Posts Tagged ‘2009’

Japantag 2009

One week left until having to endure an entire week of exams, so what does lil’ Aki do? Nope, he’s not studying…he had some off-the-hook fun at the Japantag 2009 in Düsseldorf, Germany!

The Japantag (english: Japan Day) is an annual festival organized by the city of Düsseldorf to celebrate the unique relationship between Germany and Japan (which is about more than just covering each others back in some World War almost 70 years a go). All along the Rhine, you’ll find stands and shows, and to go out with a bang, the day is concluded by an awesome fireworks show.

My personal reason for going to the Japantag, however, is not just my interest in Japanese society and culture, but also my fascination for the strangests hobbies around: Cosplay and Japanese fashion. Now, don’t be scared: I will probably never dress up as some Anime character myself, but I love to so people investing their spare time in creating brilliant and beautiful outfits. I had the chance to marvel at some truly masterful outfits this year, but sadly, my eyes also had to endure terrible pain and agony caused by chubby little girls who felt like dressing up in mini-skirts and far too tight tanktops. I hope that the memory will fade some day…

Anyway, I had a damn good time this year. I had the chance to see people that I hadn’t seen for ages (still, Laura, we still have to meet up again!), laugh about silly jokes, eat gross food and fall asleep at 4 AM this morning with a feeling of pure satisfaction and delight.

Unfortunately, I haven’t received much photos yet, but I can give you this one:

haru markus japantag 2009

Can’t you see, posing is my specialty!

I’ll update this blog as soon as I have some new pictures, so stay tuned!

Signed,

Aki

Reporting!

Alright, I just returned from Cologne, and I’m dead tired. But you know what? Today was one unbelievable awesome day, and I’m not going to describe it in plain, simple words. No, you better get ready for my Role Play Convention 2009 Report…with pictures!

After a LAN-party at Fridaynight, I got up at 6:30 in de morning after a measly 4 hours of sleep. Oh well, the shower did me good, and after my 20 minute bus drive to Aachen Central Station, this magical elixir definitly hit the right note:

COFFEE!!!

COFFEE!!!

Yes, coffee! Or, to be more accurate: cappucino. A big mug of this divine sensation of the senses got me ready for a the train ride, which was not really noteworthy. As a true nerd I used to time I sat in the train to read up on my European Science stuff, but I got tired of reading about the financial crisis and old farts pretty quick, so you can understand that I was more than happy when the conducter announced that we had arrived at the Cologne Trade Fair (generally known as the “Koelnmesse”). As I got out the train, I checked my route planner for the next step of the journey. My paper fellow told me to search for “Strassenbahn 4”, which I did. But while I was looking for the tram, I noticed signs pointing out a footway towards the Koelnmesse. I said to myself: “What the heck, you have to healthy feet! How far can it be when the tram needs 2 minutes for it?”

Well, turns out that I was smarter than the route planner from the internet. Using the tram to get to the trade fair would have been nothing but a detour! And thus, I arrived about five minutes sooner than planned (what a difference), bought my ticket (which seemed to include about a dozen of common Magic: the Gathering cards…thanks organizers for adding more cardboard to my life), and entered the convention. I was supposed to meet up with Tommy and Natalia at the “Risen”-stand, but in the first minute of my attendance I was just OVERWHELMED by the sheer amount of people, colorful banners, costumes and goodies available! Dazzled by this cognitive overload, I almost walked straight past my two companions, but Tommy made sure to catch my attention (believe me, he has some suitable “attention phrases”).

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Our tour around the RPC started with an inspection of the LARP supplies shops around the main hall. Tommy and I are closet LARP’ers, but in this case I mean to say “too broke and lazy to start it” with the word “closet”. Still, we share a certain fascination for latex weaponry (addendum: every guy on this planet loves to hit someone with something. It’s fact), so the boothes supplied us with ample opportunity to see interesting designs and notice a certain difference in quality. But also, we noticed a difference in service. A little stand of a Danish LARP gear supplier (why did I forget their name) surprised us with a sign at the stand, saying: “Touch everything, and try it out…they don’t break easily”. Well, you don’t have to say that twice! Tommy and I got ourselves a fine blade, and went at it. After about five minutes of…ahum, finely aimed strikes and skillful handling of the sword, Tommy and I called it a draw, and decided to go at it again at the next best occassion. So, if you see me slinging around rubber swords in my living room, don’t ask. I’m just doing the Rocky Balboa training thing, but just more freaky. And with more sweat.

Our trip around the Role Play Convention got us to some very interesting stands, and we took our time to check out the boothes of industry giants like EA (boasting their MMO-RTS-TCG experience “BattleForge”), Upper Deck and more. Strange enough, I wasn’t THAT impressed by their appearances, as their stands just looked tóó sterile and controlled. Add to that the fact that the EA stand boothbabes (who were some very nice pieces of booty) seemed to be afraid of cameras, so I did not catch a single picture of them. A shame, as they seemed to be the only really hot booth babes around (trust me, girls with HUGE thighs in short skirts can almost ruin the last remnants of your already crippled eye sight).

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The halls were just filled with pure awesomeness, and a wide variation of publishers, companies, clubs and more. Of course, all of them were somehow related to fantasy, sci-fi and / or role-playing, but most of them added to the very warm and friendly atmosphere. Well, that “warm” feeling might be an after effect of the twelve different kinds of mead I tasted. Come to think of it, I forgot to get me a bottle of that cinnamon-flavored mead…damn!

Around 14:30, we made our way to the “Lese-Ecke” (Reading Corner), where one of the grand-masters of fantasy held a reading / Q&A session / autograph session: Andrzej Sapkowski, author of the books on which the PC-RPG smash hit “The Witcher” is based on. This Polish old gentleman turned out to be a man who was very well aware of his status amongst fantasy literature lovers, and loved to joke about it. Comments about how “truly awesome” he was were just the beginning, swiftly followed by a short story about how he became the “grand author he is now”, finished off with an outlook on his future, seeing himself working together with Steven Spielberg to make a DECENT Witcher-movie. The sarcasm was literally dripping from his statements, and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy the sit.

We concluded our visit by trying out a boardgame at one of the free gaming tables. We chose “Dust” (I can literally feel the CS-jokes coming up), a tactical boardgame set in an alternate future, where World War 2 never really ended, and the whole world turned into one big battlefield. The game shares some similarities with Risk, but feels kinda cool due to its unique setting and quick-to-learn basic rules. After three rounds though, we noticed that the game could last for a whole night if we wanted to play it by the book, so we changed the winning conditions a bit, and the gentlemen got their asses handed to them by Natalia. That’s what you get when you let a woman lead an army…

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Before catching the train home, Tommy, Natalia and I had a little diner at the local McDonalds, made sure to see each other as soon as possible, and went separate ways. While sifting through my collection of flyers, magazines and other goodies collected, I felt anything but let down by this experience. The Role Play Convention was even cooler than I imagined, showing visitors every possible facette of the role-playing subculture. The staff members were nice and helpful, and every visitor added to the totally awesome-o-saurus experience. In case that the organizers decide to stay in Cologne, I’m probably back at the RPC next year.

Signed,

Aki

OMFG!

I know I’m late, but I just saw the awesome-o-saurus line-up for Rock am Ring 2009, at the Nürburgring in the Eifel, Germany. I highlighted the most interesting acts. I just can’t believe this…

Billy Talent (not the most interesting, but definitly a good listen)
Bloc Party (it’s Bloc Party. Stop asking why)
Bring Me The Horizon
Dragonforce (I guess headbanging at their show will cause me some serious neck issues)
Dredg
Enter Shikari
Flogging Molly
Gallows
Jan Delay & Disko No. 1
Juliette Lewis
Kettcar
Kilians
Killswitch Engage
Korn (They’re not what they used to be, but still awesome enough to see)
Limp Bizkit (purely out of nostalgia)
Mando Diao
Marilyn Manson (saw him, or more accurate “it” live at Rock am Ring…2006 I think. The show was aweful, but the music was awesome!)
Middle Class Rut
Peter, Björn & John
Peter Fox (Go check him out on YouTube)
Placebo
Polarkreis 18
Scouting For Girls
Selig
Slipknot (Awesome show + awesome music = hell yeah!)
The Gaslight Anthem (You don’t know them? Pfsht! Go change that)
The Killers
The Kooks
The Prodigy
The Script
The Subways
Tomte
Trivium
Volbeat

Gaaaahhh…..I didnt wanna waste money this summer for festivals. Gaahhh….can…hardly…resist…

Signed,

Aki

The end draws near…

…at least that of 2008! Another year full of highlights and epic moments, not only in gaming. Let me use this post to look back on what happened in 2008, and how I experienced it. Also, I will take a look at what is to come in 2009. So, put away the fireworks and champagne, and read on!

Personal highlights

  • Meeting my sweet and fluffy raccoon, Eva. Okay, actually we met in 2007, but things got interesting in 2008. So I just count it as a highlight in 2008 😉 Anyways: you rock my world!
  • Mom had her 50th birthday, and now officially is “old”. But you shouldn’t tell her that in the face 😉
  • Two good friends of mine recovered from a very bad “state of mind”, and are now doing their best to stay strong and tall in a harsh and cruel world. You go, ladies!
  • Having the honor of still being in touch with people who made me who I am. To all of you: thanks for everything. You rock!

Role-playing highlights

  • Storytelling a really cool Vampire: the Requiem chronicle. I waited quite a while to play with this cool new system and setting, and as far as I can tell, my players enjoyed it. The end of the chronicle was to most of them quite surprising, in a very good way. Requiem is on my “play again”-list after this funny experience.
  • The release of D&D 4th Edition, and all the whine that it conjured. Seriously people, get over it! Nobody forces you to convert your 3.5 Forgotten Realms chronicle to 4th Edition. Wizards of the Coast is not the Gestapo, for the love of Mordenkainen…
  • The death of Gary Gygax, the father of tabletop role-playing. I wouldn’t call this a “highlight”, but I had to list it. Mr. Gygax, I salute you for creating my favorite hobby. Rest in peace…
  • Discovering how awesome “Call of Cthulhu” is. I think my troupe will “enjoy” a one-shot or two in 2009…

Gaming highlights

  • Finally got into “serious” raiding in World of Warcraft, and discovered how terrible funny it is. What was I doing the last 3,5 years?!
  • Wrath of the Lich King went live, and robbed me of many hours of sleep. However, I’m still enjoying it, even though Blizzard is walking a very dangerous path with their new “casual-friendly philosophy”. Be careful there…
  • Far Cry 2 was the first shooter since quite some time that knew how to fascinate me for a few hours. Breathtaking graphics, and free-roaming gameplay is just what I need. And it is set in Africa! Beat that, you boring World War 2 fragfests!
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the best beat ’em up for parties. Ever. Trust me.

Sooo…these are my highlights of the last twelve months. But what am I waiting / hoping for in 2009? Well, let’s make a small list, and through the coming year I will keep you updated about how many of these things came to be 😉

  • Many good role-playing books will make their appearance in 2009. Just a few: World of Darkness – Inferno, Shadows in the Dark: Mekhet, and probably lots of other stuff!
  • The X-Men spin-off “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” comes to the cinemas on May 1st. I hope that they will NOT screw this one up! Hugh Jackman, please make this movie awesome!
  • Also, I will do my best to be a good officer of the casual raiding guild Invictus Sceptrum (Horde on EU Moonglade). Because, ya know, most of those wicked, crazy and somehow disturbing people are quite lovely 🙂
  • And finally, I hope that 2009 brings no great sadness and darkness to the lives of my family, my friends and me. But even if the tide turns, I know that they all would rather stand than kneel.

So, what else do I have to say? Well, I guess…

HAPPY 2009!

Be careful with the fireworks, don’t drink too much, and just watch your back. You never know who’s behind you 😉

Signed,

Aki