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What must the citizens of Baltimore think...


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When over 22,000 Otaku take over the city for a weekend? When you look at it from the viewpoint of a regular, upstanding citizen of Baltimore who doesn't know much or anything at all about Otakon, it seems pretty funny yet totally bewildering. One day you're minding you're own business, and the next thing you know there's giant masses of people toting insane-looking costumes, giant swords, crazy fantasy weaponry, millions of glowsticks and other freaky-looking sorts of people filling the streets for an entire weekend.

Some take it kindly, while others... well, not so much. But for those who don't know about Otakon, it must be a whole world of confusion. Everyone asks you where you're going, where you're from, what you're supposed to be, why you're dressed that way, etc. And some people just look at you like you're growing an ear out of your forehead.

I've just been thinking lately how strange it must be for all the people of Baltimore to witness the phenomenon that Otakon is and how it literally TAKES OVER the downtown area.

I mean, dang... we must weird the living crap out of some of those people.

Not that I care, though. XD

And what about your experiences with the regulars of Baltimore? After all, it's gotta be a little tough trying to explain to the guy working at the street-corner Starbucks why you're in your Valor-form Sora costume.

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Well, Otakon has been there for 14 years now so the people are kinda used to it by now. When me and my friend were trying to find the convention center on Friday(which was right behind our hotel but we went out the wrong exit x_x) a guy asked us about our costumes saying that he've been seeing people with costumes also and we explained it and he said it was cool. ^_^

But of course, the locals are mainly older people that are not hip and with it so they're losers =_=

Jk Jk ^_^

I guess for open-minded locals, they would know what was going on with the convention since I'm pretty sure when they were little they use to dress up as a fairy or a fireman because they really liked them and wanted to be them. Cosplay is pretty much the same thing but from a different culture (i guess o_o).

I don't know if I made any sense... o_O

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I just love getting stuck in elevator at the hotel with a regular tourist. It pretty much goes like this:

"......"

"....>_>"

"......"

".....^_^"

*tourist gets off elevator*

"....._.0"

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I don't know about Baltimore but, a couple years ago at Otakon I was in the nearby Mc'Donalds. The place was jammed full of otaku, many in costume.

There were four older gentlement sitting at a table drinking coffee and talking. Looks like they had been there all day.

I overheard one of them say to the other, "I think it's some kind of transvestite convention."

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Some are genuinely curious. Others don't get it. Thursday afternoon a friend and I were headed over to Light Street Pavilion to grab some food. These two men asked what the heck was going on, and I explained.

Last year, while I was in costume as a Power Ranger I passed by this family on the sidewalk, who seemed intrigued by this "costume party."

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I just love getting stuck in elevator at the hotel with a regular tourist.

These are my favorite moments because I try to make conversation:

::I walk on::

Me:Sup/Yo/Hey

Him: Responds

::Pause::

Him:Pretty crazy weekend huh?

Me: Yep!

::Another pause::

Me: So what are you here for?

Him: Oh me? Oh I uh...vacation/business.

Me: Hows that working out for you?

Him: Oh...its working alright...yeah...

Me: Oh yeah?

::Doors open::

"Catch ya Later!"

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This past convention when I was dressed as Luke from Tales of the Abyss, I was with some friends at the Inner Harbor Food Court, and an older man came up to me asking questions. He told me every year he looks forward to the convention coming, cause he "loves the costumes and people". So score at least one local who doesn't hate us. :)

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My mom calls me in the evening or over the weekend and says "I saw so many Sailor Moon and Otakonites this weekend in the line on my way into work." She thinks it's hilarious.

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the 7-11 clerks got a kick out of the group of russian soldiers that came in to buy sluripes..

haha that was fun, but most people just stopped and starred as my group walked by, one guy did stick his head out of his car and yell 'SOLID SNAKE!!!" at our group's snake, I thought that was pretty cool,

yeah we had a couple idiots talking trash on our way back, but most people were either really confused or thought it was really cool.

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My experience.

Well, not really mine but I had a friend of mine rooming with me a year ago that dressed in a blue maromi at the con. She tends to chant around the phrase "You should allll kill yourselves!" while shambling around in that outfit.

Well it happens to be that the Yankees were in town and she got into the elevator in the outfit full of the fans and after a lot of chatter, the elevator got quiet and she let out quietly "You should allll kill yourselves!" At the next stop, regardless of floor, everyone except for two attendeese and some staffer was laughing afterwards.

I file that under "I wish I videotaped that and shoved it on YouTube"

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I think most of them are pretty cool about it. It seems like a lot of people have a genuine interest about it, and enjoy seeing all the different costumes and such. But, at the same time of course there's going to be people wondering what the heck is going on and passing it off as some "stupid cartoon thing" or something along those lines.

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The taxi drivers apparently refer to us as "the aliens". One guy said "Makes the city look alive, so it's kinda fun. Like halloween." They do wish some of the kids would learn how to tip, though. :P

I know workers in several nearby office buildings and they enjoy watching out for the big long line.

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I think it's very odd for so many people within a subculture (or a sub-subculture if we're just talking about the people who dress up?) to have such hostile views against people with different views on normality while at the same time striving to have their lifestyle accepted by the the same masses.

'Idiots', 'losers', 'people who just don't get it'... seems like it's the same name-calling from both sides. It's better to be positive, IMO. :P

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you know murmasa. what you said actually made sense. but when people on the street start to trash talk and make threats just because you are in costume is not fair. i guess i will try to find another word for them besides idiot. maybe ignorant to another culture is more fair

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Walking back to my hotel while still in cosplay this year, some lady rolled down her window and asked me what was going on. I was standing next to some guy I didn't know and we both yelled back to her "Otakon! It's an anime convention!"

She just said "oh", gave us a frown and rolled up the window. The guy and I had a great laugh over it as we crossed the street XD

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you know murmasa. what you said actually made sense. but when people on the street start to trash talk and make threats just because you are in costume is not fair. i guess i will try to find another word for them besides idiot. maybe ignorant to another culture is more fair

Right on. :-)

Normalcy is such a bizarre thing, and completely defined by popularity. Look at popular dress styles from the 70s & 80s, the punk scene, the goth scene, etc... everyone is made fun of by someone else, IMO it's just how you handle it that dictates how much trouble you're going to run into. I'm not really sure where some of the surprise at the behavior of the bmore residents comes from; Experience suggests to me that if you're going to walk around city streets with unnaturally colored hair and big props, you're going to draw a lot of attention to yourself.

I guess what I'm getting at is if people aren't thick-skinned enough to handle a bit of light insulting (that they're already anticipating!) for dressing in a highly abnormal way, maybe they shouldn't dress up and then whine about it on the internet. Kudos to those who say 'eff it' and have fun with it.

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upstanding citizen of Baltimore
having been a resident of the baltimore area for almost twenty years, i can tell you with absolute certainty that this right here is an oxymoron.

as long as your cosplay doesn't involve baggy pants that are down to your knees and allowing boxers and thongs to show, and as long as you don't smell like the drink you have concealed in a paper bag you're carrying, and as long as your reason for getting people's attention doesn't involve asking them for money they can spare, you're probably an improvement over what most of us are used to seeing in the city.

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Us Marylanders are not proud of Baltimore. 200 murders this year alone and a dying bay are all it's really known for. Otakon is the only thing that will bring me to set foot on its soil if I can help it :)

Please don't presume to speak for all Marylanders.

I grew up just outside Baltimore City proper, off Eastern Avenue. I now live in Columbia but work in Rockville.

I've also traveled to 20 or 30 major US cities, and been to Paris and Tokyo -- and by far, I'd prefer Baltimore to the vast majority of them.

The murder count in Baltimore is a function of being a major transportation hub (land, sea, and air), which makes it a key stop in the drug trade. Most of the murders are drug-related, and confined to very specific areas.

Your chances of being a victim of a crime while visiting Baltimore as a tourist are pretty low.

Depending on what you're there for, and where you go, any city in the world can look like a hell-hole; seldom does news coverage talk about anything other than crime, and of course TV viewers mostly know us from Homicide, John Waters or Barry Levinson films, or documentaries about the drug trade.

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I just love getting stuck in elevator at the hotel with a regular tourist.

These are my favorite moments because I try to make conversation:

::I walk on::

Me:Sup/Yo/Hey

Him: Responds

::Pause::

Him:Pretty crazy weekend huh?

Me: Yep!

::Another pause::

Me: So what are you here for?

Him: Oh me? Oh I uh...vacation/business.

Me: Hows that working out for you?

Him: Oh...its working alright...yeah...

Me: Oh yeah?

::Doors open::

"Catch ya Later!"

Reminds me of Spider-Man 2 when Peter was in the Elevator in costume and Hal Sparks was talking to him about his costume, lol.

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my mother used to work right across the street from the con center. Once she stopped working there she said "I'll miss my Otakon years". lol, she loved seeing all the people.

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Though I think it is fair to say that while Baltimore is a decent city, "normal" and "upstanding" are still not particularly appropriate adjectives for its residents. Maybe that's just from living in Charles Village for four years.

Actually, my story goes like this. It was in 2005 or 2006, and a lady in the passenger seat of an SUV rolled down her window and asked me what was going on. (They usually think I'm a reporter or something.) Specifically, she asked, "What's with all the people in funny clothes?"

I replied, "There's a baseball game going on in that stadium over there!"

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What happned to me,

I was walking to a burger King, passing by the hotel i was rooming in for a night.

I was dressed as a defender for a Kingdom Hearts spinn-off, and

Some lady looks at me as me and my friends pass by and says,

"aww look at chall' with your cute little costumes"

It was pretty funny.

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The murder count in Baltimore is a function of being a major transportation hub (land, sea, and air), which makes it a key stop in the drug trade. Most of the murders are drug-related, and confined to very specific areas.

Your chances of being a victim of a crime while visiting Baltimore as a tourist are pretty low.

Depending on what you're there for, and where you go, any city in the world can look like a hell-hole; seldom does news coverage talk about anything other than crime, and of course TV viewers mostly know us from Homicide, John Waters or Barry Levinson films, or documentaries about the drug trade.

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OO!! I have one experience I can tell you! It was my second otakon and like I had to go to a school orientation for a week. Perfectly enough i was going to walk to Otakon, so I just figured I would dress for the ocassion to school for the fact of ease. So I walk into the school *baltimorians, do you know Digital Harbor and National Academy Foundation highschools?I

and I was dressed as a dog girl. and my teacher and class held this conversation with me:

"It's not halloween you know."

"...what are you wearing?"

"<<Uh>>"

"....<< *inches away slowly*"

"=D!"

"This is going to be a loong year."

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Guest Tatsuri1

I live in Baltimore and although I'm very fimilar with otakon there a times when I'm annoyed by it. Like this year when I went to my favorite resturant which is normally empty but it was so full there was a waiting line. At that time I would cuss otakon because it brings to many people there that it completely interfers with my normal everyday life. On the other hand its kinda cool to see everyone dressed up and it entertains my younger cousins, so they always look forward to Otakon because they can leugh and spot their favorite characters. There are a lot of downsides to otakon buts its all for good fun and only last for the weekend so we just have to deal with it. If they were to move Otakon to another location, I'm sure people would walk downtown one day and go "Hey, I didn't see all those people dressed up this year. I wonder what happened?"

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The group I was staying with and I were taking a shortcut from our hotel to the convention center, and we walked through a plaza. We were dressed pretty fancy and it did look like we had allot of money( truthfully we did int, Especially me.) A man walked away from a group of people, after talking to them and came over to us. He then looked at all of us and said slowly.."Do you have any extra money"? At the same time, the whole group said "No." Because we all knew that people in this area of baltimore just act like their poor to get free(lol free,) cash. Any one else get any leaches on them, Sucking you for your money?( people asking you for cash?)

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Yeah, I was just down in Comic-con, and man, empty as can be, lol. It was really weird, but I enjoyed my self. I did have a guy hit us up who handed us a paper asking if we would donate to the hearing disabled. Due to the reputation of the area though, I had a feeling he wasn't the real deal, not to mention the look he has when he wasn't approaching anyone. If anyone could verify this dude, that would be cool.

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The group I was staying with and I were taking a shortcut from our hotel to the convention center, and we walked through a plaza. We were dressed pretty fancy and it did look like we had allot of money( truthfully we did int, Especially me.) A man walked away from a group of people, after talking to them and came over to us. He then looked at all of us and said slowly.."Do you have any extra money"? At the same time, the whole group said "No." Because we all knew that people in this area of baltimore just act like their poor to get free(lol free,) cash. Any one else get any leaches on them, Sucking you for your money?( people asking you for cash?)
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The same goes for Boston and Hartford. When I went to Anime Boston for the first time as Spike Spiegel, my sister and I were waiting in line at a Dunkin Donuts at The Pru. We were waiting in line and a man asks us if this was a video game convention, I told him that it was an Anime convention. His wife knew what I was talking about when I brought up Adult Swim. In Hartford when I was at CTCon I remember people asking me what it was and I tell them the same thing.

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Otakon 07 was my very first con ever. I went to Unos with a friend to get dinner while dressed as Faye Valentine and during our walk to get there we passed a group of bimbos getting out of a limo for some insipid bachelorette party. I remember after passing the group I heard an "Oh....my....GOD!" so I just loudly mocked her "Oh my god, oh my GOD!" it was pretty funny.

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I grew up just outside Baltimore City proper, off Eastern Avenue. I now live in Columbia but work in Rockville.

Whereabouts? I grew up in Essex about 5 minutes from Eastern Avenue/Middlesex shopping center.

I grew up in the no-man's land between Essex, Dundalk, and Highlandtown -- by Eastpoint Mall. (Boy has that area gone downhill in the last decade or two...)

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SailorV have you also been to CTCon? Also when I was at AB 06, I overheard some lady saying something about a "Weirdo convention." How silly.
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banana hammock!

nah i think most people that see it are either used to it/intrigued and want to know whats going on but dont have the courage to say anything. i mean i know when i first when to otakon, i was also like many of those people we see gawking at us and staring like we have a gigantic duct tape katana hanging on our backs...ahem.

all i know is if philly had a con that brought masses of people dressed in anime costumes, i'd love every minute of it.

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*baltimorians, do you know Digital Harbor and National Academy Foundation highschools?

You're braver than I am, to wear a costume on not-Halloween to Digital Harbor.

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You're braver than I am, to wear a costume on not-Halloween to Digital Harbor.

=D what can I say? >> I'm the tolkien asian kid in the anime club. XDD <<Besides>> wait ur a DH student aren't u? *sry for being off topic*

No, I'm a junior up at MICA on Mt Royal Ave, in Bolton Hill.

...Honestly, most everybody I've met in Baltimore just smiles and nods when the con comes to town (if they even notice it - a lot of the professors and staff at MICA give me a '...huh?' look when I say that I staffed Otakon. It's not until I say "You know, that huge convention over the summer where everyone dresses up and lines up around the building?" that they say, "Oh yeah, I remember that!").

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You're braver than I am, to wear a costume on not-Halloween to Digital Harbor.

=D what can I say? >> I'm the tolkien asian kid in the anime club. XDD <<Besides>> wait ur a DH student aren't u? *sry for being off topic*

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  • 4 weeks later...

When I was walking to the con on Friday, my friend ran across the street with 2 seconds left on the walking timey thing. I was dressed as Kid from Chrono Cross, and was so excited, I forgot to put on socks with the most uncomfortable brown books with two inch heels. I couldn't run across the street. So I had this extremely long pause with some woman standing next to me.

She was obviously headed to work and she gave me the oddest stare. When we started walking I looked so ridiculous crossing the street. I had to hold my dagger because it kept scraping my legs. When we got across the street I swear, she sped up and practically started running.

Also, when we were heading home on Saturday, there was a red light so we crossed, and this guy in a huge truck revved the engine and missed us by TWO INCHES! I was scared! ;.;

Then, on Saturday, some guy was high and walking near us. Then some cop pulled up beside him and he hightailed it. The cop ran out and tackled him and called other units. The guy was yelling, "I didn't do nuthin!"

Last, when we were leaving on Sunday, I was walking down the road, and some girl drove by and shouted out her window, "I love you Kid!"

Oh and some hotel worker asked what was going on, when we told him Otakon and described it, he said, "Oh...there are some really cool costumes...I guess."

Not to mention there was a wedding at the church by the convention center on Saturday...they didn't seem very happy. ><

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LMAO i didn't do nuthin! that sucksssssss. well i think the 2 coolest things that happened to me was.

1. When i was in the dealers room walking around (cosplaying wolfwood BTW) these 2 girls ran up and hugged me and said "I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD!!, I AM SO HAPPY YOU'RE ALIVE!" I gave them the coolest answer ever to why i was alive me-" There is still something I have to do" SOOO coool ><

2. The fight with neo and superman inside by the escalators. those bastards are tough :D

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