Taiyou Con 2013 Photos and Report

Convention Photos:
Photography Banzai: Friday, Saturday, Maid Cafe, Masquerade, Sunday
Gallery Site: Friday, Saturday, Maid Cafe, Masquerade, Sunday
Facebook (tag-able): Friday, Saturday, Maid Cafe, Masquerade, Sunday

Also check out my related Taiyou Con 2013 photography article on photographybanzai.com.

I was able to attend a convention far outside of my usual stomping grounds. I found out the convention existed through a fan page of one of the guests. It seemed like a good way to start a visit with my aunt and uncle that I occasionally see while they are living in Arizona.

I might as well mention the added bonus that I've used twice before. My home city has a smaller airport that has a direct flight to Mesa, AZ. It might be a bit more expensive than O'Hare in Chicago, but it is extremely easy If you are a resident of either the Scottsdale/Mesa, AZ area or Rockford metro, IL area. The Rockford Airport (RFD), for example, has free parking and you can expect the check-in and security screening process to take only a few minutes. There is a flight to Vegas I'd like to try out if I can someday afford the flight and hotel costs for a convention I've heard of near the airport.

Taiyou con (Facebook page link) is a convention in Mesa Arizona that was on its third year for 2013. The convention floor consisted of an area past what I assume was the main lobby of the Hilton. Some of the panel rooms and the dealer's room were a bit small, but the rest of the areas such as the artists alley and main programming rooms were spacious.  The main area with artists booths was the one I spent most of my time in.  It was a good photography area with skylight in the daytime and enough room to not cause any traffic flow issues if I asked for a picture.
The main area with artists booths had enough room to work in.
I need to mention the badge. They had a map of the convention on the back! This is a great idea and I ended up using it a few times before I knew where all of the panel rooms were located. I arrived late Friday and registration was out of program books, so the badge helped. Nicely done.

My time at the convention consisted of about two hours on Friday night and full days on Saturday and Sunday. I ended up with around 715 raw files before my edit and selection process.

I was able to attend a few events and panels such as the Masquerade, Voice actor Q&A, Cosplay for Beginners, and the Maid Cafe to name a few. All of the panels and events that I did attend were interesting and informative. There was one quirk in regard to placement and scheduling that I noticed at the "Cosplay for Beginners" panel. Whatever event was scheduled next to it had extremely loud music playing half of the time, making it hard to follow what the panelist was saying. It is difficult to fault the convention though, because this happens at most to some degree.  Especially with smaller conventions that don't have as many options available to isolate louder events.
The Masquerade award session.
This was my first time attending a maid cafe at a convention. This specific event was $10 for up to an hour of activities such as go-fish, special maid skills like caricature art drawings, general small talk, dancing, and group activities like jan-ken-pon to win a prize. I'll probably try other ones at future conventions in my area. I decided to pay an extra $5 for an instant photo of me with the two maids that handled the table I was at.
My table maids and one of the other customers.
The difficult thing about attending a convention outside of your area (in my case many states apart) is that you probably won't know anyone. I haven't experienced this in a long time, but had that situation at Taiyou Con more than I've ever had before. It's a good and bad thing. Good because I can meet a lot of new people and do some networking, but bad because I'm not exactly the best at doing that. I did strike up some conversation with a few photographers I randomly ran into. It's a bit more difficult to talk with cosplayers for various reasons. Usually, I just ask and then take their photo without even making small talk afterward. I don't want to take more of their time unless they make some type of indication they want to talk. They rarely if ever do that, so I just move on to the next photo opportunity that presents itself. Photography itself is a good way to enjoy the convention, so I use it in that respect and always have a good and busy time. Like many have said before, conventions are what you make them. It's up to you to make them enjoyable.

You can tell the girl in the background knows how to have a good time at conventions.
The one somewhat familiar face at the convention was the photographer of Cosplay in America. I talked with him a bit and also hung around his booth on occasion to take hallway cosplay photos. It was a good location that wasn't usually busy. You can check out his site and the video he made for the convention. If you look closely, you can see I seemed to have "videobombed" his video on two occasions toward the end.
Cosplay in America interviewing a cosplayer.
Overall, I really enjoyed the convention. I never once had any issues with staff and thought things ran smoothly. They did a good job making the convention a success. I'm not sure when I'll be able to visit another convention in the west due to the expense, but I would like to eventually make it out for more.

Also check out my related Taiyou Con 2013 photography article on photographybanzai.com.

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