Click above for a video podcast (or click here if it looks wonky and incomplete) featuring interviews with cosplayers and a bloke named Kelts at Sakura Con 2009 (the Pacific Northwest's largest anime/manga/J-Pop convention) last month, courtesy of the fine folks at Backroom Comics. Admittedly, it's not my finest hour (or 30 minutes, to be more precise), as I was exhausted by travel and a talk I had moderated moments earlier, but the questions were pleasantly probing and I managed to cleave my tongue from my palette long enough to answer a few.
And below is my latest column for the Daily Yomiuri, reflecting on the crowds and the cash infusion in Seattle as a direct result of this year's Sakura Con. Couple of quick caveats: the 20,000 attendee figure was based upon an estimate available at the time I was writing the column (as I note); the official figures I've seen more recently peg the tally at 16,500-plus per day -- still a record-breaker. Also, the $13 million is from an NBC television report that aired on the first day of the convention. I don't have access to the Seattle city coffers, but suffice it to say that the added income probably didn't elicit sneezes from city officials -- at least not in this economy.
A long overdue and very steep bow to the folks who produced, hosted and staffed Sakura Con. I was absurdly well cared for. Thank you.
As a gentle aside: I've been AWOL on this blog for the past couple of weeks for reasons both personal and professional, as I reacclimated to my life in Japan. I am resurfacing, albeit not without scrapes and scars. Living will do that to you.