July 31, 2018

Närcon 2018 – Some asshole stole my shampoo!

Hello folks!

I'm back home from a long and exhausting but fun-packed trip to Närcon and, as per usual, I'm now gonna write a con summary about my experiences of this year's Närcon Sommar, aka NCS 2018. Sommar means summer in Swedish, by the way. ^^" Also, please be aware that this is a very photo heavy post (even though I thought I took very few photos, lmao) since it's a big convention that I'm covering!

Without further ado, let's go!

The outdoor area near C-huset, the main building.

The week before Närcon I spent watching over mom's house meanwhile she was on vacation in the Göteborg area. I was tasked with watering flowers and checking on the greenhouse and I also had my cats there. How is this related to Närcon, you wonder? Well, because I was at my mom's (which is several kilometers away from my home) I didn't get to pack my stuff for the trip until Tuesday evening/night, which is quite literally the day before departure in my case. Packing so last minute was stressful and I was worried that I'd forget something really important; I didn't have time to do any cosplay tests before the con either, which in hindsight feels like I should have done.

This year I also carpooled with Vicktor, just like I've done on previous years. It's lovely to have someone who plans trips to Närcons from the north! The not so fun part is that I had to take an early-ass bus to Piteå on Wednesday night/morning – it left at 4:40 local time!? This meant that I had to wake up at three in the night. xD Of course the night before a trip (and because I was up packing late) you can't fall asleep and so I only slept for 2 hours, ouch. This year I traveled alone and so I dragged my mountain of luggage to the bus station early as fuck. The walk took about 40 minutes, perhaps a bit more as I played some Pokémon Go on the way. :D 
I met up with Frozen Angel at the bus station to borrow his sleeping bag, a Yoda themed plastic folder (in case I buy prints from the Artist's Alley) and his Nintendo 3DS to hopefully streetpass someone who has MH3U so that he can get some hunters for hire on his newly started game. 
The bus came soon after and I was the only passenger in it, lol. I don't remember what I did on the bus except that I was weirdly not-tired and spent some time trying to play Ingress and PoGo before realizing that the bus was driving too fast. I also charged my devices on the bus as there's sockets under the seats, which is really convenient.

8:00 the bus arrived at Piteå, where I jumped off. I soon enough saw Vicktor waving at me next to a red Kia with a ski box. I walked over and said hello to the two new girls who were also joining us on our Närcon trip. We played some Tetris to fit all our stuff in the trunk and then we were on our way to geek paradise! The weather was really hot and nice and the car's AC was so strong that I was freezing sometimes. xD We stopped in Umeå to eat at Kebabnekajse (hilarious name pun on Kebnekajse, Sweden's tallest mountain and kebab) and after that we quickly did a Tyranitar raid at a nearby gym before continuing our trip. Souvenir Pokémons. o/

Närcon 2018 tickets. Camping tickets were fabric again! <3 br="">
It was late-ish when we arrived at Linköping and checked in to receive our tickets in advance (it would save us from the rush on Thursday morning when the con officially opens). Vicktor and the girls took their stuff to the sleeping accommodation halls meanwhile I was trying to ask numerous Närcon workers if they knew how to get to the camping by car. I didn't get my answer until I had walked to the northern side of the con's outdoors area (I started at the south entrance) and once I was done looking like a question mark I headed back to the car where Vicktor was already waiting. We drove to the camping just the two of us and he helped me set up the tent that he kindly let me borrow for the con's duration. I hauled in my belongings, got my sleeping spot in order and went almost straight to bed after a quick trip to the shower cart to brush my teeth.

Camping entrance.
The tent I slept in.
A view of the camping from my tent's position.

I woke up pretty early despite being tired, mainly because I had forgotten my earplugs at home and around 08:00 people generally started waking up and a buzz filled the camping area. Some people were annoyingly loud and just couldn't shut the fuck up late at night but that's another issue.
I took my shower stuff and headed for the showers as I had not showered yesterday night and did not want to participate to the con funk today.

The one and only shower cart.
Okay, I'll be the first to say that I have no idea what the shower facilities at the camping were like last year but I know that on 2016 it was really similar to this year's setup. I'm pretty sure it was the same company they hired from as I recall this year's showers looking the same as they did on 2016, aka one cart with two doors and 3 showers in each with one bathroom and one sink. One thing that I quickly noticed though was that they had seemingly completely scrapped the previous non-binary inclusive tagging – this year the showers only said D for damer (women) and H for herrar (men), aka no sign to make it obvious that all trans and gender non-conforming people were welcome. I honestly found this a bit weird as Närcon has always been really visible with LGBTQ+ support and visibility.

There were very often a line to the showers and it's pretty obvious if you do the math – there were 3 showers available for each of the two binary genders and I wouldn't be surprised if there were over 1000 people camping. *rolls eyes* So yeah, unless you lucked out chances were you were planning to shower on the same time as everyone else, aka on the morning when tents turned sweaty. I'll still say that Närcon 2015 was the best camping experience, at least in terms on the shower half.
Oh well, I was kindly waiting for my turn and had put my change clothes on a hook meanwhile I was waiting in the single bathroom, to not be in the way of the others who were showering, as there wasn't much space to move on. I heard a guy say that there's free showers now and so I occupied one and did my thing. I went back to the tent, packed my needed-for-the-day stuff into my rucksack and headed to the con area to try score some breakfast.

Närcon food court area.
It was a boiling hot day (30 degrees in the sun) and I remember regretting not taking my umbrella with me from the camping as I could have used it as a sun shade – that was the main reason I had taken it with me anyway. I noticed that most of the different food courts and places were at the same spots as on previous years, so it was really easy to navigate. I went to stay in line at Närcon's own little food court called Drakens Öga (Dragon's Eye) to get something hopefully cheap as, at least last year, it was the cheapest option.
I bought some pannkakor plättar (yes, it's fucking plättar still and not pannkakor you twerps, get it right! D<) and scouted for a bench that had a parasol as I was melting away. After I was done I waited the remaining time until Närcon officially opened its doors at 09:37.

The main building, C-huset, when viewed from the entrance.
Närcon had some impressive decorations this year!
... and I mean it.
One of the very first things I did when I got inside was to go check out the merchandise. I was maybe a bit too early as not all vendor rooms were open immediately but I got a gist of what was for sale and it was mainly the same things as on previous years. I'm past that first weeb phase a long time ago when you feel an urge to buy literally everything because it's kawaii, animu and mango and can't be found in "normal stores". Nowadays I think twice before splurging as I don't have a good economy and everything needs to pass the initial "do I really need this?" test, which seems to get succesfully harder to pass each year.

Endless amounts of cute animal plushies were everywhere.
I must admit that those whale sharks(?) were hard to resist.
As much as I love plush dolls I have a hard time justifying to myself to buy another one as I have so friggin' many already that I don't even have space for them. xD Plushies in particular need to be extremely awesome, nostalgic or rare for me to buy one, haha. I'm not invested into any of the newer fandoms either so a lot of the merch I didn't even care about. ^^" But oh fuck it's hard to resist cute marine animal plushies, I'm so weak for them...

Pokémon TCG boxes and booster packs, theme decks etc.
The MLP booth was there this year too.
At least a couple booths sold older video games, which was pretty cool.
Lucky bags were common this year!
One thing that I quickly noticed was that a lot of the vendors were (still) selling the exact same things. What's even the point with that? I also feel like this year it was harder to find merchandise of series that were either past their prime, obscure or that have a niche fanbase. I might have missed something I would have liked as I did not spend a lot of time checking merchandise when compared to earlier years, in fact I just looked through most rooms once or twice and that was it; I didn't go thoroughly through any small items like pins, keychains and such as I just couldn't be bothered. I know I didn't have a lot of spending money so I just didn't feel a need to look closer into what was on offer and besides, as I said earlier I have no clue about the new shows as I haven't watched any new anime in a long time.

I must admit that the tiger head backpack was pretty rad.
Leatherwork items for sale.
Seeing this gave me nostalgia as many years ago I bought
a Beyblade in a similar package from Thailand!
I even found Japanese Pokémon TCG boosters and loose cards!
If you've been to any Närcon before you know that C-huset has maze-like corridors and that a majority of those are reserved for the merchandise sellers and the rest for different activity rooms like karaoke, maffia and such. I've been to Närcon since 2010 and can honestly say that I still get lost when I'm trying to find a specific room or vendor sometimes and yes, it's both awkward and frustrating. xD

These painted fox masks were a new addition.
A small part of the myriad of figurines available.
Geeky doormats. I'm still waiting for ~the one~.
Pride merchandise was quite common this year and A LOT of
the attendants were wearing rainbows.
Asian movies.
I actually never checked out A-huset, the gaming building, so I can't say what the arcade room and such were like and well, now afterwards I kinda wish I would have gone deeper into the building to find the rooms that were used. I was actually inside A-huset but gave up quickly as I seemingly went into an empty corridor and then got anxious and left.

Once I was done with my round in C-huset I headed for the Artist's Alley. Lately AA is more likely to get my money as I like to support fellow artists and especially those who have something that catches my fancy, haha.

Artist's Alley when seen near the entrance.
Artist's Alley seen from another angle.
One of the AA corridors.
Once again there was a lot of the currently hyped fandoms everywhere that I don't care about but I found some really cute stuff too. I feel like I sound so negative but a lot of the currently popular fandoms like Steven Universe etc I have zero interest in because of the, to me, unappealing art style. ^^" What surprised me though was that I found one person who had a few Monster Hunter things up for sale! I wish there would have been more magnets though – I didn't see any magnets at all and that's kind of a bummer as that's my number one thing that I'm most likely to buy and actively looking for right now. Thankfully I chatted up with this one artist, rumpenstiltzkin, and while killing some time I asked her if she happened to have magnets and she was actually surprised as I was only the second one who had asked her (she didn't have them visible). She said something that they don't sell so well which has me all kinds ofweirded out, I don't understand people sometimes. xD I want my fridge filled with cute and cool art!

Stina Rahm's table.
rumpenstiltzkin's table.
I also chatted up with this one guy called Holmström (his table is visible on the AA corridor pic, closest to the camera) who was creating his own epic fantasy comic called Wormcurse and sold fan merch for it. I must say that I applaud his dedication as that was one of my early teenage dreams too, although after drawing two sides I gave up lol I'll maybe pick it up one day now that I've improved a lot at drawing and story-writing since then. He seemed really nice and excited to talk to someone about his series. He was selling some handmade clay dolls of his characters and they were pretty cute albeit in a derpy way, haha. He even showed me a prototype doll that he was working on.

Festival area map. There were several of these.
Outdoor area, walking back from Key-huset to C-huset.
Outdoor area with a view from C-huset.
On Thursday I didn't cosplay. I mainly spent the day exploring the con area and just enjoying myself. The whole day was really sunny and crazy hot and I even burnt myself. :'( I spent a lot of time in the Pokémon Gaiden room in C-huset, playing Pokémon Stadium 2! I was honestly really happy to find this game as I've never had a chance to play it before and as a child I really wanted to try it but we never had a Nintendo 64 in our family so it just never happened. My cousins only had the original Pokémon Stadium game, not Stadium 2.

I was fulfilling my childhood wishes playing Stadium 2!
Sadly it was not on a real Nintendo 64 but on a computer but oh well, you take what you can get. It was a bit glitchy though, especially the Pokémon face icons when in battle, choosing mons or on the trainer screens. xD Some mons were hardly recognizable on the icons because of the pixels just being everywhere or missing, lmao.

This medieval style "weapon's dealer" only opened later
into the day. They had wooden spears, swords and axes etc.
Super cool for LARP and historical costumes and pretty cheap too!
For dinner I had an expensive-ass halloumi burger (100 SEK)
from one of the food courts, but at least it was good!
Somewhere around Thursday night (I think?) I went back to Pokémon Gaiden and happened to stumble upon some kind of gag movie showing? I missed probably half of it but the room was packed with people howling with laughter so I decided to stay. At first I didn't get what was so funny with the movie (I assume it was the Mewtwo Returns movie) but once I had been in the room for about 10 minutes I realized that the subtitles were absolutely bonkers at times! It was an English dub but it looked like the subs had been on a different language and then directly translated to English and published as is. I'm not sure if it was done on purpose for shits and giggles by whoever has uploaded the video or if it's official in any way, but whatever the case it was hilarious to watch as the subs were often completely different to what they were actually saying – sometimes contradicting what was said and sometimes being complete what the fuck material. I remember James had a line with "fucking" in it and there was something with Giovanni having to call his wife or something like that. xD

Pokémon movie shit factory galore. xD
I have a memory that I went to sleep early-ish on Thursday as I was still a bit tired from the trip. Also, I'm unsure on which day I had the Artist Alley talks with Holmström and the others but nevertheless I figured I'll just mention it on the AA section to not make this summary too messy. ^^" I went there on consecutive days and bought a few things for both me and my friends on the later visits as I kept noticing new stuff that I had missed on previous days.


I slept a bit longer than I maybe should have... the tent had time to turn into a suicide sauna while I was still inside. Yes, I'm talking about the infamous MORNING TENT SWEAT. I was slowly but surely getting baked alive in my pyjamas, wrapped inside a sleeping bag and with a wool blanket over me. Needless to say I took my shower stuff, crawled out of the boiling prison of doom and rushed to the showers.
As I woke up late-ish (around 10 I think) the worst shower rush had kinda passed and I didn't have to wait too long to get a spot. The worst part was that I had put my belongings, inclusive my shampoo bottle, near the sink as there was ridiculously limited place to put anything on and well, by the time I got into the showers and needed it... it had magically disappeared. So there I was, in a shower that had run out of warm water, with no shampoo. Now the water issue was actually pretty nice in its own way as the cold water was refreshing, seeing how stinking hot and sweaty it was. But getting my one and only shampoo bottle stolen sucked major ass. It somehow managed to disappear just when I wasn't looking at it and although I suspect it might have been the guy shouting to someone else "can you hand me that Head & Shoulders bottle?" but the thing is that mine wasn't even that brand!! So either it wasn't him, he couldn't read or he was a jerk. Whatever the case my day was saved thanks to another random guy in the shower farthest away from me who kindly lent his shampoo when I loudly exclaimed that someone had stolen mine – he was a hero at that moment.

Fresh from the showers I took my stuff and headed for the con area. My stomach was groaning for food and because the clock was closer to lunch than breakfast I decided to bite in and get something a bit more solid to eat. It didn't take long before I had set my eyes at the Valla Sushi booth as it had literally no line to it, which meant instant food and that in turn meant not having to get burned by the sun while waiting for your turn.

Valla Sushi was my savior!
There wasn't so many options (either mix or veggie sushi) but the price was right and so I didn't have to stand there and feel like I'm being robbed, lol. Most food courts were way overpriced but the sushi was actually, in comparison to normal sushi prices, even cheap? This premade, fresh 10 pieces mix only cost 85 SEK which normally you can barely get a 6 pieces set from a restaurant with. It was good too, better than what I expected!

I literally lived on this sushi on Friday. I bought one for breakfast/lunch
and one for dinner. xD
Filled with sushi I headed to C-huset. My main target was to go to Pokémon Gaiden to leave my phones for charging meanwhile I checked out the vendors a second time. Every day I had to charge my devices somewhere in C-huset as there were no charging possibilities at the camping, which was pretty crippling tbh. Anyone who plays Pokémon Go knows how quickly it drains batteries and well, the Linköping university area was really dense with stops and gyms and so PoGo was on a lot of the time.

Närcon had these big fabric banners with "cosplay consent" themes.
There were at least 5 Pokémon themed statue decorations.
The more I look at the Eevee the derpier it gets.
Could you pull the Master Sword?
(seemingly someone did cuz the blue handle was gone later... XD)
As the Närcon festival area is large I had massive lower back pains from walking around so much so frequently. I don't know how normal that is but I've had that problem for years and it kinda hampers my enjoyment as it gets gradually worse for each day (and overnight rest doesn't make it go away) and at the end of the con just simply walking hurts; I have to stand in some weird-ass bent positions or sit/lie down to temporarily not feel the pain. I would kinda be interested to know if others experience this too or if I have an actual problem that needs to be checked out and no, shoes do not matter as the pain is strictly at my lower back and I wore high-quality sandals during the whole con.

Bandai Namco's promotional booth.
Unlike last year Bandai Namco's booth was outdoors this year. I didn't walk into the truck to check what PS4 games they had but I guess it was either some new ones or demos of games that have not yet released. You could also join their mailing list thingy and if you filled in a form you got a promotional Ni no Kuni 2 keychain. I have no idea about this game but I got one anyway, the character looks like the offspring of Calcifer and Lisa Simpson.

Lightsaber sport combat practicing... or something.
Närcon's outdoor area included the Zen Garden, Josbaren, bouncy castles, tents of different companies like the lightsaber combat (LudoSport?) on the photo above and more. I didn't check anything up closely as I feel uncomfortable engaging in activities while it's super hot outside – I don't want to sweat even more than I already do. xD There were also hammocks scattered around the outdoor area and it looked so comfy. I do wonder now afterwards what drinks Josbaren had this year and if the price had gone up again or stayed the same.

Pokémon lemonade. Too bad it was 50 SEK for one, ain't paying that much lol.
No con without hordes of pocky and other candies!
I explored and experienced Närcon alone. It didn't bother me all that much but you do notice that it's not quite the same when you have no one to hang with who's always there and sharing the fun and memories with you. Weird thing too is that during the whole con I didn't come across a single friend! I didn't even see Vicktor at the con! That was really weird as normally you do bump into someone you know sooner or later but yeah, this year it didn't happen. Then again, there were more than 10 000 people at Närcon so the odds of you being in the same place at the same time as someone you know aren't all that big, especially as Närcon isn't just a single building but a whole university complex.

One of C-huset's many corridors.
Many of the activity rooms were in these corridors.
Närcon has a lot to offer in terms of activities and enjoyment. There were multiple fandom panels, meetups and such that were organized by other congoers but there were also all kinds of rooms dedicated to keeping you entertained. There was a room for board games, two karaoke rooms, a room for Magic the Gathering enthusiasts, an escape room game, a tattoo parlor, a room for maffia and other games (varför i helvete finns inget specifikt ord för lekar på engelska??), a Touhou game and fan room, a video game room, a relaxing room were you could draw and paint etc and probably a lot more that I'm forgetting to mention. Oh and yeah, of course the Pokémon Gaiden were you could play TCG, play Pokémon console games or battle against others on 3DS etc.

There was a board game room...
... and a karaoke room. Yes, they're singing Bohemian Rhapsody.
Beat Saber VR rhythm game. I think there was a tournament for it too?
I found my new jam!
I spent a lot of my time at Pokémon Gaiden, playing Stadium 2 while waiting for my devices to charge. I must mention that the game cheats like a bastard on the Cup tournament thingys. I was playing this one thing when you face off against a lot of trainers with random Pokémons that are generated at the start of a challenge. I remember getting a Machoke, Graveler, Gastly and some other fairly shitty mons (or at least with bad movesets) and not one but TWO of the challengers had fucking Wobbuffets in a row! Like seriously, wtf game?? Those things are banned in competitive play since forever for a reason and I have to fight off against two of them on the same cup with random shitty mons and expect to have even the slightest chance at winning? HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH no. :) If anyone wonders the Wobbuffet moveset was Counter, Mirror Coat, Destiny Bond and Safeguard. Just fucking try to beat it without suffering heavy losses as you're stuck with the likes of Raticate and non-evolved mons that belong in the Little Cup. Try.
Plot twist: I managed to beat Wobbuffet the first time I faced it but it took two of my three mons down with it, the second one because of Destiny Bond bullshit spamming, and then when the trainer sent out his second mon (yes, this son of a bitch had Wobbuffet as his first) I had to fight two against one and had no chance, despite playing as strategically as I could with the crap I had.
Also, is it just me or does the Stadium games have really unreasonable damage outputs and speed priorities? Like I had numerous instances were an Entei's Fire Blast (or other powerful mons) failed to OHKO trash defense mons like a Stantler (tbh barely took half its health) and other cases on which an enemy's unboosted Beedrill consistently outspeeded my Raikou, to name a few...

One vendor had a lottery twist.
I have no clue what this was but seemingly
some kind of lottery game, idk?
When the clock was nearing evening, and the worst heat had passed, I went back to the camping to grab my Hotaru cosplay. I had to change bags as I realized there was no way that I was fitting all of Hotaru's gear into the rucksack. I hurried back to the con, occupied a roomy toilet and changed into cosplay. Not gonna lie, it took over 2 hours to get this cosplay on! It would have been quicker if I had some help dressing as I noticed while trying to tuck the kimono from behind (it was a battle to get it to look even remotely neat) that his outfit doesn't make sense. xD I also noticed that I will need to modify this costume before wearing it again as I need to make the kimonos narrower because of the way that Hotaru wears them; I had way too much fabric that I somehow had to hide at the sides which in turn made me look fat while wearing this.

Quite literally only photo proof I have that I wore Hotaru.
I had a bit of a hard time dressing as I had no character references on my phone (which are really scarce unless you save scans from the manga) and had to try to go by memory, which meant that I missed to fold/tuck the front end of the kimono. ^^" Oh well, no harm done as no one asked for my photo, although I got quite a handful of comments, compliments and stares because of my tengu geta. xD I'm not sure if anyone even recognized the character as no one walked up to me to talk about something else than my shoes, lmao. I didn't attempt to walk in them as I was feeling weak from the heat and back pains and didn't want to break my face as I didn't have time to test-walk before the con. I was sitting with them on outdoors while just chilling before I eventually moved to go buy a third sushi box for dinner. Funny encounters included a cheeky guy saying "now that's a high-class ninja" and some presumably parents pointing and gasping at my shoes so that their little kid noticed them. Also people walking past me and then turning their heads to do a double-take. x)

Now this was something that I didn't see last year.
And doesn't seem overpriced either.
I think I wore Hotaru for about 4 or so hours before I changed out of cosplay as it was nearing late night. I kinda wish I would have had a friend with me so to get some actual photos of my cosplay but no can do. Närcon has quite a lot of good photoshoot locations so it's a bit of a bummer to not have a photographer available. :/

Närcon food court area. This one had guys dressed in cool medieval-looking
leather vests serving flammenkuchen, handmade pasta and such.
Obligatory barbeque and grill vendor!
Mini melts icecream seller. I actually tried it twice, really interesting
albeit expensive (50 SEK for one). At least it lasted longer than
ordinary icecream in the sun and was good and fun to eat!
Bubble tea was back this year. Expensive as fuck though.
R.I.P. Närcon 2015 when bubble tea cost a reasonable 40 SEK, does anyone even remember it?
This food truck sold halloumi burgers, quesadillas, nachos and such.
Oh yeah, I totally boycotted the bubble tea shop again. I would really have wanted some but no way am I paying such an outrageous price (I can't remember if it was 60 or 65 SEK with bubbles as you had to pay separately for those). I think it's greed talking as I'm pretty sure they would go with huge profits even if they sold for 40 SEK a cup, just like they did on Närcon 2015, especially considering the popularity, exclusivity and massive amount of attendants. One thing that bothered me even further was that after staying close to the booth for a few minutes I noticed that about half of the cup was filled with crushed ice... Okay, I understand it's hot outside and ice is refreshing but half the cup seems exaggerated and like a conscious choice to sell less and have customers pay for half a cup of motherfucking ice? I'll add that I know that a lot of ice "protects" at least spirit mix drink from getting diluted as, per laws of physics, a lot of ice cubes cools the liquid quickly and effectively and once the drink is cold the ice melts slower. Not too sure how it works with bubble tea and crushed ice though, but in my eyes it still smelled a bit like ripping off people. *shrugs*

Lunar eclipse at the camping on Friday-Saturday night.
When I got to the camping at night there was this impressive lunar eclipse going on. I heard something that it was the longest one in 100 years or such. I saw about half of it and I was happy that I had unknowingly placed my tent in such a way that the entrance was facing the moon! One could also see Mars as a little red dot under the moon, it was really cool.


And so came Saturday, the last full day of Närcon. I woke up early again and went to get breakfast, which ended up being a third sushi box. xD The weather was surprisingly really cloudy and gray on the morning and I didn't think too much about it until it started raining later on the day, which was a bit of a surprise as the weather forecast hadn't promised rain as far as I remember. Oh well, good thing I had my umbrella with me!

I didn't actually attend a single scheduled event as I'm lazy like that and don't want to stand in line for hours just to get a spot at a cosplay competition and such. I haven't actually watched any cosplay competitions in forever and I just don't feel a need to – if I'm curious about a sketch or something afterwards you can almost certainly find it on Youtube after the con. *shrugs*
I did notice though that on the Närcon schedule booklet thingy there was a mention about a Mario Kart: Double Dash!! tournament. It took me a while to find the right room as it was in a corridor that you normally don't go to as I've declared that part of C-huset as "empty" in my head for years. It was a video game room with both older and newer consoles, which was pretty neat. Without thinking too much I applied for the Mario Kart tournament as I learned they needed at least 10 participants to get it going and there were only a handful at the moment and the tournament wasn't far away. I saw that a second Gamecube was free and asked if I could change the game to practice some Double Dash as I hadn't played it for likely 4 years.

The video game room.
I started up the game and was met with it telling me that the memory card had been corrupted and that it would need to be formatted/reset to be able to save. Oh god the horror, I just imagined if that had actually happened to me. No could do except clear the whole thing and start from scratch, which meant that all previous progress was lost. Now it was a bit of an issue as the tournament was supposed to start in about an hour and the Special Cup would have to be unlocked so that they could play Rainbow Road on the finals, as I was told. Well, I decided to kill some time and do them a favor and so I raced through the cups in different difficulties until I managed to unlock the Special Cup. I noticed that my skills hadn't really deteriorated much at all – I used to play this game so fucking much as a kid that all turns and tricks are pretty much in my muscle memory, lol.

Participants for the Mario Kart tournament only started to show up during the last minutes and that was also when I learned that the tournament was doubles and not singles, fuck! Well, that quickly made me ask if it was possible to play single as I'd rather not be paired with a random person who might or might not be good at the game and has no idea of mine and Frozen Angel's bro telepathy and years of co-op play. Not trying to be elitist or rude by any means but I just wouldn't be able to play a tournament, which in essence is a serious game, without having any kind of idea how capable my team mate was before the real thing kicks in – especially as I have very specific requirements for how the player in the back should control the slides, tackle and throw items etc as I was always the one out of us two siblings who drove the kart (we had mutual agreement on the positions as I preferred to drive and he preferred to sit back). I don't want to rely on luck as I commonly have the luck of Donald Duck. :)
So yeah, my options were to either pledge to play solo (as I much prefer complete control of my kart than rely on someone else knowing my play style and/or standards) or quit the tournament, and it ended up being the latter as by the time the brackets were about to be created I noticed that there was an uneven number of players and so I just jumped out last minute to make it even. I'm sorry but I refuse to play doubles without my trusty bro and besides, I wasn't even informed that it was doubles when I signed up (I was expecting singles)! I know it's just a game and for fun but I kind of have a personal reputation to hold up to as me and bro crushed the Double Dash tournament at Skecon 2014 and also, I know myself and my shortcomings enough to avoid a mess if I can as I know I don't necessarily cope well with failing right now due to life difficulties, anxiety, depression, self-hate and whatnot. Playing outside a tournament with randoms would be perfectly fine of course!

I'm still not sure what this was or who they were...
I didn't do much on Saturday actually. I had already seen pretty much everything and so the day mainly consisted of me sitting at Pokémon Gaiden or walking back and forth the campus area to play Pokémon Go, coupled with resting along the way to lessen the goddamn back pains.

I remember being very hungry around the evening and telling myself that no, I'm not gonna buy a fourth sushi box. I looked through pretty much all my options multiple times and despite the relatively good variety, considering con standards, I still felt like there wasn't anything that I could eat or be willing to pay so much for. I have a bit of an economical crisis going on (I'm a poorfag) and so I'm comparing prices and money for value a lot. It was a bit of a bummer that a lot of the "cheaper" options had ham in them and that's a no-no for me as, although I'm not allergic, the consistency and taste or ham/pork somehow disgusts me and makes me gag. So yeah, I spent a lot of time going back and forth and feeling really indecisive (in hindsight I wonder why I did not just go to the nearby McDonald's, guaranteed cheaper than at the con) until I finally ordered a burger from that kebab place that has been at Närcon at the exact same spot for several years now.
Beware as I'm gonna complain again as this burger was pretty shitty and not worth my money, not gonna lie. It cost 60 SEK for just the burger alone, no fries or drink included. Heck, not even any kind of dressing nor even cheese for god's sake! Needless to say it was really dry and half-cold on top of that. It quite literally consisted solely of the bread, two beefs, some sallad and red onion. Nothing else.

Proof that I wore my Team Aqua grunt. Yes I was tired.
The Zubat belongs to Frozen Angel.
Late on the evening I went back to the camping to go pick up my Team Aqua cosplay. I spent over 30 minutes just sitting in the tent, debating with myself if I want to cosplay or not. I was feeling tired and lazy but still decided on cosplaying as otherwise I'd have taken the cosplay with me for nothing and besides, I should have debuted my Team Aqua cosplay already years ago.
It didn't take too long to change into cosplay, at least not when compared to Hotaru the day before. I did notice though that there, somehow, were holes and tears on the shirt's lower half. I have no idea how the heck they got there as I have not worn this cosplay, not even test-worn it and the parts have just been laying in storage for years. It kinda sucks to notice that your new cosplay has already taken damage. :(

I didn't wear any lenses this day as my eyes were really dry and I also forgot my gloves in the tent and only noticed while I was changing, which meant that I couldn't be bothered to go back to get them as my back was hurting too much to walk that distance again. Nevertheless being an Aqua grunt generated some fun moments although I was once again reminded of how horribly awkward I am at improvising character-like lines and doing small talk, like oh lord save me.

Night-time party outside C-huset.
I assume this was the rave.
I went to change out of cosplay close to midnight and soon after I headed back to the camping for one last night. I appreciated that there was this little path behind the rave going on that you could walk if you wanted to avoid the rave itself. I feel uncomfortable having to pass a lot of dancing people in the dark and with loud music so that little walkway behind the tents was nice.


The last day. I woke up at 08:00 and started packing my belongings. I had a feeling that I should not take down the tent just yet and thankfully I didn't as the rain came crushing down when I was done packing and had just moved my stuff outside. Needless to say I quickly hauled my stuff back inside the tent, closed the entrance and sat there staring at the seams near the door that dropped water drops on my knees. It rained on and off for about 30 minutes maybe and then the weather cleared up just in time when Vicktor and the gang came with the car to pick me up. We packed everything and headed one last time to the con area to get some breakfast.
I went for Draken's Öga to get some pannkakor plättar but learned that they were sold out and that they only had nacho chips and noodles left – no thanks, I want something more foody than that as we had a long-ass trip ahead of us. The others got some Japanese curry but it had a lot of onions in it which made me go nope as I really dislike onions in food. Everything else was too expensive so I asked if we could drive by the McDonald's take-away when we left. Oh sweet Jesus those hot fries were godly when you were super hungry!

Närcon wasn't free from bootleg Pokémon dolls this year either...
The car trip back home went well, save for the extreme weather around the Uppsala area. It was raining like living hell, to the point that several cars had stopped and parked at the side of the E4 because the heavy rain made vision really bad and turned the roads to swimming pools in no time. We kept driving on really slowly and soon enough a thunderstorm was upon us with thick lightning bolts. We even saw a cloud of smoke raising from a house/cottage on a hill and were about to call the emergency number when we saw that there were already firemen and an ambulance there – seemingly lightning had struck there. It was scary. I even heard that Arlanda airport had to delay/cancel flights as they couldn't fuel the airplanes because of the rain.
Ironic part is that all summer it has been extremely hot and dry and it's been illegal to lit a fire outdoors because of the fire hazard and then, out of nowhere, we get this massive downpour that shuts down Uppsala's metro because of flooding. Swedish summer eyy.

We stopped at Härnösand to eat at the first best restaurant we saw, which was a Chinese one. I tried kung bao chicken for the first time and this was legit one of the best Chinese foods I've ever eaten, it was really good! The remainder of the trip me and Vicktor sang Sonata Arctica songs and then we listened to an audiobook by Terry Pratchett, before I eventually dozed off. Mom came to pick me up at Luleå past midnight and drove me home and that's where my Närcon journey officially ended.


Närcon this year was overall a good experience. I had my fun and it was worth my money, despite me being angry at almost everything being so overpriced (save for the sushi) and food price versus quality issues, namely the burger. xD Going to a big con alone is not quite the same thing as going with friends and I found myself at times not really knowing what to do and missing that social goofing around part. I also saw a lot of really cool cosplayers and the atmosphere and con feeling was there. Camping is still where it's at and I'd go to Närcon in the future too, assuming no one steals my shampoo again and bubble tea returns to a sensible price scale. ;) I probably forgot to mention a thousand things but this post is long as shit anyway and I need to get it out before midnight as I don't want it to fall on the August tab (yes, it bothers me as the con was on July) so yolo!

Thanks for reading my blog!