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David D. Levine
31 August 2007 @ 11:53 pm
...in the middle of the Worldcon. The convention is small but definitely a Worldcon, with a much higher than usual proportion of non-US fans even if you ignore the Japanese. I've appeared on two program items so far, both of which went very well despite the fact that I was the only panelist who showed up for the second one (we dragooned Jordin Kare from the audience, and Esther Friesner did eventually appear, an hour late due to no fault of her own). I also had a kaffeeklatch, for which no one signed up, but I had a nice time talking with Donya White who had been assigned as timekeeper for the panel. Also attended several good program items, including Bob Eggleton rhapsodizing about Godzilla and a talk by George Takei.

We have continued to do well with the food: we've eaten very good udon, okonomiyaki, tonkatsu, etc. and the worst culinary disaster was a slight kerfuffle over paying for some bento. Every time I think we've eaten every major Japanese cuisine we come across another one I'd forgotten. Plus killer gelato. Went to Chinatown for lunch and got very confused about what country we're in (the Brazilian-style charrascuria, with the usual artistically-crafted plastic food displayed out front, was the last brain-exploding detail).

The Japanese language study we did before the con is paying off handsomely. The thing I'm most glad about (after basics like "I'll have one of those," "where is the bathroom," and "please forgive me, I am a stupid foreigner") is being able to read the written language (hiragana and katakana). Even the limited ability I have to painstakingly sound out words letter by letter is better than not being able to read signs at all, and makes possible such things as getting on the right train and choosing the strawberry-filled over the squid-eyeball-filled pastry.

Just came back to our room from the usual round of bid parties. As usual they were hot and crowded, but at this con they are slightly unusual in that they are held in rooms with tatami floors, which require taking your shoes off.