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Anime Expo and the Nationwide Attraction

Anime expo crowd

Anime expo is one of the world’s largest anime conventions. It takes place once a year and is held at the LA convention center in downtown Los Angeles.

One of the interesting things about this convention is the sheer scale of audiences that it attracts. I do not and have not worked behind the scenes of how Anime Expo works but here are some of my speculations on the reasons why this convention is as big as it is.

Anime expo is based on Japanese culture. Japanese culture is enormous across the United States and around the world, ranging from video games, manga, anime, television dramas, and even fashion and music. Almost every aspect of Japanese culture has found its way into American culture.final fantasy cosplay

Anime and manga contains multiple types of genres ranging from action, romances, adult, and have even included certain video games as well. The sheer range of different genres of stories that anime and manga contains is one of the reasons why it is so popular. It is simple to read and watch at anyone’s leisure and there are hundreds of different stories.

Audience and content

The thing about anime and manga is that it can be broken down into dozens of different genres.Japanese writers and artists can be extremely creative and every story can be very unique. Since the genres that they write come in a huge variety of themes, this allows consumption of media that is interesting for people of all ages, young and adult.

Anime fans, video game fans, cosplay fans, there are also tons of things to do here that cater to everyone’s interests.

Arts and crafts

Anime and manga are both forms of art, which is also a reason that it appeals to so many people, regardless of their age and can build on nostalgia for older audiences.

Artists will try to mimic the artwork and create their own versions. Writers will attempt to write fanfictions or their own manga and sometimes branch off into drawing their own artwork. Animators will try to create AMV’s of their favorite series and showcase their animation skills. People who enjoy creating small memorabilia and keychains can also craft their own toys and gadgets of their favorite characters. The range of content that can be created from a single anime or manga series is absolutely endless and is limited to each person’s imagination.

kill la kill cosplayCosplay

People who enjoy wearing costumes of their favorite characters during times other than Halloween can have the chance to show off their best designs. Whether it is an intricate, handmade design or one that was put together in two minutes, many cosplayers come to the event solely for showcasing their designs. There are many professional and amateur photographers that attend and many professional cosplayers will try expose their work to as many of these photographers as they can in hopes to go viral.

Cosplayers usually also have fun here by joining the organized specifically themed meetups. These meetups tend to be massive depending on the theme and are a huge attraction for those who want to see a large group of their favorite characters together.

Exhibition halls

The exhibition halls in the convention center allows many vendors and artists to sell their products and artwork. The exhibition hall is massive and is one of the biggest attractions at Anime Expo. The audiences that travel from all over the United States come to the exhibition hall and will sometimes purchase as much merchandise as they can since it is an event they can only attend once a year of this scale.

People fly across the country to participate in this event.

aerialLA-new-2

Taking place in the heart of downtown LA, the Anime Expo convention attracts all the local anime fans in the populous city as well as tourists all over the world. The event also takes place during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, which allows a flexibility in time to be able to plan and show up to the four day event. Being located in LA, people who fly in from across the country  will be able to use the weekend as a mini vacation to visit the sunny city.

The area is it also surrounded by many hotels and famous restaurants in the area, allowing for many local businesses to be able to benefit from the event as well. Special promotions on nearby hotels will also be available when you purchase event tickets and also include free shuttle service to the convention center. Some of these famous hotels are Luxe City Center Hotel, JW Marriott, Residence Inn, Westin Bonaventure, and Courtyard LA Live

Promotion

Being a four day event, Anime Expo has taken the initiative to start its promotions not too long after their prior event has ended. Sales on four day passes begin as early as November during the Black Friday sales. These passes go on sale in the $50 range for a four day pass. This is a very valuable promotion since attendees who decide to wait until the last minute to purchase passes could pay up to 40% more.

Promotions for the event also start very early because the organization knows that people will be flying from all over the country to attend the event. By promoting early, this allows all the non-local attendees and vendors to plan their trips by booking their flights early as well as reserving hotel space.

EcoSystem

Putting it all together, Anime Expo takes a simple concept of a convention for anime and manga enthusiasts and have successfully created a massive ecosystem that combines many similar niches to their industry. Western style comics such as Marvel and DC characters can sometimes make cameo appearances at the convention. Video game characters that have artwork that have similar drawing styles also appear. A noteworthy mention is League of Legends, which in the last few years, have attained huge popularity in this audience group.

Anime expo has come a long way from its early years. The way that it can bring in audiences from outside the Anime world is exactly how innovation in the new marketing world works. Amazon started off selling books and is now a massive retail, fulfillment and logistics center. Anime Expo has essentially achieved the same for its industry and I do not expect it to slow down anytime soon. It is not driven solely on anime and manga itself but it feeds off of the interests of their target audiences.

Do you agree with any of my points? Why do you think Anime Expo is as large as it is?

-Gary

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Reasons why RSS feeds are highly efficient and can improve your productivity

Do you have a bunch of websites that you frequent but you are still manually going to each site one at a time? I used to do that. I hated doing that. It was so much work to go through ten to twenty sites one at a time because I had no good system to go through it.

Then I found Feedly, an RSS feed that consolidates all the websites that I enjoy reading and neatly organizes them by categories.

Efficiency

Finding Feedly was a huge timesaver. I usually go through all my feeds once a day and I can go through them in about ten to fifteen minutes. I sift through all the headlines that I find interesting, open up all my tabs and go through them one at a time. If there is an article that I do not find interesting, I close it and move on to the next thing. There is no point in forcing yourself to read something you don’t want to, right?

tumblr_meqdypNNsH1rqeb09o1_1280Organization

Feedly is one of the popular ones and it is a good start for anyone who reads tons of articles everyday. I have not used any other RSS reader other than this but one of the features that I really like is that it can organize by categories. You can put all your business blogs together, your marketing, food, fashion, and so on. I have tons of blogs saved on my account and it continues to grow so having that organization aspect is really important to have.

For those who don’t like having to open up their favorite blogs one at a time everyday, it is highly recommended that you find an RSS reader to manage your daily readings. There are many other different readers aside from Feedly, and it is up to you which one will fit your preferences. Feedly is one of the popular ones and it is a good start for anyone who reads tons of articles everyday.

How do you go through your articles everyday? Share in the comments below!

-Gary


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Maximizing your Reading Habits

For the last few months, I have come to a realization that I do not read enough books. I read a lot of articles online and use Feedly as my main channel to consolidate different websites and blogs but I seemed to have simply stopped reading actual books.

Books are a great source of information and I try to learn at least one new thing a day. When I realized that I do not read as often as I used to, I began looking into different ways other people implement reading back into their daily routines. Many of the most successful people in this world do not stop reading books and I want to imitate their habits.

There are many different reasons to read books. It can be for entertainment, knowledge, mental stimulation or if you are a writer, improving your writing skills. Currently, the main reason I am reading books is to expand my knowledge of different subjects and specializations.

I consider myself a fairly efficient person and I tend to cut out as many steps as I can from different processes. For books, I would go online and find a book I want to read, then get in my car and then drive over to my local library to check out the book. I hated driving to the library. When I recently found out that Kindle’s could check out library books for free, it felt like a godsend. I immediately researched and ordered a 7th Gen Kindle and proceeded my reading adventures.

Kindle

The Kindle is very nice in that it lets me achieve my reading goals without spending too much time going to the library. I can bookmark pages, see how much of the book I have left to read, and many other things. Not to mention that it is ultra portable so I can take it everywhere I want. The only thing about e-readers is that you do not have the feel of flipping through pages anymore. If you wanted to go back, let’s say 20 pages, there is not really an easy way to go back other than tap one page back at a time. Other than that, I would say it was a purchase well worth it.

Do you have a Kindle or any reading goals? Feel free to share your stories!

-Gary


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New Beginnings and Regaining Old Habits

A new year is here with an endless amount of opportunities ahead of us. Here is the time to create your New Year’s resolutions and hopefully you can achieve them. If you are like me, I create a lot of goals for myself but have a hard time achieving them. The biggest issue that many of us have is that we are so fixated on the end result that if we don’t see changes right away, we give up immediately. Other issues is creating an unreasonable goal where you set yourself up for failure and disappointment anyway.

The way I go about it is that I break down my end goal into smaller, achievable goals that can give me the motivation and sense of accomplishment to continue going. If you play video games, you cannot just jump to the final boss and expect to win. It doesn’t work that way, and life doesn’t either. Instead, you have different checkpoints and objectives you must achieve before you are given the opportunity to fight the final boss. Life works the same way, you cannot just workout really hard and expect a six pack within a week. You need to break it down, day by day, starting with a good diet to supplement your workout routine.

Here are some of my goals for the New Year. I have already begun working on them in December and plan to continue these habits throughout the new year.

dumbells exercise

Working out – Minimum 3-5 days a week, maximum 1 hour session.

The reason I am putting this as a maximum 1 hour sessions is because when I also want to focus on other things with my limited hours. 1 hour is what works for me and is enough to keep me in shape and mentally sane (I get anxious when I stop working out for too long). It may be different for you.

KindleReading –  At least 20-50 pages a day.

This is one of the biggest challenges for our current generation. Being a millennial myself, I have a short attention span and essentially stopped reading books after grade school. This is going to change. Reading 20-30 pages a day adds up very quickly and you can finish 1 to 2 books a month if you keep a steady pace. This is one of those breaking down your habits little by little that I mentioned earlier.

Wordpress Blogging

Blogging – At least 2-3 posts a week.

Being a fairly addicted gamer for the majority of my life, a lot of the hobbies I used to enjoy were put on the backlot and essentially disappeared. I was distracted by playing games and watching tons of television dramas. This year I picked up blogging as a hobby that I can express the things I enjoy doing and share it with others who have similar interests.

What are your goals for the new year? Comment below!

– Gary

Credits:

  1. http://newyearsevepartyplaces.com/north-america/united-states/los-angeles/
  2. http://websitemojo.net/blogging-for-business/


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Photography at the San Diego Safari

Some of the best photos taken are the ones where your subject is not posing for your camera. Your subject in their most natural setting is what can set that timeless feeling of your photo. It could be snapping a shot of a person at a busy street or catching that moment where your subject is at their most vulnerable state. These kind of pictures do not have the same effect as posed photographs and usually will not occur more than once. san diego safari

This photo was taken at the San Diego Safari while i was sitting down, taking a short break from walking. Fiddling around with my camera and just observing people as I was resting, I happened to take this picture of these kids doing what kids do best, being playful.

– Gary


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Spicy Greatness in Alhambra, CA

One of the things that I do not eat enough of is spicy food. Maybe it is because I am secretly a wimp when it comes to food that burns my tongue and my entire mouth,  but I do enjoy it from time to time. In order to keep my spicy tolerance from depleting to zero, I decided to try out a restaurant located on the west side of San Gabriel Valley, in the city of Alhambra, a little place called Szechuan Impression.

Szechuan Impression Building

Pay attention as you are driving down Valley Boulevard, because this small little shop might be overlooked if you are not aware of it’s existence. Unlike many other Chinese restaurants, the building itself is a relatively modern design with outdoor seating available. This provides a nice attraction for younger customers who can enjoy a fresh outdoor experience.

The interior also emits a modern minimal atmosphere which feels similar to a cafe. With faux leather seats on the side walls and simple tables spread throughout the restaurant, it provides for a nice family dinner or a Sunday afternoon lunch.

The service is not terrible but it is what you can expect from a Chinese restaurant. The waiters and waitresses will not make too much small talk with you but you can be sure that they will get what you need as quickly as possible. Water constantly refilled and promptly served food is what you can expect as you dine.

Their menu consists of primarily spicy foods, as that is what the Szechuan province in China is known for. During this dining, I ordered some of their most popular menu items which include the Impressive Bean Jelly, Fried Rice Cake with Black Sugar and the Steamed Taro Chicken Pot.

Impressive Bean JellyImpressive Bean Jelly

This cold noodle is one of the best cold noodle’s I have had. The jelly noodles are an amazing mixture of cold and spicy which makes you wanting more. It is not too spicy but enough where you can still feel a kick to your taste buds. The cold noodle helps counteract the spices and makes it a must try experience if this is your first time at the restaurant.

 

 

Fried Rice Cake with Black Sugar

Fried Rice Cake with Black Sugar Picture

Another popular item on the menu, this dessert adds a very unique twist to the classic rice cakes. As if fried food is not addicting enough, they have added a black sugar sauce to these rice cakes which can make the entire plate disappear within minutes. The texture contains a thin layer of crunchiness which quickly turns into mouth watering, soft interior similar to that of mochi.

 

Steamed Taro Chicken Pot

Steamed Taro with Chicken PotFor the entree, I ordered a Steamed Taro Chicken Pot, which is, like the name suggests, a giant hot-pot with chicken and steamed taro. I opted for medium spiciness, which in all honestly, felt much spicier than it was. As I was eating, I could find what I assume are the seeds from the peppers they added to make the spicy soup. This was hot, not going to lie. My mouth began to feel a bit numb and I could not imagine how much spicier the higher levels would be. The cut up taro and the chicken were delicious and when eaten with a bowl of rice, helps tone down the spice a little bit.

As I mentioned before, I do not eat too much spicy foods but this was still a good impression. My mouth was not burning to death, but I did have a few drops of sweat. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was pleasant and the restaurant does everything it can do that sets it apart from many traditional Chinese restaurants. It will be great for families and can still draw in the younger, hipper crowds.

Do you like spicy foods? Share your experiences!

-Gary

Credits:

  1. http://gastronomyblog.com/2014/08/26/szechuan-impression/


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Photography at the Broad

As someone starting out with photography, there is still a lot of things I still need to learn. Composition, lighting, and capturing that right moment. I have taken a handful of shots ever since I got my camera a few weeks ago and this is one of my favorite shots so far.

JB Turner Train Jeff Beam

The JB Turner Train by Jeff Beam is a piece of art located in the Broad Museum in Downtown, Los Angeles. There was a lot of different kinds of beautiful artwork in the gallery but this train caught my eye. There were a lot of different angles I could have taken this and I opted for a simple frontal shot.

An interesting thing about this is I happened to capture a moment in the background where two women are taking photos in the art gallery. They are taking pictures of different art pieces but the angle makes it seem as if they were taking pictures of each other. It’s one of those fun things about photography where there are layers of different tidbits in the image that are not in the main focus.

What do you think of the photo I took?

-Gary


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The Truth About Excuses

3286.No Excuses-shutterstock.jpg-550x0

Have you ever had those days where things do not work out the way you want? You pout and you groan and you start blaming things. It is not your fault. You did not do anything wrong. That is what you tell yourself. Excuses.

Many people do not like to admit they are wrong. It is understandable. It’s not the best feeling in the world but it is how you deal with your mistakes and problems where you begin to grow. No one is perfect and no one expects you to be.

One of the worst habits the majority of people do is create excuses for their problems. They blame other people or find a reason to mask their mistakes or unfavorable events. While they may convince others where the problem is, in their minds, they are not fooling anyone.

Let me tell you a story.

I am currently working full time and also taking night classes after work. The current course that I am taking is not the most organized class. The lectures are incredibly fast and class gets cancelled almost every other week. I assume no one in class really has any idea what is going on and the only resources are powerpoint slides available online.

Our class was divided into seven member groups to complete group assignments throughout the semester. Our grade is based on team effort as well as individual test scores from midterms and finals.

About two weeks before our final, I was speaking with one of my team members who is semi retired. He told me he is currently taking full time classes and complains about how difficult and disorganized this class is. He tells me he is getting A’s in his other classes but he cannot seem to grasp how unclear the class we are taking is. He is close to failing and he blames the class for not teaching him well.

He has many good points about the class but there is one thing I noticed as he is talking to me– he has only attended one of our group meetings and has not actively contributed to the case assignments. His grade essentially reflects his level effort in our group. He has had many chances to contribute but he chooses to suggest to me that he is going to complain to the school about this class. He says he cannot clearly seize the material and thinks that future students should not have to deal with this.

What this post is not about.

This is not a post to complain or be an ego boost but it really shows a lot about how some people will quickly find an easy way out. I am not trying to defend the class as I understand that it is one of the least organized classes I have taken in my life. I have taken the time to join the group meetings and do the assignments in our shared Google Docs folder. Everyone can see the history of who is working and who is not. All it takes is a little effort.

The Lesson I learned.

People make excuses for what they lack or bring others down to make them feel better. If you make excuses, who does it benefit? It makes you feel better at the moment but have you gone anywhere? Have you fixed the problem? Have you grown? You are at the same, exact situation you were in. Excuses won’t fix your problem.

Actions do.

-Gary

 


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The Rain Room at LACMA

Rain Room

LACMA: The Rain Room

The famous Rain Room has arrival in LA and is located in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, abbreviated LACMA. The concept of the Rain Room is a dark filled room with water raining down from the ceiling.

You are telling yourself, “So what?”. Take a step into the rain, and you will quickly realize that you are not getting wet. Take a few more steps. You are now in the middle of the rain but you are still not drenched in water.

This is the main attraction of this room. There are sensors that can detect when you step into the rain and will keep the rain from hitting you as you slowly walk through the platform. I emphasize slowly because if you decide to run through at full speed, the sensors will not react quickly enough and you are not going to be happy about the results.

The Rain Room is a fun attraction to see but the downside is that it is a little pricey if that is the only thing you are there for. Do not be surprised when you find out that you are only allowed to walk through and enjoy the room for daunting 5 minutes. While it is a little bit short, it is still enough time for you exercise all your creativity and take cool silhouette shots from the large light in the back corner of the room. 

Rain Room tickets cost $15 plus another $15 general admission fee, making it a total of $30. To top it off, if you choose to park in the garage, that is another $12.

The Urban Lights LACMA

In order to make your trip worth it, be sure to check out all the art galleries in the surrounding area, especially if you have never been to LACMA before. Another attraction is the famous Urban Lights right next to the ticket booth which has been featured in a lot of pop culture movies. There is a lot of other interesting arts in the the different buildings and it will be a fun way to spend the next few hours of your day!

Interested in the Rain Room? Tickets are limited and I believe will be going away early next year. Click the link below for more information!

LACMA: The Rain Room

5905 Wilshire Blvd,
Los Angeles CA 90036

-Gary


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Los Angeles: The Broad Museum of Modern Art

thebroad1

The Broad is a new super hyped modern art museum that just opened in downtown LA. It is located directly across the street from the Walt Disney Hall and also portrays a massive, unique architecture that boldly rivals the Disney Hall. Part of all the hype is fueled for these reasons alone. 

Inside contains many new modern art features including sculptures, painting and photography. Having already been to a few art museums, the atmosphere as you walk into the Broad is unlike other museums. Maybe it is still really new but the feeling as you walk through each room simply does not feel like a regular museum. The rooms are very spacious and the white walls make it feel massive. It is simply very interesting to walk through.

infinity room
The museum also features the Infinity Mirrored Room, a room filled with a seemingly endless array of mirrors and lights. If you are interested in seeing this attraction, you will need to sign up and schedule a viewing for the same day. Located across the restrooms on the bottom floor, there is a kiosk where you can register for the viewing. The best time is to sign up early in the morning because viewing is very limited. This mirrored room is limited and expected to only be available until the end of February, although there is currently no specific end date. If you are interested in art or willing to give it a shot, the Broad museum is an excellent way to expose yourself to art museums.

As of now, viewing is free entry to the public. If you are interested in viewing the art, your best bet is to go early on a weekday in order to avoid the massive weekend lines. Also, it is free. Who can argue with free?

-Gary