< Piro >
Saturday - January 10, 2004
Ok, real quick, i'm heading off for japan right now. I'll have net access while there, and i will be updating the site from japan, including when and where i can write some commentary, and show some pictures from the trip. It's as much a research trip as anything. If you are going to be at Anime Expo Toky, i hope to see you there :)
Here's the scheudule for me at AX Tokyo, as far as i know right now. Might change, but this is what i have:
Day 1 (friday):
Autograph session together with MIQ (a famous vocalist for Dambine) andPhilmoi (the author of Power Puff Girls)
Megatokyo Panel Session
Day 2 (saturday):
Autograph Session together with Crispin Freeman (a voice actor).
That should do it! I'll be posting updates thruought the weekend and stuff. Next regular comic will be Wednesday (this friday and monday will be DPD days) so i'm only missing two comics for all this. My poor new year's resolution ;_;
Well, it's the new year, and I can see that i've already borked three of my new year's resolutions: not missing any more comics, not being late with comics, and doing more rants. It's sorta like declaring that you're finally gonna go on that diet and then falling face first into a three layer chocolate cake. Oh well.
One of the reasons Seraphim and I decided to take a sabbatical last week was because it was quite literally one of the few gaps in the next few months that we had free. The next six months are looking that busy ^^;; So we jumped at it and took a random road trip. It was nice to get a break, recharge the batteries, etc. I would have liked to have been ahead a little before we left, but... since when have i ever done that? ^^;;
Like i say every year, I am going to seriously try to reach these goals, one more time. My first challenge to them is my trip to Anime Expo Tokyo next week. My plan is to finish up Chapter 4 and have enough comics done before i go so that there are no gaps. Hah, i think i just made myself laugh (or cry?). I'm not sure if i'll be able to manage this, but i will try. I am doing a lot of traveling this year, and one of my top goals is to not let these travels effect the comic as much as they have in previous years. Doing this for my trip next week will be very difficult, but there is a better chance it won't be so hard for the rest of the year.
Before i get to my trip next week, i need to mention that month the Dark Horse release of Megatokyo Volume 2 will hit stores on January 21st. Finally :) Many of you who pre-ordered book 2 initially from IC Entertainment will, of course, be receiving your book in the mail, but the rest of you will have many options for picking up the book if you want to get it ^_^. You can order it from the Megatokyo / ThinkGeek store, you can head out to your local comic book store, you can visit your local Waldenbooks, Borders or Barnes & Noble, or you can get order it from Amazon.com, Right Stuff, or pick it up from the nice people at Wizzywig either online, in their store (if you are a Ann Arbor local) or at one of the many Anime conventions around the country... in short, you should be able to find it just about everywhere. Dark Horse and I are committed to making sure that there aren't supply problems - if you want a book, you should be able to find one :) So, just for fun, remember to go out and get one on the 21st and cause a huge run on these books :P - only if you want one of course. It contains Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of Megatokyo, extra material and a short story from the Endgames universe. I worked pretty hard on this book, i just hope everyone likes it - hard to tell when you are so close to it.
What about volume 1? Well, Dark Horse and I will be releasing a re-issue of volume 1 in March. New cover, new size, more extra material, and it will match volume 2 and future DH releases. It's gonna be a mad scramble to get this done (I have to pretty much start from scratch (thankfully I'm getting some help from the Nekobox crew)). The print quality of this book will be far better than the original version. It's been fun working with the Dark Horse people - they are really great to work with, and their attention to quality and knowhow is pretty impressive.
One special little thing that I am doing with Dark Horse and Waldenbooks is a new Megatokyo t-shirt design that you will be able to find at Waldenbooks stores around the country. For the moment, only Waldenbooks will have these shirts in their stores - but if people like em, we will offer them in other venues as well. :) it came out a lot better than i thought it would, they are kinda nice.
One thing i can't believe is that i'm getting on a plane and heading to Tokyo on wednesday of next week. I haven't been to Japan since 1995 - a trip from which much of the mood of Megatokyo and Warmth is based on - so as you can imagine i'm really looking forward to going back. Obviously, i will be doing my best to fill my duties as a guest of Anime Expo Tokyo for most of the trip, but i have a lot of other things planned as well. I don't have a schedule of things I will be doing yet, so if you are going to be at AXT please visit this website for updates or check for information at the con itself for dates and times of things like the Megatokyo panel. Anime Expo Tokyo takes place in Ikebukuro, which is not too far from a lot of the places i need to visit while there. :P It will be nice to refresh my memory and get some new and current feel of what Tokyo is like today.
While Dom just returned from his trip to Japan, Cortana and Kaki will be coming on this trip with me. While there we will be joined by several friends who will help make sure i don't get into too much trouble while I am over there. Tsubasa has already been a huge help and I am looking forward to finally meeting him :). It will be good to see Seizo and another friend, Scott, who will be (i think) acting as translator for me. I am also looking forward to meeting many other friends and new acquaintances who i have only known thru email and IM before.
It should also be fun to have the chance to meet some of the more famous people who will be there - most notably Akamatsu-san (Love Hina), Inoue-san (Beldandy), Momoi-chan (Under 17 concert on friday, w00t!) and REM-san from Device High (yikes, i need to do a little drawing for REM-san yet)... ok, well, like a little webcomic artist from the states is gonna be able to do much more than say hi and pass a scribble or two - but it should still be fun :). I'm sorta terrified of there being a Key/Visualarts booth... Clannad is coming out pretty soon, and i dont think i can financially survive being confronted with the temptation of Clannad goods...
We are very close to being able to launch the japanese version of MT- we're just gonna miss having it up before i go, but it will be close. I'll try to post more information before I leave. Also, I'll be getting online while in japan and doing some updates, post photos and stuff. It's not vacation - it's work, so you will be hearing from me.
The other thing I am doing while there is taking a little side trip up to Sendai to do some field research for 'Warmth'. I will be hooking up with a friend there and spending an entire day wandering around getting down a proper sense of place for the story. People are already bugging me about 'warmth' - patience, people, let me do some research. One of the biggest problems i had doing what i've done so far was struggling to get a sense of place, so that is what I am attempting to do. I need to take a lot of pictures, walk the paths, learn a little about the city the only way you really can - by being there.
My first trip to japan back in 1995 was for very much the same reason, albeit for a different career. As an architect, i had spent a lot of time studying the works of Tadao Ando, and I was eager to visit some of the buildings he had built (some of which i had built models of). One thing about buildings and spaces - pictures can only convey part of the experience. You have to actually walk around in a space, to occupy the space, to really understand it, to really feel it.
Funny how this applies to writing a story about somewhere. Architecture is about creating and manipulating space. Writing often is about dealing with spaces that are already there, and the haphazard interaction of designed and built spaces. The sense of 'place' has a huge impact on who and what we are. Comics are a visual medium - communicating spatial ideas is important, and has a huge impact on mood.
I really enjoyed ArchitectTour Japan 1995 quite a bit, but what i never really thought about at the time was how all the little things, the city itself, the small, unimportant buildings, unimportant streets and vague interaction between it all would have a far bigger impact on my life than the specific buildings i was there to see. Funny how things work sometimes.