Ticktank’s English Guide to Comiket (コミケット) Part 4: Event & final notes
Here’s the final part of my excessively long guide on the Comiket. In this section, I will touch on several issues that would be of relevance when you are actually at the event itself.
Spartans, tonight we dine in smell.
Your clothes will be wet, your hands greasy, you’ll be frequently rubbing shoulders and squeezing past people. You may be standing in a line under the hot sun for up to an hour, surrounded by sweaty men and women. For guys, they will learn that despite what their mothers have been teaching them, girls actually can sweat buckets, and really can stink too. I’m not trying to discourage you from attending, just giving you an idea of what to typically expect there during a Summer Comiket. I’ve seen crazy girls cosplaying in THICK costumes when its 36 degrees C. Right under the hot sun may I add. If they can endure that just to be ogled at, so can you. The key thing to remember is to keep yourself well hydrated, as mentioned in part 1 of this FAQ.
This attendee failed to hydrate herself sufficiently. Don’t make the same mistake.
Err…I see girls selling hentai thats meant for guys.
Well no shit Sherlock (or Sheryl, if you’re a girl). Welcome to Japan. This is one of the things about Japanese culture I really like – the openness of both genders towards sex and pornography, instead of trying to be pretentious about it like most other societies. Because in all honesty, sex shouldn’t be something to be embarassed or disgusted about, unless you were born from a test tube.
It might be quite unsettling for first timers, or prudes – to see a cute young Japanese girl behind a table, peddling and selling you doujinshis depicting hardcore tentacle action. But you’ll get used to it in no time. You know what you’re going to do with the hentai later, and she knows it too (and maybe some more), and she doesn’t care. The final shocker? Some hentai (not yaoi) doujinshis and drawn and produced by women! I love that country.
I realized that my guide didn’t mention much about the cosplaying scene at Comiket. To be honest, its simply because I’ve never paid much attention to them, and don’t want to pretend that I have good knowledge on this issue. What I do know however is that taking pictures of cosplayers without their consent is forbidden (ask for their permission first). This rule will be quite prominently repeated in the guidelines and catalog. Comiket staff would also be ‘patrolling’ around to enforce this rule, sometimes quite unpolitely.
Consumption & Disposal issues
Where to get lunch there? Should I even have lunch?
I do not recommend eating at any restaurants inside or near the convention center. The prices there are ridiculous and deliberately made so to exploit the weak-willed and ill-prepared. There’s a McDonalds within walking distance of the Big Sight, but its usually jam-packed with customers, and littered with trash.
If you’re an overweight pig/sow or close to being one, this is a excellent opportunity to shed some pounds and get a tan. Have a nice big breakfast in the morning before you start queuing, and let dinner be your next meal of the day. Or if you simply must have lunch, consider packing something light and non-messy into your bag. You can usually find an empty spot on the pavement outside the halls to sit down and eat, bearing in mind of course that time spent eating is time not spent browsing for goods. And you only have 6 hours a day. 😛
Zorndyke has flooded my ocean. I need to use the toilet.
Easier said than done I know, but I’ll still say it anyway – try not to use the toilet while you’re there. Toilets are plentiful, but hardly enough to meet the demands of the thousands of attendees. You will most likely have to line up to use the toilet, and it eats into your shopping time. The queues to the female toilets are even longer, and according to a female friend, can take up to 30 minutes to get in. Don’t expect the toilets to be clean either. I’ll leave this part for you to discover for yourself (lol).
Departure & Conclusion
Exit procedures – when should I leave and what should I take note of?
Unlike some wars fought in the 21st Century (usually in places with lots of sand), it is possible and advisable to have an exit strategy prepared in advance before you umm…invade the Comiket. First off, you shouldn’t force yourself to stay till 4PM. In fact, most attendees, including myself tend to leave around 3PM, to avoid transportation jams. If your shopping list is realistic, it is likely that you would have completed all your visiting/buying within 2 hours. The thick crowds and terrible heat inside can really wear you down quickly, and even casual browsing can get tiring after an hour. My advice is to head back when there’s really nothing productive left to do, or if your body is starting to feel unwell. Remember that you will have to transport all your loot back to the hotel, so make sure you have the energy to do that. I’ve seen people faint while queuing for a Taxi/Bus.
Be mentally prepared for more queuing when you leave. From as early as 12PM, the major transportation options would start to have queue lines, and these will be constantly growing until about 3PM, when the majority of attendees would be leaving. The shortest queues would be the Taxi queues, because not everyone can afford the fares. The Taxi stand at Kokusai-Tenjijo Station tends to have the shortest queues, but you will have to walk abit more to get there. Bus queues are very long, and there is no shelter (but the bus stand is within the Big Sight). Train queues are surprisingly quite smooth, UNLESS you didn’t buy your return tickets in advance (fool!). Oh, and expect to be crammed like sardines inside the trains.
Verg…do not take too many risks. We will be praying for your safety…
Being the largest comic convention in the world, the Comiket is one event all anime/comic fans should visit at least once in their lifetime, in my humble opinion. Because of the scale of the event, the limited opening hours and the sheer amount of attendees, preparation and planning is strongly advised. I hope this guide has been at least a little helpful to you. I appreciate comments and suggestions, as always. Goodluck, stay hydrated, and come back alive!