Next week I'm off to Minnesota for Anime Detour. It's a three day long Anime Convention, that brings about six thousand fans together. This year is the 10th anniversary of the convention and it'll be my 8th time attending (also 8th time on convention staff).
Even though I don't live in Minnesota anymore, and haven't now for 6 years, I keep going back to this convention because of the great group of people that puts it on. I have no connection with any of the people involved outside of the convention, and I only see them once a year, but each time I go back, I'm greeted with hugs all around. I know most cons have a good community, but I think Anime Detour stands above the rest in that category.
This time, I'm bringing a group of students from here in Wyoming. It will be my third time doing so, and since I'm leaving my position with the school district, it will likely be my last. I am proud of being able to take students to this convention. Not only do these students get to learn about Japanese culture and the Anime Industry, but they get to spend a weekend with like-minded individuals. They get to be in a group of six thousand people where they fit in.
One of my favorite examples was from the first year I took students. I had a kid who dressed up as Dr. Zoidberg. Well, he had a Zoidberg hat and a labcoat. We walk into the convention hotel, and within five minutes a random girl walks up to him and asks for a hug. Something that's not terribly uncommon in fandom, but for a Wyoming nerd, that sort of thing just doesn't happen. His face was about the same color of the hat. I would like to say that had a positive impact on his self esteem.
This year, I have 11 students going, and due to changes in requirements for driving students, we're going to end up taking a big yellow school bus. It sounds like a horrible way to travel across 3 states, but they're actually not bad. The trick is that with the size of the group that we have, each person will have a full row to themselves. The benches are just long enough to lay down on with your legs going across the aisle. Most the students plan on sleeping a good portion of the way. Myself, I'm looking forward to having 16 hours in a bus with absolutely nothing to do.
I'll probably do quite a bit of posting to vine from the convention. Following me on vine, if you have it, or twitter/facebook if you don't, would be the best way to see what I'm up to.