on joku salaliitto mua vastaan...

Nutritious breakfast. 10/10
After getting some breakfast into my stomach I felt like I could maaaaaybe be bothered to put on my cosplay; I honestly didn't really feel like cosplaying (haven't been in the mood lately and something's wrong, I know) but I told myself that it would be a waste if I wouldn't at least cosplay for a couple hours now that the costume had been taking space in my bag during the whole journey and I had bothered to even pack it with. So yeah, on with the cosplay. And I totally lazied out on all the makeup –save for darkening my eyebrows– and thus looked like shit.. or well, as I did when I first started out cosplaying lol.
I just felt a lot of discomfort being in costume (and the wig was being a bitch) so I didn't stay in cosplay for more than a couple hours at most. I just basically went outside with Sacchan as tissimummu Matsumoto, did some photoshooting outside and went to change into my alternative fashion outfit instead, which I felt a lot more comfortable in. *shrugs*
For some weird reason *surprise surprise* we still managed to get a couple shots I appeared decent in, so here you go. :S

Cosplayer: Shiro Samurai (Jushiro Ukitake)
Photographer: Sacchan
Photo editor: Shiro Samurai

It was actually super hard to stay serious during the photoshoot because me and Sacchan ended up pulling so many shitty jokes and references from the Finnish Donald Duck animations by SilliS. :'DD "Hyi vittu paskea!"
In the end I suddenly learned how to talk like Goofy... and all hell was loose. XD Oh my gosh, the laughs we had!

Bonus pic!

This sums up so well how I felt about cosplaying lol. xD
Another reason for why I changed out of cosplay early was because my shift would start already at 14:00 on Saturday. The wig was just way too annoying (and tangled) so I just wanted to get it off as soon as possible lol...
I borrowed a shorter silvery wig from Jäätynyt Enkeli and omg, it was so smooth and tangle-free. It was short enough to not get stuck in my bags' shoulder straps and so I could work without being annoyed out of my mind.
When my working shift started I went to the entrance again and suggested that I could go and be in charge of the sumo wrestling again, as I had noticed earlier that there was no one watching over it and it worried me. I got the thumbs up from the arrangers and off I went to act as a judge and watch over the thing!

Photo by Jäätynyt Enkeli.
Photo by Jäätynyt Enkeli.
Once again I had so much fun being the judge! Would do it again if the opportunity ever rises. x)
It was funny though because while I was in charge of the sumo a person came up to me and told me that "if only your wig was a bit longer you could cosplay Ukitake". I just straight-faced it but in my mind I was all "if you only knew that I cosplayed Ukitake a few hours ago..." XD

We went to fetch take-away sushi from Shogun for lunch/dinner again! o/
When my working shift had ended I spent the last hours of the con in the video game room. I ended up playing some old-school Kirby samurai style sword drawing game. By that I mean a game that was all about who was the quickest to react and press the button when the sign appeared. It was fun!

Marcus (with the long hair), two other guys and Hasakitsuki
playing the samurai Kirby mini-game. I joined in afterwards!
It was so glorious when I played the Kirby game and we all four pressed at the exact same time and so yeah, we got a tie/draw with all four of us! XD It looked like Kirby colorful ice cream in the center because everyone was just standing there and every player had a different color (I was red) ...

In the bigger gaming room's white board someone had drawn a beautiful
cup and there were also the names of all the Mario Kart tournament teams.
I think we left Nerdcon one or two hours before it officially closed its doors because we just didn't have anything else to do and most activities were over. All of us, Marcus included this time, went to Hitsu's place to calm down and leave homewards later on.
We didn't, because it got too late and we were tired.

We left for home on Sunday morning instead, now that everyone had gotten to rest properly. On the early afternoon we spent our last hours with Hitsu listening to music and watching hilarious shit from Youtube.. on her television.

Tyhäm! ♡
Gotta go fast!
If you don't know what this is then shame on you, you're missing
out on one of the best misheard lyrics videos. XD
Before we left we went to fetch some sushi for the trip. Yes, again. From the Shogun sushi bar of course. Deal with it! ~
I just don't get tired of it and hey, there is no sushi place remotely near my home town so it's a luxury for me to even get sushi in the first place!


I think that's all. I'm probably forgetting to mention a craplot of stuff (like how many times we got lost in Umeå centrum and all the rage that followed) but oh well, can't remember everything. xD And can't be bothered to write every little detail either because lazyyyyyy.
But all in all Nerdcon was a great experience and I'm definitely coming back next year too! I had more fun than I thought I would and the con building exceeded my expectations as well. :) The only thing I was missing was the lack of the old gaming consoles in the video game rooms but oh well, I managed without so it's not the end of the world.
Thanks to all the people who came and talked to me and to all the people who make Nerdcon happen! You deserve medals!

Shiro Samurai waves bye!


Ri-kun said...

Sounds like a fun con trip. Sometimes small cons and just chilling can be better. It was nice to see you as Ukitake again, though. So nostalgic. :)

(Ja voi jumalauta, akun kakka onklema on hieno asia. :'D)

Gabrielle Crystal RoseBonniee said...

OMG! A few days ago I tried a spicy chilli Ramune drink and I was really, really surprised with its taste. I want to try another flavours *//* It had to be amazing ♥

Have a nice Monday ~
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