From July 4th-7th, there was aJapanese pop culture convention held at the Los Angeles Convention Center called Anime Expo or AX for short. It was the second anime convention that I’ve been to; the first one being Fanime in San Jose in 2011. AX was super exciting, and I’ve never seen so many people stuffed into one area before.I definitely enjoyed seeing everything going on at the event!
AX is the biggest anime convention held in the United States every year, and it hosts high-profile artists, actors, producers, and other individuals from the animation industry. There are a variety of activities for attendees to take part in, from sitting in on guest panels to competing in costume or videogame contests. The guest panels are really cool because you can hear what the guests were thinking, the troubles they encountered, and their approach towards tackling those problems while they were producing a show or voice-acting a particular character.
There are also live concerts, open karaoke, and a rave.Many people spend a lot of money at the convention by buying merchandise made by companies or amateur/semi-professional artists.
A lot of money is flowing through during this event, but it’s not all just about profit-making! AX holds an auction to donate to charitable causes. In past years, AX has donated the money from the auction to the Japanese Red Cross,Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and City of Hope.
Many people go in costume (cosplay) when attending AX. Hardcore individuals make their own costumes by hand, while others buy them premade. You can tell what has been the most popular recent show by the number of people with costumes from that show. This year, the most popular show was Attack on Titans without a doubt. You couldn’t go more than 5 minutes without seeing someone from that show. Attack on Titans was actually previously mentioned by another Caltech blogger here: https://caltech.typepad.com/caltech_as_it_happens/2013/05/draft-matryoshka-brain.html.
There were a lot of really great costumes, but one of my favorites was from stealth video game called Assassin’s Creed. The left image is the picture I took at AX, and the right is an image from the the game’s promotional artwork.
Practically the same, right? (In fact, it’s so good that I’m wondering if the costume was bought?)
Over the past year, there was an Asian craze for alpaca stuffed animals and accessories. There were several vendors at AX selling alpacas, so my friends got me to bring back a few new buddies. :)
*One alpaca for each friend! I own the pink one in the middle.*
Initially, I thought these were llamas, so I named mine “Duck.” This was in reference to the viral Llama Song video on Youtube. I’ve embedded the video below.The name stuck even after I figured out they were actually alpacas.
Starting college can be a big transition. You’re moving to a new place, starting a new school and classes, and faced with making new friends in an unfamiliar environment. And, of course, there’s that whole “becoming an adult” thing. But, you’re also leaving a lot behind. Every new beginning means that an old chapter must come to an end. Leaving behind our friends at home may seem difficult, especially if they’re going to be a long distance away from you during the school year. Something I made sure to do was to spend a lot of time with them during the summer after high school. Of course, going to college doesn’t mean you’ll never see your friends again, or that you will no longer be friends with them. Good friendships will last if you put effort into them. It may seem hard initially. Coming into Caltech, it’s a sharp adjustment and many are caught up in the excitement of Orientation, Rotation, and starting classes. It may be hard to remember to check your phone frequently and to make time for phone calls and such. Rest assured that if you have other friends going to college, they’re probably going to go through similar things you will. In this transition period, it can feel like you’re going to immediately lose touch with people that mean a lot to you.
Let’s face it: the US loves being just a little different from everyone else. The obvious example? Units of measurement. As an international student from Canada, even I have no clue what’s going on half the time when my friends talk to me and use these weird nonsensical units. And I’ve literally lived on the border between Canada and the States for all my life. After a year here, I’ve finally got a sense of how the two systems of measurement compare and how you can more easily get your bearings with these weird units.
After a year spent in “soft-lockdown” at home in Atlanta, and as Caltech students prepared to finally return to campus, I was aboard an eight hour flight towards Edinburgh, Scotland. Since my junior year plans were interrupted by the virus who shall not be named, I’m spending my first term of senior year studying abroad through the Caltech - Edinburgh University International Exchange program. I’ve only been here just over a week yet have been exposed to so many new people, perspectives, foods, and classes.
When the announcement was first made that fall term was going to be online, I started talking to friends and looking for places to live. We were debating locations around the country: California, Florida, New York, etc.. there were plenty of options. Then it suddenly hit me, what is stopping us from going to Hawaii, covid numbers were better and a two week quarentine would ensure that numbers stayed down… I proposed this to my friend and we agreed it would be an amazing experience, but we didn’t want to get out hopes up. A month or so later we still haven’t decided where to live, Hawaii seemed too far and too difficult to plan. But we couldn’t get the idea out of our heads. We spent some time looking into plane tickets, places to stay, etc… and it actually didn’t seem so impossible after all. A couple weeks later and we were arriving here on the big island!