Queuing is part of Japanese life which is a definite contrast to Malaysians. The Japanese people queues up in a very orderly fashion and even when the line starts moving. While Malaysians tend to jump queue whenever it’s possible or squeeze their way through at any cost. Therefore, on this faithful day at 30th December 2012, we managed to slot in a special visit that was initially not in our schedule just to experience the “ultimate queues of nerds”. Comiket is the world’s largest dōjinshi fair. Attendances can go up to over half a million and this fact pretty scared the pants outta me. It’s held twice annually. Once in Summer (known as NatsuComi) and another is winter (known as FuyuComi). It’s a 3 days event and we decided to go for Day 2. Unlike the American’s Comicon, Comiket doesn’t require any entry passes or tickets. Everyone is welcome.
It’s held at the Tokyo International Exhibition Centre, or more commonly known as Tokyo Big Sight. We started early in the morning and headed down to Odaiba to meet up with Hazmer. He was going to be our special guide on this fun day. Upon reaching the station, we already saw tons of people and we knew we were heading the right way.
We walked with the crowd, not knowing anything and tried to find the Lawson store where we’ll wait for Hazmer to come. Once we were there, everyone was so excited and there were megaphones blasting in Japanese and we had no idea what they were talking about. When Hazmer came, he asked us where our snacks were? We told him we didn’t have anything prepared but already had breakfast. He suggested us to get some before heading into the crowd. It was going to be a long day and who knows how long the queue was going to be like. The Lawson had nothing much left, so we grabbed a buns and we started our journey. To no one’s amazement, there was a lot of walking involved.
Thanks to Hazmer, he led us to another entrance. If I’m not mistaken, there seems to be 2 entrances. So that the starting points were different. This way, they could divert the crowd, so that they would be separated into prioritizing what they wanted to see first. As we reached our queueing station at the West Gate, the rain began to pour heavily. We could see that everyone else were filled with smiles and excitement despite the horrible rain and crazy cold wind. Everyone took out their umbrellas, and what was amazing was that I saw some people would share their umbrellas with others who didn’t had any. (Hazmer was one of them who shared his umbrella with another stranger dude)
During the wait, Fann felt some butterflies in her stomach. She wasn’t feeling well way before our Japan trip. Suddenly, she barfed on the ground. Everyone around us was shocked. I quickly grabbed some tissue form her bag and helped her to clean up. Hazmer help us to hold our umbrellas. Again, some Japanese around us offered help as well. Some handed us more tissue papers and some even gave her some medicine. It was really touching. Even in this cold rain, we could felt the warmth around us. That made her feel much better. I told her that we could leave and head back to rest, but she was determined to finish the journey. The ‘Semangat’-ness she had for comics was admirabe.
After around 2 hours of wait, the queue began to move. We were so excited. It took us another 15 minutes to slowly walk into the convention center. I thought to myself, ‘in about 15 minutes, I will be able to see some sexy comic book drawings and hot cosplayers. Finally, we could see them! Well, not the hot chicks, they were all dressed in winter wear, but all the booths! The inside of the center! Tables and posters, comics and chatter, megaphones and more queues! It felt like we were really in Anime land. There were anime characters walking about, looking at their favourite booths. Fann had this knack for One Piece stuff, we followed her behind as she browsed quickly through the booths while Hazmer explains to us how the booths are categorized, so that everyone can get the amount of exposure they came here for.
Comiket was divided into different sections. So if you’re there, you have to know what you want to see and where it’s being held. If you are a newbie, with no knowledge whatsoever about it, like us, then you will be totally lost inside. What I can remember is that, it’s divided into corporate sections and dōjinshi sections. We started ours at the West gate, that’s where the dōjinshi are.
We browsed around and took photos of the place. After Fann made a purchased from the One Piece booths, we headed East to see the Cosplayers! Again, the queue never ended. It felt like a massive meat fest. Due to the rain, most of the cosplayers were moved indoors, therefore making the lightings to most of our shots, dark and crowded.
The crowd at the cosplayer’s area was even more massive. It was mind-boggling. Hazmer had to sit at the corner and wait for us as we take turns with all the Japanese nerds and uncles pointing their cameras and shooting away. We had to steal some shots from behind because of the language barrier of asking the models to pose. Well, we didn’t get to see ALL or shoot all of them. There were just too freaking many of them. We just went around and shot what we thought was special or already known to us. Fann said she couldn’t find any One Piece cosplayers. But we found Jesus!
After getting some shots of the cosplayers, we had to leave for lunch. Our stomachs were rumbling. On the way, we saw there was a huge booth outside. Hazmer told us that these were postal services that helped the buyers to send all their stuff back home. So that they won’t have to carry all those toys, comics and games back on the train. It was quite an experience and asked if I would go again? Definitely YES! I would wanna see some hot sexy chicks in the summer Comiket. But I heard it was going to be really hot, and yes I mean literally HOT due to summer.
We ended our journey with a tasty lunch. Western food but presented in a Japanese way. It was costly (I mean it’s Japan, everything is costly) but it was delicious. After the horrendous queues and wait, we had to reward ourselves.