Yet another year of Ad Astra is in the books! This was my 3rd year in attendance, and once again I was invited to participate as a stage ninja. The convention took place a bit earlier this year than it usually does, and the burst of snowy weather from earlier in the week took a big dent out of the attendance, but it was still a very enjoyable experience.

I went to a few panels about things like comics, web comics, and Japanese clothing, all of which were pretty informative. At the dealers’ room I bought the Batman manga by Kia Asamiya and 2 amazingly beautiful artbooks from Dark Horse, one about Star Wars and the other about Alien and Predator. All worthy additions to the library, and all had for a decent price.

During the masquerade I was again in the role of a catcher, meaning I was to be a person who sacrifices one’s body to protect a performer should someone accidently fall off the stage. Luckily, there were no accidents. However, I didn’t get a free pass for the night. For one particular skit, all the stage ninjas had to go up on stage and, well, get killed. So I took a dive for a certain fictional character that, due to certain values and viewpoints I have, I would rather not disclose. The audience seemed to enjoy it though, and it all worked out in the end because he gave me a ride in his car to the subway later on.

I usually only go to this show for one day, and I figured that would be the case again this time, but I smartened up and figured that staying at home and doing nothing was boring and that didn’t make any sense when there was fun to be had elsewhere. So I went on both Saturday and Sunday, and I’m really glad I did. When I showed up on Sunday, I met up with the head ninja and went up to the head ninja hotel room accompanied by a luggage cart. When it was announced that both the luggage cart and I had been found, I was told that I am better than a luggage cart. That was a very nice thing to hear. However, the cart was better at doing what it was meant to do than I would have been.

Most of the time was spent hanging around and just shooting the breeze, and quite frankly I wouldn’t have wanted anything else. It’s been far too long since I’ve really been able to do that. After the show ended on Sunday, a big group of us convention people went to a resturant called “Memories of Japan” for some teppanyaki, which is when the chef cooks your food right in front of you on these large grilling surfaces connected to your table. It was totally awesome. The chef was really intense, looked very busy, and did an incredible job. It was the best food I have had in a long time. I could go for some more right now.

All in all, this weekend was the most fun I’ve had in several months. As usual though, that had more to do with the people there than the actual convention itself. And I am really thankful to those people because I sure as hell needed to go and have a good time for a change, since things have still kinda been in that “not so good” sort of mode for a long time now. Towards the end of the show a lot of people were feeling really tired and run down from all the fun they were having, but I felt surprisingly healthy and charged up! I’m hoping that feeling lasts. I could really use it!



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