*insert witty greeting here*
I'm back home from Närcon and currently going through the con hangover, lol. For those not in the know, Närcon is Sweden's largest convention and every year it's held during the last full weekend of July in Linköping, which meant that this year it landed on 27-30 July. ^_^
Närcon actually sold out their tickets this year (which I don't think they've done a lot before?) and so I read somewhere that they estimated that there would be approximately 10 000 visitors. In any way, it's a really big convention in Scandinavian standards and actually more like a festival than a convention.
Before I get to the summary I want to say that this is a really photo-heavy post (60+ images) and the fun thing is that during the con I always felt like I took really few actual con photos. :'D
Närcon for me started on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday before the con. Firith had come over on Tuesday and I packed all my stuff on the same day.
I'm always late with this. We quickly decided that the night would be an allnighter since by the time the clock had passed midnight we were still up oops and we had to wake up at 3:00 in the night, at the latest, to make sure that we had plenty of time to walk to the bus station to take the bus to Piteå. No way am I sleeping less than 3 hours and waking up all fresh and ready to walk to the other side of town. xD
|Start of the journey: walk to the bus station à la midnight sun.|
We were pretty dead once we got to the bus station because yeah, heavy luggage is heavy. We had plenty of time to spare (better be too early than too late) so we just sat outside and chilled. The bus came at 4:40 local time and we jumped in. Most of the bus trip went by just chatting about randoms because, weirdly enough, we were surprisingly non-tired at this point. :D
When we got to Piteå the clock was pretty exactly 8:00 and the reason we went to Piteå was because we had planned a carpool with Vicktor, one of my con friends, and Piteå was the earliest place where he could pick us up. Once we got out of the bus I pretty instantly spotted him and me and Firith walked over to his red car, dumped our stuff in it and began our journey even more southwards.
|Obligatory roadtrip photo. Starring the |
Höga Kusten Bridge, of course.
The trip went well, except that my extreme tiredness from the lack of sleep kicked in after 12:00 something. xD We ate pizza along the way and I don't actually remember so much from the trip itself, except that me and Vicktor talked a lot about LARPing.
It was pretty late when we arrived at Linköping and, before anything else, we headed straight to Närcon to claim our con tickets in advance – it makes it so much more comfortable because then, once the con officially opens, you don't have to stand in line to get your ticket and you can just walk past the line through a different entrance.
|Närcon 2017 con ticket, featuring origami design.|
Once we all had our tickets (which went really quickly) we drove to a Scandic hotel nearby, where Firith was staying. He jumped out of the car and then Vicktor took me to my sleeping place – my big sister's apartment. You see, my big sister is moving to Germany really soon and this was my last chance to bunker at her place during the con stay, so of course I took the opportunity!
I bid goodbye to Vicktor and dragged all my stuff to big sister's living room, where I would sleep. I laid out all my stuff on the tatami floor and then I slowly spread it everywhere, lol. Don't we all? xD
For a couple hours or so I went through my stuff, prepped it for the con morning and then big sister warmed me some leftover food and then we spent some time together, mainly me watching her play Horizon: Zero Dawn on PS4.
The first con day dawned. It was mission impossibru to get out of bed as early as I had hoped. :'D I don't think I managed to get out of bed before the clock was close to 10-ish, lol. Big sister was interested in tagging along to go check out Närcon (you could buy one-day tickets at the entrance) and so, to make my life easier on the same go, she followed with me and acted as a guide on how I should do to get to Campus as effectively as possible.
To be honest I was really scared about how I would get to the con by myself since I don't know the town at all and yeah, at one point it looked like I'd have to bike there.
|Walking down this lovely river road...|
|... until it starts looking like a town. Notice the ship, it's actually|
a bar and bistro. So cool!
She showed me the way to Resecentrum (aka Centralstation, the train & bus station) and we took bus number 12 to Campus, aka were Närcon was held. The first bus literally left when we were in front of it (we ran like mofos!) and so we had to wait approximately 30 min for the next one, lol. I also had to inform Firith that I would be late for our planned meetup outside C-huset, Närcon's main building. You see, Närcon consists of several university buildings and a large outdoor area and it's really hard to find people, unless you plan a meetup with them.
Once we got to the con I waited at the entrance until big sister managed to purchase her one-day ticket. Once she was done she went her own way while I went to find Firith. We had promised to change into cosplay together since he needed to borrow some of my face cleaning supplies and I needed help with putting on my cosplay. And yes, I decided to cosplay on Thursday but because I couldn't come up with a cosplay –and because Firith had an extra cosplay that he couldn't wear at the con– I ended up borrowing his Teutonic Knight Prussia (Hetalia) costume on a whim. xD I don't mind, Prussia is pretty cool haha. I even had red lenses ready because of my Kashuu cosplay.
|Photographer is Firith, I'm of course the cosplayer and|
I also edited the photo.
It took forever for me put on my cosplay and I messed up my makeup and had to redo half of it. <_>
Accidentally put too much primer and my foundation just slided around, it was horrible. We tried having a quick photoshoot but it didn't work out and we both were stressed and were just fumbling around the whole day; it was a mess. On Thursday we didn't get to do much, in other words, and mainly just walked around and died from the heat. I actually don't have any clear memories of what we even did, except for just checking out the con briefly and then just... fumbling even more.
|Närcon's upper outdoor area. Food courts were here etc.|
|Same as above, different angle. Närcon's grill in the background.|
|This food stand sold medieval pizza and more, really cool!|
|The main "campus road", leading to the sleeping accommodations etc.|
As you can see it was a really sunny day and –even though these con pics are actually from Friday– Thursday's weather was pretty much the same.
I didn't take any general con pics on Thursday.
|Närcon's outdoor map.|
I don't have so much more to say about Thursday, really. Except that I left kinda early because big sister got tired and wanted to go home and I followed with her because yeah, I got a free bus ride (would have to pay had I gone alone cuz she had the bus card) and didn't have to worry about getting lost on the way back. ^^"
Again I didn't manage to get up early; I swear I'll never be a morning person. :)) I packed my Yasusada cosplay into a big backpack that my sister let me borrow, put the shoes and some other stuff into a plastic bag, took my camera bag with me and left for the con – this time alone. I was hesitating a bit but luckily the way to the bus station was pretty easy, as long as I followed the same river path that we took yesterday.
I think I arrived at the con around 12-ish and met up with Firith again outside C-huset. He was wearing his Cob cosplay from the Ghibli movie Tales from Earthsea, except for the makeup and the wig, for the same reason as yesterday. Again we raided a toilet together and I let him use my face cleansers etc and helped with untangling the wig and drawing on Cob's face markings. :D I then put on my Yasusada cosplay and at least this time I was spared from a makeup disaster, although it took a really long time anyway.
|Sadly no Yasusada photoshoot, but here's|
a cosplay selfie as proof that I wore him. x)
We had a lot of trouble with the photoshoot because the sunlight was so harsh that my camera literally didn't want to photograph properly; I tried all kinds of settings and manually adjusting and everything was just... shit. I eventually got fed up with it, gave up and then Firith told me to try his Canon instead. Fun thing here is that my camera (I'm Nikon master race~) has always been the better one during our cosplay shoots but now, weirdly enough, his Canon worked much better.
I didn't photoshoot Yasusada because of the intense sunlight and yeah, I was so uneasy anyway during the whole day. I also didn't wear my proper juban (ideal one for photoshoot) because of the heat and instead wore a martial arts under kimono so yeah. ^^" I must admit that cosplaying cute/young characters is a bit out of my comfort zone, I'm so used to doing certain character types that I have a hard time acting all cute and innocent...
|This kiosk stand (selling lemonade, candies etc) was my favorite|
because they played awesome metal music, loud! \m/
|Josbaren (juice bar), as popular as ever.|
|The rave forest. I never saw it in action but I assume it was a success.|
Last year it was in a different place so I was a bit confused, tbh. xD
|Spiderman bouncy castle!|
At some point we went to check out Artist's Alley, which was located in Key-huset, quite far away from the rest of the main buildings. If I'm honest few things interested me, mainly because I'm not into the current popular fandoms at all.
|Artist's Alley, pretty much entrance view.|
|Humon Comics' table at Artist's Alley.|
Here's three photos of the items that Afternoonfika was selling:
|Super kawaii charms!|
|And stickers! The Eeveelution set is so cute~|
One thing that I noticed that was different on this year's Närcon when compared to earlier Närcons was that there were more big decorations and stuff that you could interact with and such. It gave a really comfy and nerdy feeling!
|This Batman statue was in C-huset, close|
to some Finnish dealers.
|And this huge Onix! It served as a meeting point for Pokémon fans.|
|Darth Sidious statue close to C-huset.|
I don't remember exactly when but at some point towards the evening I changed out of cosplay. Big sister is awesome and let me borrow her Rilakkuma kigurumi and so I had at least something to wear instead of just being a filthy casual. x) I had never worn a kigurumi before, shit is lit!
|I ordered a yakiniku from Yatai (by ShinNori) for dinner. Really good!|
I did feel like there were fewer food options this year (or maybe I just missed them) and some sellers that I saw last year weren't at Närcon this year etc. I also didn't bother to photograph the merchandise since probably like 80% of what was being sold was the same or similar to last year's, so if you want to see the potential merchandise more in detail then just check out my last year's con summary.
|One of several outdoor merchandise sellers.|
|Now this was something I didn't see last year!|
|Really creative painting additions, haha.|
I think I woke up slightly earlier than on the previous days – personal success! :D
No but really, I went to eat breakfast and such as normal and then I looked out of the window and noticed that the weather was much cloudier than on the past days. On Saturday I had originally planned to wear Kashuu but already on Friday evening I made a Twitter post saying that my back was hurting so much from carrying around a heavy backpack for two days in a row and now it even looked like the weather would be against it as well. The thing with Kashuu is that, unlike my Yasusada cosplay, Kashuu's outfit consists solely of vintage silk and thus rain could easily damage the outfit and yeah, I've had to deal with water damage/stains before on silk kimono and it's not fun. I also wasn't sure if I could be bothered to do heavy makeup three days in a row – I guess I'm getting old, lol.
It's a shame because I was really looking forward to wearing him but I don't want to risk anything with such unstable weather and my back was seriously hurting so much over the course of Saturday that, by the end of the day, I was praising all lords in the heaven that I didn't have a heavy backpack with me on said day – I barely managed to walk home that night and I had light packing. But more about that later, I'm getting ahead of me!
|View of the outdoor area close to C-huset. Notice the dark clouds.|
|A part of the "campus road". Notice the guy selling cotton candy! :D|
|There is always room for Darth Vader.|
|This year I remembered to check out A-huset, were all the|
gaming happened. Here you see the rhythm/dance games.
|Spel & Sånt were the only sellers at A-huset.|
|Old arcade games!|
|A video game room with everything from the original 8-bit Nintendo|
to the new stuff! I wanted to play but all the consoles were taken. :'(
|Same room as above but viewed from the other side.|
Most of my time I spent either in C-huset or walking around outdoors. On Saturday I was inside for the most part because yeah, the weather was not the best. I didn't attend any kind of panels, shows or such and that's simply because I'm a boring person and I'd rather just hang around and enjoy myself than sitting still for hours in a room and listening to someone babbling on. I'm surprised though by how few familiar faces that I spotted during Närcon – I hardly saw any of my friends?
|C-huset inside, after entering from the main entrance.|
|Bandai Namco's booth.|
|One of several corridors filled with merchandise dealers.|
|C-huset is basically a maze of corridors.|
|Here people played TCG, tournaments etc and chilled.|
I must mention that I saw a fair amount of sellers who were selling obviously counterfeit goods. There was this one room with My Little Pony and Pokémon merch and while I can't say much about the authenticity of the pony stuff the Pokémon stuff was so obviously fake that I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. I regret that I didn't take any photos but I remember a "pokédoll" styled ugly-as-fuck Eeveelution (I think it was Leafeon) that appeared really squished and it literally had its eyes way under its mouth and nose – it looked retarded, to say the least. Another funny one was a Haunter plush, its body was deformed and looked more like a Boo from the Super Mario universe, except with Haunter's color, face and additional arms on it. xD I recognized several of the plushes from stock images I had seen Chinese eBay users use, like Latias and Latios.
There was also a normally sized Togepi plush which looked pretty okay, at least when compared to some of the less fortunate fakes, but what instantly gave it away as a bootleg was that it had the freaking pokédoll tag, which is normally reserved only for Pokémon plushes with a really specific shape and proportions. Geez.
The worst part was that I overheard some people behind me talking with a tone of voice that implied that they were gonna buy something from said seller. I cringed.
I just wonder how come Närcon hasn't banned this seller already? I'm pretty sure I saw them last year too... (and the worst part: it's not like they were the only seller selling fake goods)
|Eeveelution plushies. One of the few apparently legit sellers.|
|Random manga and such. Notice the Batmanga. :DD|
|Cute self-made amigurumi items.|
|Authentic The Mountain brand t-shirts!|
|Geeky doormats, now that's new!|
|T-shirts. I was a bit tempted by the Ōkami one.|
|Small cute purses.|
|Retro games galore!|
|I found Metapod merchandise. My life is now complete.|
|This skirt was badass. If I wore skirts I'd wear the shit out of it.|
|There was a room with a shitlot of figurines. The Monster Hunter|
ones were especially interesting for me.
Once I was done with all my purchases me and Firith mainly just sat outside and chilled; we had fun watching some people dance to some older songs that were playing outside C-huset. It sounds dumb to say it but for the whole convention we pretty much did nothing but walk around and check everything. We didn't participate in any kind of activities and still had a good time. xD I do want to try out fun things but as I said earlier, I'm way too shy and awkward to actually do it.
|So awesome to see a tournament on an old-school game!|
|This was a new thing this year! Free entrance too.|
|Kimono de Jack room, seen from the corridor.|
|... and even more kimonos.|
|Did I say there were kimonos?|
I left Närcon around 22-ish something and Firith came with me to Resecentrum. Saturday was our last day at the convention. Once I left him at the train station I walked back home along the same river road again. I remember when I passed a crossing that a hedgehog walked with me. xD Once I had walked a fair amount of the river road I saw that there were two men in front of me. I felt the anxiety kick in because the other one was smoking and had a bike and they seemed to be drunk. I really hate to deal with drunk people because of previous bad experiences. Once I passed them, still wearing ym Rilakkuma kigurumi, I hear one of the guys say something about a rabbit. They stop me and start asking if I'm from that cosplay thing, what my name is, where I'm going, how old I am etc and I'm just trying to get away as soon as possible. The smoking guy even tried to shake my hand (which I ignored) and tapped my shoulder and it was just really uncomfortable. They even asked what my sister's name was (because I said I was going there, of course not saying the actual street or anything) and to which I came up with a completely random name. He then insisted me to tell the surname too and I just went "eh.." and felt extremely awkward and uncomfortable. He kept insisting and I finally just said that I don't like giving out names to strangers, to which he finally took the fucking hint. He also asked my age and I lied about that too, saying an age younger than I am. Fun fact was that he replied to it "you look very young for being [fake age]". I swear no one believes me when I tell them my actual age, lmao.
He finally let me go after some minutes and I walked away from there, continuing back home to my sister. I soon enough noticed footsteps behind me (that weren't there before) and I almost freaked out. I glanced behind me and noticed a man walking behind me, some meters away. I sped up because I wasn't sure if it was the same drunk guys or some other random man (it was really dark outside) but thankfully, once I turned, he just continued walking straight. I swear I'm fucking paranoid of walking alone at night...
Once I got back to big sister's apartment I started packing all my stuff, warmed some leftover thai soup for food and then went to shower and sleep. On the morning Vicktor would pick me up and we'd drive homewards again, starting from 8:00. I don't have anything particular to say about the trip home so I'll end my summary here. I'm probably forgetting to mention some stuff but I don't care at this point, I just want to get this summary out. x)
Okay so, overall Närcon was a pleasant experience and I would go there again next year, as per usual. I didn't quite enjoy it as much as last year but that's probably because I was fumbling around a lot and it took a long time for me to settle and get into the proper con mood, so to say. I also feel like this year's Närcon was like a slightly watered-down version of last year's, I can't really pinpoint why but that's the feeling I got – something just felt off and less exciting. Then again, it can very well just be all inside my head because I wasn't in the most peppy condition ever and all the back pains that accumulated over the days of carrying stuff around long distances made things worse. I also barely found any of my friends and it was a bit cumbersome to sleep almost 5 km away from the convention because it meant I couldn't stay as long as I wanted. I guess I got used to the freedom of being in the camping. xD
And before I end this post here is a picture of my Närcon loots (except for an InuYasha patch that I forgot to photograph!):
|A Flareon plush, Pokémon TCG, a Hetalia keychain |
and a Flareon phone charm from Artist's Alley.
Thank you for reading my summary!
Shiro Samurai out.