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Messages - SpiritOfKairi

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1
Meetings, Gatherings, and Get Togethers / Japantown meetup
« on: June 28, 2015, 03:16:47 PM »
Don't know if anyone will see this and/or be interested, but I'm trying to organize meetups for anime/gaming/Japanese culture fans outside of Fanime.  The first one is scheduled for July 11th at 12:30 at San Francisco Japantown.  Let me know if you want to come over =).  http://www.meetup.com/Bay-Area-Anime-and-Gaming/events/223563221/

2
Hotel and Facilities / Re: fastest way to reserve hotel?
« on: June 21, 2015, 03:01:54 PM »
Would you say it is as bad as comic cons site when trying to buy tickets?

Haven't been to ComicCon personally (don't really make enough to make the trip down from Northern California), but I do remember a year or two ago on the forums someone mentioned that Fanime's system still blew theirs out of the water.  Now 2013 was when things started getting really bad for hotel registration, and this year was definitely the most frustrating.  But from what I hear, ComicCon has the worst badge/hotel registration system, which is a shame, considering how large and prominent that event is.

3
General Convention Discussion / Re: Food Court 2015?
« on: May 18, 2015, 03:24:55 PM »
Honestly the food court the last couple years has left something to be decided.  Two years ago there was Psycho Donuts (who it seemed was always sold out of their very limited selection), milk tea, sushi (really expensive, even far as sushi is generally concerned), and Asian Food Grocer (whose selection was also very limited).  Then last year, I know there was another really expensive sushi vendor, but am I forgetting anyone else?  Because AFAIK that was the only option for 2014.

Personally I'm mixed on Fanime's food court.  It's a decent idea for a snack, but there's hardly any options far as vendors and their menus go, and it's hard to justify the price tag.  I would much rather walk down the street 3 blocks and get a full meal, unless I was absolutely starving and had to eat something right then.

4
Hotel and Facilities / Re: Stocking up on food in your room?
« on: May 16, 2015, 03:50:56 PM »
If you want some other delicious, thematic options, I recommend checking out Clover in San Jose.  It's a little bit of a drive from the convention center (rough directions: get on 280 north, travel for 5 miles or so, take the South Saratoga exit, and you'll see the shopping center with Mitsuwa Marketplace. It will be kinda in the back of the shopping center).

They're a Japanese bakery - they have a lot of individually wrapped rolls and things in lots of different varieties. Chow mein roll, spicy tuna roll, beef curry roll, etc.  They also have sweet rolls. Paris Baguette is in the same shopping center for a similar selection, although they have far more sweet things than savory things.  There's a milk tea place next door that also is delicious, but that's not going to be something for the room).  Clover also has a good selection of rice balls.  We like to get the beef and ginger ones.  Clover's pretty cheap as well; $2.50 or so for a roll, and 2 rolls is a decent meal.  Not as cheap as the Cup Noodles route, but it's an option.

Mitsuwa Marketplace is a grocery store you could check out if the Japantown Nijiya is sold out of things.  They're a quite a bit bigger than Nijiya as well, and they have some little mini stores inside you could also get snacks from.

I recommend getting there earlier (9:30-10:00) for a couple reasons.  They do sell out of things, and the later you wait in the day, the crazier the center is.  It can be really difficult to find parking later in the day.

As far as how long they keep: eating them sooner is better, but we've been able to stick rice balls in the fridge and eat them later without any issue.

Thanks for the awesome information =).  One question, though.  You mentioned that parking can get really difficult later on in the day.  Would you not recommend going there at around 2-3 pm, then?  If my roommate and I go, it will likely be before we check in to the room, and that's roughly when we get to the CC on Friday.  Heh after we get to the room they don't like to leave and give up the parking space.

5
Hotel and Facilities / Re: Stocking up on food in your room?
« on: May 15, 2015, 12:16:20 PM »
@kairi

At the Mitsuwa Japanese market, they have pre-made packaged rice balls that can probably keep in the fridge for a day or two depending on the filling you choose.  They also have these awesome frozen "grilled rice balls" but you have to microwave them :(

Sweet!  Thanks for the info =).  I'll have to see if my roommate's willing to check that out since they're driving us over.  The only problem I can potentially see with picking them up is since the Hilton refrigerators are so small, if any will fit after putting a couple sodas and waters in there lol.

EDIT: Do you happen to remember which flavors they have?

6
Hotel and Facilities / Re: Stocking up on food in your room?
« on: May 15, 2015, 11:46:46 AM »
So potentially stupid question here, but I've only had rice balls once before, and never from the Japantown groxery stores.  Can those be stored in the fridge over the weekend?  Because the only time I purchased them they were freshly made and had to be eaten within 4 hours of being cooked.  But maybe the stores have a pre-made refrigerated kind that I simply don't know about/haven't seen.  If that's the case, I'll have to try and convince my roommate to go there before we check in and stock up lol!  We typically eat at local spots 3 blocks down from the CC, but not a bad idea to get some late night snacks.

7
Hotel and Facilities / Re: Stocking up on food in your room?
« on: May 14, 2015, 11:04:24 AM »
I know it's fairly common for people to bring Cup Noodles and then use the coffee pot to make quick, hot water for the noodles.  Heh people get pallettes of them at Costco for the con.  Water is also a big one.  It's easy to get dehydrated, and buying bottled water at/around the con is REALLY expensive.  (Last time I checked a few years ago, it was $4 for a bottle of Dasan.)  Protein bars are always good.  You could also do cereal for breakfast, and fruit gummy snacks.

One other thing I've heard about (but this could be a potential fire hazard, so not sure if it's really a good idea), is bringing a crock pot, setting it up in the morning, and then coming back in the evening to fresh pulled pork or whatever.  I'm not sure where in the room you would do that, though.  I doubt the pot would burn the surface of the wood table, but probably best to being something to put underneath the pot so there's a buffer between it and the table.

8
I think just about everything's been covered at this point, but seriously, eating, keeping hydrated, getting sleep, and bathing are basic, but KEY.  As other have mentioned, try to stay away from food in the convention if you can.  It's really expensive, and you'll be able to find much better stuff within 3 blocks of the center.  Seriously, there are a TON of great, inexpensive restaurants around.  Lol a lot of people hit up the McDonald's since it's really inexpensive and familiar, but there are some more local favorites like La Victoria's (awesome burritos for about $6), Tandoori Oven (Indian place behind the Fairmont), Hoagie's (sandwhich shop), and Pizza My Heart (kind of self explanatory there lol).  There are tons of others, but those are the ones that come immediately to mind.

Also, water cannot be stressed enough.  It's really easy to get dehydrated when you're out in the hot summer sun and walking constantly.  I think others have suggested bringing water bottles, and this is definitely a good idea.  I myself being a case of water to the room, and by the end of the con, my roommate and I have gone through almost all.  Also I'm a bit paranoid about dehydration since a few years back I got a minor case of it at Fanime.

When it comes to buying stuff, try to not impulse buy.  If you see something you like, hold off for a day or so and see if it's still as awesome as you thought it was before.  If you're not careful with your money it can go quick, and you need to show some restraint.  Lol you'll probably want to buy all the things when you get into the Artist Alley and Dealer's Hall, but resist!

I think someone else mentioned comfortable shoes, and this is also a MUST.  When you're walking for 14+ hours a day, unless you're careful with footwear, your feet could easily be screaming in agony with every step you take Monday.  Just take the comfiest pair you have and you should be okay.

9
Hotel and Facilities / Re: Fairmont Hotel security deposit?
« on: May 04, 2015, 01:39:39 PM »
I stayed at the Fairmont a few years ago (like, around 2010).  It's a fairly nice place.  The lobby is huge with big comfy chairs and the rooms are fairly spacious too.  One kind of awkward thing though, is the shower.  It's this kind of clear glass booth-stall in the corner (think in the same vein as a phone booth), and it's all tile on the bottom so you have to be careful about watching your step.  But IIRC the toilet has a rolling door that blocks it off from the rest of the bathroom, which is nice.

The only other awkward thing I can think of is getting in the building an operating the elevator late at night.  If someone wants to confirm this then go for it, but IIRC at about 9-10 pm they lock the south tower.  This makes it so, in order to get in, you have to insert your room key into a pillar located by the entrance doors.  (You have to be kind of fast catching the door as well.)  Then when you get in the elvator, you have to insert the room key AGAIN before it'll let you choose which floor.  I'm not sure why they do this, but it's a thing, and a good reason to keep track of your room key at all times (besides the obvious ones).

Aside from the little annoying things, it's a nice place to stay.  It's quiet, a short distance from the CC, there are a bunch of restaurants nearby, the rooms are always spotless, the beds are comfy, and just overall it's a good hotel.  Lol only reason I don't stay there anymore is because I like the convenience of the Hilton better.

10
Hotel and Facilities / Re: PSA: Don't Forget about the Deposit!
« on: May 02, 2015, 01:55:05 PM »
Does anyone happen to know if you are able to use two cards? I was hoping to put the deposit on a credit card and the actual payment on debit.

Hmmm...you know, I've never heard of doing it that way before.  Unless anyone else has experience doing that and can tell you, I'd say best call the hotel and ask.

11
Hotel and Facilities / Re: Fairmont Hotel security deposit?
« on: May 02, 2015, 01:53:34 PM »
This is my first year staying at the Fairmont and I was wondering how much the security deposit was for those that have stayed there before.
 I emailed Fanime housing and they said it's "$100 per night on a card or $300 per night with cash." Is this true? So I'm paying either $400 or $1200 JUST for deposit?! I only paid $100 at the Ramada for my entire stay last year so I am kinda worried...

Yes, this is accurate. Thus the PSA I posted a few days ago.

Be prepared for a total charge of (Your room cost)+(100x nights you are staying) on whichever card you're planning on using. As Mariotheotaku mentioned, credit cards are usually best.

Yeah sadly that information is accurate.  But now, in case you're wondering why the Fairmont is so much pricier, while I don't know all the reasons I can point to a big one.  Fact is the Ramada is known as more of a mid-grade hotel, and the one by the CC (while fairly priced and close by) could use an upgrade from what I've heard.  The Fairmont on the other hand is much fancier, and marketed as a top-tier business-class hotel.  So obviously the fancier, more luxurious hotel is going to charge a lot more.

But I agree with FanFicGuru that credit cards are best just so your checking account money isn't put on hold for the weekend.  With the credit card, as long as you have a somewhat decent limit, the stay and deposit won't eat up your line before you start buying food, art, and merchandise.

12
Hotel and Facilities / Re: PSA: Don't Forget about the Deposit!
« on: May 02, 2015, 01:33:35 PM »
Just a heads up for impending con-goers: don't forget that most of the hotels will charge you a $50/night deposit upon check in ($100/night at The Fairmont). If you are staying for 4 nights, you will see (the charge for your room) + (deposit amount x nights you are staying) as a temporary hold, and then after 2-3 business days the deposit will fall off and  you'll just be charged for the room + whatever additional charges you incurred.

If you are using a credit card with a healthy limit this shouldn't impact you too much, but if you are putting it on a debit card this could definitely tie up funds that should be set aside for the con so I just wanted to remind people to keep an eye out for that.

Thank you for posting this =).  Fact is those fees can really catch people off-guard if they don't know, especially if they're using a debit card.  Hopefully people not aware already will see this and get their banking situation in order to be prepared come Fanime.

13
Registration / Re: Day Passes
« on: April 22, 2015, 09:55:58 PM »
All the information you're looking for is right in the FAQs on the registration page.  The rates for individual days are as follows:
Full Weekend: $75
Friday: $45
Saturday: $50
Sunday: $50
Monday: $40
Half-weekend (Sunday and Monday): $65
Child (10 and under): Free with paid membership

As for pre-ordering the one-day pass, you can't do it.  If you want to order online, you have to do it the day you're attending.

14
Registration / Re: What time to pick up my badge?
« on: April 21, 2015, 10:59:53 AM »
That one's a little tricky.  Isn't registration for kids under 10 free?  I'd say your best bet is to email registration and ask them since Thursday is really just for those picking up pre-registration.  I'm not sure they'll even have the printers to print out any badges until Friday.  I could be wrong, but again, your best bet is to email registration and ask them.  I'm sure they can give you a better and accurate answer.  Here's the address:  fanireg@cmrus.com

15
Hotel and Facilities / Re: Editing hotel info?
« on: April 20, 2015, 02:49:22 PM »
Is there a way to edit hotel booking info online for a room that isn't connected to my registration? Or is calling the only way to change things? Asking so I can switch the card on file to a friends who will be getting there a day earlier then me to check in.

Far as I know, the only way to change that stuff is by calling the number.  I don't think CMR has ever given the option to edit hotel payment information online.  At least they didn't back in 2010 (had to change my debit card info since my old bank got bought out and I was issued a new card).

16
Registration / Re: Removing group member from regis?
« on: April 18, 2015, 09:11:57 PM »
I added another member with realizing I need 2 more members, but now I'd just like to buy my own badge but I can't do that because I'm stuck with an added member? Is there a way I can remove this member so I can purchase my single badge?

You can, but unfortunately it's a bit tedious.  You can either email FaniReg@cmrus.com and tell them to remove the other person from your group, or call 800-924-4232.

17
How come rooms open up instead of going to the next person on the waitlist?

It probably has to do with the days booked.  What I mean is, the people on the waitlist are most likely waiting for rooms for the whole weekend.  The rooms opening are those for a single night, which were probably booked in November-January so people could get on the list in the first place.  They then get their room for the weekend, dump the one-night reservation, and it becomes available to the next person who needs it to get on the list.

18
Hotel and Facilities / Re: Fanime 2015 Roommate thread
« on: April 06, 2015, 06:10:48 PM »
Hi everyone, I'm from way out in NJ. For any of you that happen to be in the Super Smash Bros competitive community, I run CLASH Tournaments live streaming and am a avid competitor. My work needs me in Santa Clara on the week after this con, so I had them fly me out early so I could make this!

I just got my flight situated for my girlfriend and I, but unfortunately it looks like every hotel is sold out. Does anyone know of any way I can get a room within walking distance of the con from Friday until Monday or Tuesday? Didn't know if there were any waitlists or reserved blocks of rooms for attendees I didn't know about. Hopefully not having to pay more than like ~150 per night, but I'll consider whatever. I just really don't want to fly here from NJ and be completely stranded lol.

Worst comes to worst I suppose I can get a hotel in Santa Clara and take the Light Rail between there and the con each day, but I was hoping to not have to rely on that since the Light Rail doesn't seem to run between like approx 1am and 5am, and I wanted to take good advantage of the 24hour-ness of the con.

Thanks!

Hate to break it to you, but getting a hotel that's close by for a good price is going to be easier said than done at this point.  Right now you have two options: first is to post your email and hope that someone in this roommate thread messages you with space for two in their room.  For the second option, yes there is a waiting list, but you have to book a room through Fanime Housing before you can get on it.  So you'll have to find a hotel that has a vacancy for one night, book it, and then get on the waiting list for the whole weekend.  (Go to Registration from the Fanime homepage, follow the steps to get your admission badge, and after that you'll be prompted to book a room through the system.)  I'm not sure how good your chances of getting something that way are, though.  Also, if you go on the waiting list but can't get anything in time for the con, know that you need to cancel before April 24th to avoid a fee.  So if you get on the list but they can't get anything for you, you'll want to cancel the room you used to get on and just book elsewhere.  (Hopefully that made sense.)

There are many other hotels near the CC, but they likely won't be as close as the Fanime Housing hotels, and/or they likely won't be as inexpensive.  You might want to do a Trivago search or something, see what's available, and book through there if you want to get something immediately, vs waiting for a roommate or getting on the list.

19
Hotel and Facilities / Re: shuttle?
« on: April 04, 2015, 02:42:19 PM »
Is there an update on how shuttles will be working this year?  Now that I'm staying at one of the hotels near the airport, I'd like to know how I'll be getting to the convention center and back.

Nothing from staff yet, though I'd imagine it'll work very similarly to how it did last year.  I believe the shuttle did loops to all the hotels, and then swung back to the CC.  Now I DO know that the schedule sped up and slowed down, depending on the time of day and expected convention traffic.  For example, in the afternoon (like, ~2 pm-6 pm) the shuttles would come around the the CC every 20 minutes or so.  However, from roughly 12 am-6 am they would only come around every 45 minutes or so.  My guess is that the official shuttle schedule won't be out until mid May, though, knowing how Fanime posts that stuff at the last second.  But if you're staying at a hotel near the airport and plan on staying at the CC until the early morning hours, I highly suggest bringing cab fare in case you don't want to wait 30 minutes for the shuttle at 2:30 am.

Just curious, does anyone know how long it took the shuttle to go from the CC to say the Doubletree?  I heard some horror stories last year that it was taking an hour because they were using a really convoluted route.

20
Hotel and Facilities / Re: So...Waitlist?
« on: April 02, 2015, 05:47:55 PM »
The staff from facebook said that the convention mainly consists of locals and that not mainly people stay in hotel rooms. Really now? As far as I'm concerned the convention has plenty of elbow grease and plenty of room to fit attendees. The con is not gonna sell out anytime soon. Yes. Locals are a good thing but if you only rely on locals the convention probably wouldn't be this size now. People who usually drive or even fly all the way to San Jose tend to spend more. And if there's no hotels available. There's no chance of getting into the con. People are sick and tired of having to fight for or play the waiting game just to get to the con. Either we get more hotels or you might as well cap the con as far as I'm concerned. And so far. Getting hotels early seems to be the ONLY thing fanimecon is doing right. But they still have to fix their crappy hotel registration system...

While I'm sure many locals attend the convention, I have a hard time believing that "not many people stay in hotel rooms".  Fact is you have people flying from all over the US, and even from other countries to attend the convention.  And actually, I've even known locals to get rooms for the convention because they would much rather be somewhere within walking distance, vs drive 30 minutes and fight over a parking space.  Also, if the hotel traffic wasn't high, rooms wouldn't be selling out in a matter of 2-4 hours.  (Yes there are scalpers, but I think the growing number of actual attendees are the real culprit.)  I remember back in 2010 you could wait about 6-8 hours after hotels went live, and still had a good chance of getting the Fairmont, St. Claire, or maybe even the Marriott.  These days, you have to be on it the minute hotel registration goes live.

But now, you also mentioned the bad hotel registration system.  I agree that it's not handling the load, but fact is Fanime can't fix that because it's run by a third party called CMR.  If Fanime insists on keeping CMR, then that service needs to get a server upgrade so it can handle the traffic.  Otherwise though, it's time to move to a site that can handle housing without crashing 3 minutes into going live.  Fact is CMR could handle the traffic until 2013 when the room frenzy wasn't so extreme, but now with thousands of people hitting the site the second it goes live...it just isn't up to the task anymore.

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