Sayonara, Cinco de Mayo! Hola, Kodomo no Hi!

May 5.

Here in the USA, we typically “celebrate” a Mexican holiday that we think is about independence and tequila.  I’m not going to explain what’s wrong about our perceptions of Cinco de Mayo, or anything dumb like that.  I’m not a social justice warrior with nothing better to do than complain about a non-issue.  That’s not what my site is about.

Instead, I wanted to share with you the beginning-level knowledge of a Japanese festival that occurs on this day, as well: Kodomo no Hi, which means Children’s Day.

Part of what is known as the Golden Week, Kodomo no Hi is a time of happiness, where we pay extra attention to what makes our children unique and to remind them of how important they are to us.  It was officially decreed as a national holiday in 1948, when the Japanese government decided to adopt the Gregorian calendar (the one we use).

Prior to 1948, Kodomo no Hi was called Tango no Sekku, which means Boy’s Day; it was alternatively known as the Feast of Banners.  Like the Gregorian system, Tango no Sekku was held on the fifth day of the fifth month of the previously-recognized lunar calendar.  Girls had their own day, which was Hinamatsuri (Girl’s Day) and recognized on the third day of the third month.

One of the key traditions for this festival is the flying of koinobori, which are carp-shaped flags/kites.  There is a Magoi (father carp) which is first, followed by a Higoi (mother carp), then the children follow suit.  Why carp, you may ask?  This comes from an ancient Chinese legend that a carp who swims up a stream will become a dragon.

There is also the Kintaro doll, who rides a carp while wearing a kabuto (combat helmet).  The name Kintaro was the childhood name of an iconic samurai from the Heian period (794-1185) known as Minamoto no Kaikou.  It is said that in real life he rode a bear (instead of a traditional horse… or a carp).

Finally, my favorite part of any holiday or festival, the traditional foods.  (YUMMY!!!)  Kodomo no Hi traditionally has two different types of snacks, kashiwa-mochi and chimaki.  Kashiwa-mochi is a rice cake (typically filled with a red bean paste) and wrapped in an oak leaf (which is what a kashiwa is).  Chimaki is somewhat similar; instead of a mochi being wrapped in an oak leaf, this is a sweet rice paste wrapped in a bamboo leaf or an iris.

Well, I guess that’s good enough for now.  This info mostly comes from Wikipedia (mostly because I couldn’t remember most of these names).  Enjoy your day!  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get a burrito.

The cosplay experience, based off of Kumoricon 2016

Looking back at the budgeting post that I did recently, you will notice that the convention I mentioned was Kumoricon, a convention based in Portland, OR; this is because that is my local convention.  I have been part of the KCon family since 2006, staffing every single year except for 2016.  I rather spent the year as a regular attendee, mostly because I felt burnt out from so much work (as well as being sick of the internal politics).

Among the typical exploring of the dealer’s hall and attending panels, something special that I did was compile a series of interviews with different cosplayers.  I tried to get a wide variety of cosplay types: home made or store bought, anime or video game or American cartoon, legit characters and OCs (original characters), and so on.  While not EVERYTHING within the video I made is an interview, that is what the majority is.  I wanted to open up the subject, mostly to do what I can to encourage those that are questioning whether or not they want to explore it, or for those that may have had some sort of negative experience.  In summary, I believe that cosplay is one of many merits to being a geek, whether it be an otaku or some other form, and conventions should be a haven for us to come together and enjoy ourselves as ourselves… through fictional characters.  XD  Anyway, here’s the video.  ENJOY!!!

Financial Preparations for Convention Planning

Let’s establish this aspect first.  This post will be in regards to individual planning, as well as small group.  It is not for clubs or organizations, though I would imagine that many of the such would still apply.  I was also inspired to do this based on something a couple friends of mine were saying regarding their tax returns; as such, I will be playing with the idea that someone with money in April is planning for an end-of-the-year con.

The first thing to consider is obvious: where are you going?  Odds are that if you’re going to travel somewhere for a convention of any sort, you’re going to want to register.  Ghosting a con is alright, but it’s a complete waste of time if you’re making a lengthy travel.  For this, let’s choose Kumoricon in Portland, Oregon, which (as of 2016) takes place around Halloween.  Registration prices are currently $55 for those 13 and older, $40 for those 6-12, and $300 for VIP badges.  These prices will go up after July 27.  (Oh yeah, once you get to the con site to get your badge, HAVE VALID ID!!!).

Next, figure out how many people will be going.  Will it be just you?  Is a friend or two tagging along?  Any offspring you’d like to bring?  For the sake of this example, I’m going to pretend that I will be going with my son (age 4) and his mother.  Taking the info from the previous paragraph, our registration total would be $110.

Most of what comes next can be linked through your convention’s website.  For the sake of this blog, I will leave an octothorpe (or hashtag as it’s popularly referred to now) for what’s mentioned (and relevant) to this scenario.  However, I like to play these things dangerously safe (especially since there could still be other options).

# Now comes the hotel.  Figure out how you and your group would prefer to arrange rooms,  THEN reserve your room/s.  Kumoricon has an arrangement with the nearby DoubleTree Hotel (and by nearby, I mean about 6 blocks away) for $150-170 per night + taxes and fees.  I will instead choose the Motel 6, which is about 2 blocks away.  Now, part of what I’m about to say relates to knowing specific dates, including traveling and when you want to arrive to/leave from the con site.  Kumoricon 2017 will be October 27-29, so I will play with a single room (or two adults) for 3 nights starting on October 26.  Find the location in the Lloyd District.  As I’m typing this, they have only 3 Queen-sized beds available for $99.57 per night.  If and when you select to book this room, this site will calculate the complete total, including taxes and fees, which is $336.06.

How are you going to get to the con?  Let’s make this fun and say that you’re flying in from Kansas City, via Southwest Airlines, flying on the 26th and 29th.  For the first trip, I am selecting the 11:25-3:45 trip with a detour in Oakland and the Wanna Get Away offer, which is $208 (per person).  The trip back home will be the nonstop 12:35-5:50 (per person), which is $179.  The site will then do its math stuff and come up with a grand total of $1160.85.  (Note: I haven’t flown in almost 20 years, so I don’t know much about the length of waiting times and such; this is more relevant to the next section).

Now comes a confusing part for some: getting to and from airports and destinations.  I recommend public transits, pending that you aren’t hauling your entire wardrobe.  Let’s first look at while in Kansas City.  Their system is called KCATA.  For this, I told their site, ridekc.org, to plot the following: From Kansas City city hall, To Kansas City International Airport, Arrive by 10 am, Date April 20 (because this is the same day of the week as October 26).  They use Google to show you a map, which in this case… only involves one bus.  Now, I’m a little confused about EXACTLY what their site is telling me, but it sounds like a single bus ride is $1.50, with potential reductions where applicable (like in this case, those 5 and younger ride free).  Bam.  $3.  # Similarly, the system in Portland, TriMet, will tell you to ride the Red MAX line for $2.50 a pop, $5 total, after telling it to leave at 4:30 pm for the Oregon Convention Center.  That’s $8 total, with both days totaling $16.

Unless I forget something, these are the essentials of what you’ll need to plan.  There are many ways to bundle many of these things together, and thus lower the prices.  However, looking at things like this, separately, your grand total is $1512.91.  I would recommend also planning for food and merchandise.  If you go with $25 per day per person for food, and a $200 cap on merch, that’s an extra $500 to add on.

Good luck with your preparations, my friends!

So, I’ve come up with a poll to add on to this post.  This is to see where y’all stand with money spent (as well as a grade requirement).