We spent most of Sunday away from the con.
First, we went to Chad's old stomping grounds--where he lived for three months in 1998--in Komae, and stomped. His old building is along a river levee, where many people were playing baseball, having picnics, and . The area has a lot more in the way of English signs and obvious resturants now; it's a ways from Tokyo and much smaller-scale than I used to imagine, and I can see how in some ways it must have been even more alien than a big city.
Then we went to Shinjuku for lunch and a stroll. The area, especially Kabuiki-cho, is some kind of mix of the old Times Square, Las Vegas, and an amusement park--strip joints, gambling places, and those games where you try to pick up toys with mechanical claws. Also nice restaurants. For the full fair effect, many of the streets were blocked to vehicles, so we could wander freely. And gawk at the giant mechanical crab, up on the 2nd or 3d floor of a building and waving its claws, legs, and even *eyes* at passers-by.
We stopped by Harajuku next, but there were very few cosplayers at the plaza and it was too crowded to shop. We did see a guy doing a very *sincere* dance to Aerosmith's "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (he had his back to the crowd so I don't know if he was also lip-synching). Also offers of free hugs, which I didn't see anyone take up, and of a free punch, from a guy wearing a helmet and arm-pad, which I did see one guy take up, to much comedy and filming by a very professional-looking camera.
Then Shibuya, where we quickly checked a shop for something and admired the famous statue of the sad and faithful dog, and then back to the con.
The Masquerade had been going for not quite 90 min. when I came in to hear then announce they were done with all 12 entries, which is smaller than I expected. (I'd wanted to ask whether anime & manga fandom was any more integrated into sf fandom in Japan at the bridges/fannish history panel, but they ran out of time. I wonder if the apparent lack of cosplayers in the Masquerade is a partial answer to that question.)
The judging lull was initially filled by a performance by four members of a sword-acting troupe--who either appeared in _Kill Bill_ or had their style do so. They peformed to the full version of "Battle Without Honor or Humanity," which was very cool indeed, and then to some other stuff I didn't recognize. That part was more like simulated combat and less like dancing, so I liked that a bit less, but it was all very impressive.
I waited for the awards because I didn't see the entries and it was dark and cool and I was sitting down with an e-book. Unfortunately I wasn't very impressed with the winners, but it was a small field. Also, I was sitting at the back and didn't have a great view. (I imagine it's a fortunate con that can have freeze-frame pictures of the entries displayed on big screens as Noreascon 4 did.)
Then we went to Yokohama's Chinatown, which as pnh pointed out is a concept straight out of a William Gibson novel. We had a nice gawk at everything and a very good dinner.
Came back and bought attending memberships in Anticipation 2009--congratulations, Montreal!--and then I crashed. I knew if I stayed at the party there'd be good conversation eventually, but I was tired and my feet hurt and it seemed like too much effort. And f course now I'm jealous because I did miss some, including with Japanese fans, which just goes to show . . . something.
This morning I'm doing laundry and laboriously composing this without my portable keyboard,which may have given up the ghost entirely, while I miss Chad's blogging panel because I had to wait for machines, grumble mutter grump.
Oh, and yesterday morning we got to see a raptor at very close range, in our 62nd floor room, as it swooped and dove and glided nearby--showing off for an audience? Anyway, it was quite a sight.
ETA: pictures of the day at http://pics.livejournal.com/kate_nepveu/gallery/0003cyd2
ETA2: Chad's full Flickr set at http://www.flickr.com/photos/11070535@N08/sets/72157602288797679/