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="">3>|
|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.
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.|
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.|
I bought some
|The main building, C-huset, when viewed from the entrance.|
|Närcon had some impressive decorations this year!|
|... and I mean it.|
|Endless amounts of cute animal plushies were everywhere.|
|I must admit that those whale sharks(?) were hard to resist.|
|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!|
|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!|
|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.
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.|
|Stina Rahm's table.|
|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.|
|I was fulfilling my childhood wishes playing Stadium 2!|
|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!
|Pokémon movie shit factory galore. xD|
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!|
|I literally lived on this sushi on Friday. I bought one for breakfast/lunch|
and one for dinner. xD
|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)
|Bandai Namco's promotional booth.|
|Lightsaber sport combat practicing... or something.|
|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!|
|One of C-huset's many corridors.|
|Many of the activity rooms were in these corridors.|
|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!|
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?
|Quite literally only photo proof I have that I wore Hotaru.|
|Now this was something that I didn't see last year. |
|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.|
|Lunar eclipse at the camping on Friday-Saturday night.|
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.|
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 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. |
The Zubat belongs to Frozen Angel.
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.|
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
|Närcon wasn't free from bootleg Pokémon dolls this year either...|
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!
~ Shiro Samurai out.