Things I Learned As A San Japan Newbie


Can you ever just be whelmed? The author as Tina Belcher. - ALBERT SALAZAR
  • Albert Salazar
  • Can you ever just be whelmed? The author as Tina Belcher.

What did I get myself into?

Although, San Japan 8-bit wasn't my first con (that honor goes last year's Wizard World stop in SA), I'm still a relative n00b to most conventions in general. I ventured to this one with little to no knowledge as to what to expect. Here's a bit of what I've learned: 

1. Get There Early: We foolishly left for Saturday's full day of panels and exhibitors after 1 p.m. and spent at least 45 minutes trying to find parking. This means we missed out on a lot of great panels and even better cosplayers. In advance of Alamo City Comic Con, which is undoubtedly bigger, the only piece of advice I have is to get there before 9 a.m. for prime parking, which leads me to my next point...

2. We Desperately Need Uber Back: No, Uber is far from perfect. There are drivers' rights to attend to, along with insurance issues to fix, but for those few short months that Uber thrived in San Antonio, I could pop-in and out of downtown without flying into a tiny rage every time we missed a parking spot. 

This guy could have used an Uber. - JESSICA ELIZARRARAS
  • Jessica Elizarraras
  • This guy could have used an Uber.

3. Do Your Homework: I could have probably spent a little more time perusing anime shelves at my local book store, or just Googling popular anime. I didn't. Hence, I was only able to recognize about a 10th of the cosplay creations worn. That also probably has something to do with being almost 30 and not watching Sailor Moon Crystal last year.

4. Dress The Part (Whatever That Is): Because I'm still not versed in the expansive anime landscape, I probably wasn't going to put on a Pikachu onesie or perhaps Sailor Jupiter costume. Instead I went with what I know, and that happens to be Tina Belcher from Bob's Burgers. The outfit was leftover from Halloween 2014, and I seem to have misplaced my American Apparel knee high socks and Freaky Friend Fiction notebook, but I think the point was still made. 

Amazing cosplay of La Muerte from 2014's Book of Life. - JESSICA ELIZARRARAS
  • Jessica Elizarraras
  • Amazing cosplay of La Muerte from 2014's Book of Life.

5. Buy Internet Access: Seriously, my shitty Sprint iPhone didn't do a whole lot for me when I was in the exhibitor's room. How else was I supposed to post all the amazing costumes to Instagram or Snapchat?

6. Find The Nerd Nook: Somehow, deep in the recesses of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, we were able to find the nerdiest of convention goers unwinding from their trek, looking over their scores and generally comparing anime finds. The community is awe-inspiring to behold. The diversity of the group is also quite breath-taking – everyone is welcome to let their anime flag fly and nothing's off limits. 

  • Jessica Elizarraras
  • So cute!

7. Save Up: Even if you're just there to take in the show like I was, you'll need plenty of dough to buy prints, toys, shirts and bags. I had to restrain myself from buying another Pusheen product. Going into ACCC, you'll want to buy your photo passes in advance (the lineup of visiting celebs is insane).