September 2nd, 2007

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

Worldcon Sunday

Well, here we are, and Worldcon is pretty much history.

Let's see - today. I had a panel at 12, so I sat in on another panel earlier in the morning (one called "Gibberish", on "alien" and other odd languages, and it was a very lively panel indeed with lots of discussion on languages from Klingon to the hundreds of newly discovered and mostly unrelated languages in Papua New Guinea (with a side order of Japanese and its peculiar writing systems). I meandered down to the noon panel only to discover that the panelists outnumbered the audience and thus everyone there (who was obviously interested in the subject) repaired to lunch instead to discuss it amongst ourselves. In all fairness it was the kind of panel that should have attracted a much larger audience but it was stuck in a bad room in the back of everything, and hard to find, and less than ideally signposted - and it was a Sunday panel at lunchtime and the convention was starting to fragment as people began to pursue other interests and peeled off to do stuff in, you know, JAPAN. We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant, and then I detoured down to the waterfront, took some nice pics of our wonderful futuristic hotel, missed taking a photograph of half a dozen young women wearing Sailor Moon school uniform type outfits who sailed past me into the crowds, and returned to the convention centre around 2-ish to see if anyone had signed up for my Kaffeeklatsch at 4. My faithful companions green_knight and carl_allery were there, and so was a young man who was a Japanese translator who came in out of the blue, and so was Pat Macewen with whom I finally managed to connect at the con - and we were apparently having a good enough time over at our table that Michael Whelan, Artist GOH at this convention and the other Kaffeeklatsch host in the same room, had to peer over the partition that divided his table from ours to see what we were up to as we shrieked with laughter at some shared joke - and our table discussed cats, writing, languages, cultural experiences, encounters with weird bugs, Japlish signs (Pat contributed one from above a fridge in a hostelry she was saying at, "Please refrain from consuming others") and all that stuff. Then we were given the signal to quit by a kimono-clad young lady who came in bearing a handwritten sign which said "Finish!", and it was over, and that was Worldcon.

I brought in a heap of my little Worldweavers promotional post-its and they all went sometime between the beginning of the Hugo awards ceremony and the end of the Kaffeeklatsch, as did most of my bookmarks - all to the good. I met some interesting people and made some potentially good contacts and learned a few things that might be of interest in the days to come - but I was now free to roam Japan. carl_allery and green_knight and I repaired for dinner at a Japanese steak house and much fun was had with the menu, ENTIRELY in Japanese. We managed to get food, and it all panned out, but the random drink that green_knight pointed to on the menu was not as much of a success, turning out to be some kind of a non-alcoholic beer which was emphatically not what she had expected or wished for. So afterwards we went out and got dessert, drowning our sorrows in servings of delicious ice cream served by a crew of young women who worked while singing Disney ditties in Japanese ("Supercallifragilisticexpiallidocious" became something... quite different... and there's something totally surreal to listening to Japanese lyrics put to "Camptown Races" but which retained the unmistakable "doo daah, doo daah" as the refrain. The ice cream was great, though.

We came back via the waterfront again, took pictures of the magnificent Intercontinental glowing like a jewelled spaceship against the night, sat talking of cats and dogs and horses and people in the foyer for a while, and then went our separate ways. Tomorrow morning the plan is to meet at Yokohama station and go visit the Kamakura Buddha.

Breakfast at 8 AM. Tourist hat on. Report and pictures to come.

Over and out.