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I’m not the author you’re looking for. But here’s a Comiket post anyway!

Comiket started off with around 600 attendees back in 1975. 37 years later, you are now looking at an event which holds over 500,000 people over the span of 3 days. You’re probably thinking, “Good golly that is a lot of people!”

That is, unless you’ve been immersing yourself in Japanese subculture. In which case, it’s something you’d have seen coming. We’d be on the same boat then!

Thank god.

And thank god we are.

So you’ve watched Lucky Star, Welcome to the NHK,  YuruYuri, Genshiken, Hayate no Gotoku and whichever anime that has a Comiket episode to steel yourself for the inevitable queues. But nothing has quite prepared you for this:

Let's not get started on how cold it is.

Let’s not get started on how cold it is.

Pulling a number off the top of my head, I’d say that the people queuing before the event starts would number to 6,000 people. How did I come up with such a guesstimate? The pre-event queues are split into groups of about yee big (see below). Unfortunately, having spent 8 hours sitting in the cold, one tends not to bother counting how many such groups there are. But for the sake of magically coming up with numbers, let’s multiply 600 by 10 and voila! 6,000 will be our lucky number.

Horizontally, at least 20 per line. Vertically, at least 30. I didn't count the lines behind me so 600 per group will do.

Taken on 9:27am 29 Dec 2012. Comiket Day 1. Never again.

As you enter the foyer, the group splits up. Some head east (doujin circles, etc). You go west (corporate booths, mainly) where you get put into another queue. Not long after, an announcement can be heard, signalling the start of Comiket and the crowds give an applause. Eventually you’re in the building and, because you didn’t plan your Comiket trip properly like you should, you have no idea where you want to go so you just go whichever way to avoid halting the mass behind you. You start being given brochures, files, maybe a bag or two. You stop to take a blurry photo as you don’t have time to stand still. After making a quick round, making stops at stores that interest you, you decide to move on from the corporate booth hall.

At this point, you see a guy outside the hall with a neat looking pixiv bag and asked him where the booth was. He pointed at a vague direction but you didn’t want to stall him so you go back in and asked an information booth. For the sake of the bag, you buy an artbook and an Ib calendar. You love artbooks! It is then you stumble upon the purpose of your life for that one day – to protect the oversized bag from a turbulent flow of people.

I consider myself one of the earliest to enter the hall. Several thousand people will eventually flood inwards.

I consider myself one of the earliest to enter the hall. Several thousand people will eventually flood inwards.

Here’s the thing about the crowds – they have a mind of their own. The guy behind you didn’t push you, it was the result of small little nudges propagating from everyone behind. Your pixiv bag got caught between two people moving in different directions, it’s not that they wanted to ruin it, you just weren’t looking after it well enough. You hold a grudge anyway. You wake up. This is not the Japan you’ve grown accustomed to during your time here. This is a battlefield.

So you head outside to collect yourself, and make your belongings more crowdproof. Then you head back in, but not before you see a number of relatively small queues outside. “What are they for?” you wonder to yourself because they sure aren’t the queues to enter the building. Besides, there’s a scattered line of people entering the hall. You notice there isn’t even a queue to enter the building anymore! The time was, what? 10:30am? A mere 30 minutes after the start of the event and there’s no longer a queue to enter the building? That’s pretty amazing! You walk back in slightly in awe.

Then it hits you. You look for the ‘End of queue’ signs near booths. You see signs resembling it, but upon closer inspection, thanks to your knowledge Chinese and Japanese, you find the word ‘Not’ appended to the signs. No wonder the lines to seemingly popular booths aren’t so big – they’re fragmented into smaller queues outside the hall!

You nope your way out towards the east wing. You weren’t all that interested in what the corporate booths had to offer anyway. Plus you already have some sweet loot, you assure yourself. How long would the queues have taken, though? They might be really quick and efficient. After all, this is Japan. On the other hand, it feels like a waste queuing with so many things left to see! Besides, you can’t turn back because, after all that thinking while being part of the moving crowd, you’re find yourself standing on one of the many downward escalators!

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You see no way to turn back. Oh well, onward ho! You walk across the galleria, into a huge hall of people who are transitioning from hall to hall, in to out. You see a restaurant or two, a convenience store, a… Comiket souvenir store? Let’s check that out tomorrow, the mascot is really cute!

You are finally at the doujin alleys. Woo! You stroll around. Yaoi. You stroll around more. More yaoi. Regular yaoi. Avengers yaoi. Sherlock yaoi. Harry Potter yaoi. Doctor Who yaoi. Assassins’ Creed yaoi. Top Gear yaoi. Yaoi between political figures of Russia. Of course! Today was day 1. Notoriously known to many as yaoi/BL day. [Author’s note : If you’ve arrived here from googling one of those terms, I’m sorry. You won’t find any here.]

Did you just spend 9 hours waiting in the freezing outdoors for highly anticipated booths (which you weren’t all too interested in) and yaoi manga (you’re not into those either… right?)?! Yes. At this point you learn something yet again – Comiket catalogs help a bit with planning! You should’ve followed delyssen’s advice to take a look at the catalog.

Also, as a side note, there’s information booths in the doujin area and they can help you with a fair bit of things! If you can’t speak Japanese well, you could try your luck with English, doesn’t really hurt. But they have a nice list of booths AND, AND THE MOST IMPORTANT : you can ask them where you can find booths focusing on so-and-so series. So list down more obscure series you might wanna check out, then ask the info booths. Some of those booths appear on Day 1 even though they’re not BL at all. e.g. KPop, ARIA, Last Exile…

Oh well. That was a shame. Tomorrow will be a better day. BUT WAIT, it’s only noontime. You could go for lunch. Maybe the corporate booths are a bit emptier now. You’re sure you forgot something important you’ve yet to see in Comiket. Oh well, let’s settle for heading back to the West hall to check out the corporate booths again. And surely enough, after some walking, you find out how to get back up there. Of course, like all things Comiket, it involved a queue.

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Nope.

This time, said queue was heaps longer than you’ve seen so far, so you nope the hell out of there. You then find yourself at one of the many cosplay areas in the convention. Hooray! Cosplayers! You can’t believe this slipped your mind – after all, they’ve been walking around everywhere. You must’ve gotten used to them during your time in Comiket. You really want to take photos but you don’t know how. Do you ask? Do you just jump in and take photos as you please? The latter doesn’t sound very nice.

You opt to follow by example. You eventually figure out some basic ways to ask for photos. “Shashin onegaishimasu” seems to be the most common. Let’s go with that.

It’s like you found a new magic spell which costs no mana. You keep using it. Sometimes you get ignored because there’s too many photographers saying the same thing. You take it as a queue that it’s okay to proceed and click away. It turned out to be a pretty good day. You’re thankful the first day of C83 didn’t already drain your wallet, you found some of the weirdest things people make BL out of and last but definitely not least, you got to take photos of amazing cosplayers! Tomorrow will definitely be a better day.

End note: I somehow ended up writing this post in second person. Weird. Hopefully, it’s not too hard to follow. I’ll probably put up a summary of things I’ve learnt from attending C83 as a how-to-Comiket post or something, I don’t know (I’m worse than delyssen in getting myself to do things, really.) What follows this is a bunch of photos (mostly cosplay) I took from C83 Day 1!

 

Ariake TFT Hall:

Here’s extra info for those of you really into cosplay. After you’re done with exploring Comiket for the day, head over to the Ariake TFT and proceed to the TFT Hall. There’s signs outside Big Sight saying where it is, but if you’re not too sure, ask someone like Comiket staff or security guards where it is. You could ask passers-by too. They won’t bite! You will come across a huge line but that’s for people wanting to go into the Yurikamome subway line. You can skip that line. Once you get to TFT Hall, what goes on there is a more exclusive cosplay event. The catch is, it costs 3k yen to enter which is NZ$45 at the time. Or 2k yen (NZ$30) if you’re a cosplayer. There’s amazing cosplayers and photographers there. You  might wanna drag a Japanese speaking friend along, though as communication might be hard. There were a couple reasons I didn’t enter. Firstly, I was dead tired as a result of the first week in Japan prior to Comiket. Also, I had a Galaxy S2 camera whereas a good amount of people in there had DSLRs or something so I thought it would be a waste. Next time, baby. I got a Lumix now and Imma be ready for ya.

This guy… I think he was listening to Comiket staff walkie talkies.

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That queue is headed to the east hall doujin alley. This is where we split off.
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The queue we got placed in after splitting up. Right outside the corporate booths hall.

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Badass, right here.

Badass, right here.

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According to the little poster on her skirt, she has a booth up on Day 3.

According to the little poster on her skirt, she has a booth up on Day 3.

Himemiya Mahore

Himemiya Mahore

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Ariake TFT Hall

Ariake TFT Hall

Blood donation drive. I think you get some Nanoha poster for doing it. I don't like Nanoha.

Blood donation drive. I think you get some Nanoha poster for doing it. I don’t like Nanoha.

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