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Greetings Nerdalingers! Welcome back to Straight Outta Kanto – Ireland’s newest and weirdest Pokemon blog about nostalgia, nerd culture, nonsense… and more! We hope you enjoyed the summer break (we certainly did!) but now that it’s Back to School Season is upon us, it’s Back to Blogging for us!

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We are thrilled today to be interviewing one of the most promising conventions I’ve been to in recent years… J Con!

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Held for the first time November 2017 at Dublin’s Croke Park Stadium for one day, yours truly was gracing the Artist Alley with her Pokemon Creepypasta prints, and also mingling with cosplayers and fellow nerds, browsing the browsables, purchasing some saucy nerd goods and soaking up the over-all Otakurific atmosphere of the event.

This year I will be back in the Artist Alley (do please stop by my table and pester me with your Pokemon-problems, fan theories, Pocky sharing abilities and hugs – I accept all ❤ ) and I heartily beseech you guys to come along for the bigger and better J Con – it’s two days now! However, if you need more convincing than my puny efforts there… Let’s meet… J Con!

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[SOK:] Firstly, please tell me who you are in relation to J Con, what your role is and how long you’ve been a part of the team:

My name is Joe, I am the Director of J Con. (It seems I am also becoming known as “That J Con Guy”. So I have been part of it since the start! I have done some interpretation for Japanese guests at Akumakon, and organised a lot of different events. But this would be my first experience with really organising a con.

[SOK:] Were you apart of the J Con crew last year? How are you finding this year’s prep in comparison to last year’s? Is it crazier? A little less crazy? Just as crazy?

This year… is going okay! It is less crazy in the sense that we have the ball rolling from last year. But more crazy because we decided to expand to two days! So there are a lot more moving parts this year.

[SOK:] You guys are hosting J Con for two days this year as opposed to last year’s one day event – were you surprised at the turn out of last year’s con? The feedback as a trader/attendee my end was nothing but positive, how did you guys yourself find the feedback? Is that what prompted you to turn it into a bigger event?

We were delighted and surprised that so many people came along! And it seems like everyone enjoyed the day, and that is all we were aiming and hoping for. So now we are back being nervous wondering whether enough people will come along to make it all work. But we just want to organise a fun weekend for everyone! [SOK: And I’m sure it will be!]

[SOK:] What events/guests are you most psyched about having at this year’s con?

Everything! We are delighted to have a special guest voice actor, Kyle Hebert. His credits list is incredible, and he seems like an awesome dude. So we are excited to have him over.

Our cosplay guests, Nadia SK from Italy, and Cos Chloo and Shadow Sionnach from here, are wicked too, so we are absolutely psyched for the cosplay this year!

And then we will be having the amazing chef Yoshimi from Wa Café back again, YouTubers Super Eyepatch Wolf and CdawgVA, “Ireland’s Japanese Cuisine Queen” Fiona Uyema, there are too many things! [SOK: Dude, you’re making me hungry… this sounds amazing!]

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[SOK:] For future cons if you had a magic wishlist, what event/guest would you like to see grace the programme of events at J Con? Who would be your dream special guest? 

Hayao Miyazaki. And a real pokemon. [SOK: I. Can’t. Concur. Hard. ENOUGH!!!]

[SOK:] There’s been a lot of turbulence over the last couple of years with various conventions in Ireland either ending permanently or going on hiatus or new, smaller cons rising to the forefront and so forth, how do you think this “up in the air-ness” of the convention has effected the convention going fanbase? Has it at all? Are the fans still there but finding new cons? Where does J Con fit into all this? 

Yes, there has been a lot of changes and lots of happenings in the con scene! And it has definitely affected things. I suppose the biggest thing that affected us was the Gamer Con fiasco. People are just wary of new cons because of it. So we were like, “hold on a sec we have nothing to do with that! Judge us on us! We just want to organise a fun day?!” And starting out, especially for gaming cons, has become more difficult because of that.

In terms of cons coming and going… again it makes it difficult for people to go along to a new con, they aren’t sure whether they can trust a new event. Just like going to a new coffee shop, a new pub, or a new anything. I think part of the reason cons struggle to survive is because of the moolah. Fans might think Cons are cashing in all over the place… but it is quite the opposite! Eeeek! In reality, it is super difficult to organise a big event for €20 per person.

As for where J Con fits in… we have no idea, yet! We are in the same space as Eirtakon. But we don’t want people to expect the same thing, or think we are the same. We are a different con, ya know? A huge motivation for me with J Con, is to let people experience not only anime and manga and cosplay, but lots of traditional Japanese culture too. Speaking Japanese, calligraphy, trying Sake (if you’re over 18!), origami, etc etc. Hence the name, Japan Convention!! [SOK: Oh my giddy aunt, I think I’m going to digivolve my dragon balls with excitement here…!]

And at the end of the day, I probably repeat it too often but we just want people to come along, get good value for money and have lots of craic!

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[SOK:] What’s been your personal favourite convention experience/memory and do you feel that’s something you’d like to bring to J Con or is J Con and your own personal Con experiences totally separate? Or is a mix of all the cons incorporated somehow organically into convention planning?

Walking into Dublin Comic Con when it’s in mid flow, so many people in such a good mood, you can almost taste the craic in the air. It’s great! I also did a coffee stand and a Sake tasting at Akumakon, and that was really special!

[SOK:] Do you have any hilarious or embarrassing convention stories about J Con from last year that you wouldn’t be too humiliated to share? (We promise we won’t laugh… too hard!)

We could tell you, but we’d have to… [SOK: Oh, you saucy tease! That’s what they all say…!]

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[SOK:] As Pokemon is the name of the game here at Straight Outta Kanto, can you divulge to us any Pokemon related plans for this year’s J Con? Do you feel it’s a fandom that does or doesn’t need to represented too intensely at conventions by the organisers? Is there a place/market for hosting the Pokemon TCG/VCG events at conventions? 

There have been multiple sightings of wild Pikachu in the last few months… we sense there might be some kind of coming together of Pikachu?! Just a rumour so far though

Pokemon is great! It’s probably the single biggest gateway to Japan/anime/cons/being a nerd, so it will always have a place at cons. [SOK: It was certainly MY gateway Nerd Drug…!]

[SOK:] Ok. You’ve got a choice between Bulbasaur, Squirtle or Charmander as your starter ‘Mon… Who do you pick!?

Bulbasaur! 

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Thank you sooooo much to J Con for taking time out of their crazy busy schedule to come play with us for a while – I genuinely cannot wait for this year’s convention and I hope you guys are now convinced to come give it a whirl! Ah g’wan… Leave yer mammy’s basement for a while and go minlge with some non-digital humanoids…! 😉

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There we have it nerdlings! Keep watching the skeys, I mean skies!

For more information on Straight Outta Kanto, feel free to follow our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/StraightOuttaKanto91/ or join our group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1623889321229114/  

We are also now on Twitter @KantoOutta – follow us, we follow back!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

memea

 

 

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