I just spent an awesome week in Japan, and an awesome weekend at Hal-Con, where I was a guest of honor! It was pretty excellent. It’s a fairly small convention, well-run, and they took great care of me. Which was extra-important considering I speak about two words of Japanese; I can, if pressed, say “Hello” and “Thank you.”
The convention put together a book of several pieces of my short fiction, translated into Japanese:
With a fabulous dinosaur on the cover, and lovely illustrations inside, all by my fellow GoH Nozomu Tamaki.
It was an honor and a pleasure to meet everyone. The convention staff did a great job–I know even for a small con there’s a lot of work involved, and most of it will be invisible if you do it right.
The convention was the perfect finish to a week of doing touristy things–I wanted to see at least a little of Japan while I was there. I highly recommend the Edo Tokyo Museum, if you like museums, which I do. And I stayed at an onsen in Gora and took hot spring baths and ate wonderful food (and leveled up my previously more-or-less adequate chopstick skillz). By the time I got to the con, I could eat without (mostly) embarrassing myself, and my sleep schedule was on the verge of adjusting to the fourteen-hour time difference (just in time to fly back home and do it again!), though not quite there.
I don’t tend to take a lot of pictures, unless I’m explicitly doing research on something and think I need pics for future reference, but I did take one or two of the view out my hotel window in Numazu:
And one of some lovely fish-shaped cakes a reader gave me as a gift:
Okay, those aren’t really cakes. The two in the middle are pancakes with bean paste inside, and the top and bottom ones are a kind of wafer-cookie sandwich, also filled with bean paste. Still. Close enough.
I will close out with some frozen coelacanths, from the aquarium in Numazu, which was one of the venues for the GoH dinner on Saturday night:
If your mind works like mine does, you will want to know that the tour guide at the aquarium informed us that coelacanth doesn’t taste like much of anything, and is very oily and gristly (ISTR the exact description was “like chewing on a toothbrush”). That wasn’t firsthand information, but the guide could tell us from her own experience that giant isopod, when cooked, tastes like chicken.
Thanks again to the folks at Hal-Con, for inviting me and for all their hard work to make the weekend such a success!