The largest convention for East Asian popculture in Scandinavia
At first I didn't plan to go to UppCon at all actually, since it was quite expensive (around 80€ for a ticket and a ticket for the sleeping halls) so as I've done for the past years I told myself that "I'll just go next year instead!" But this year was different, they announced that it would be the last UppCon ever.
And since the tickets was so expensive, I got encouraged by Sofia that I should work there.
Then I would be able to go for "free", you don't get paid for work and they didn't even have the money to give the staff free meals. (The economy is probably the main reason why this had to be the last one, since everything is nonprofit, it has never been and will never be)
But I decided to go anyway, it would be a great work experience and I would meet a lot of dear friends that I've known for half of my life but haven't seen in four-five years maybe. So why the hell not? It would be nice to be a part of something that have played a big part in my own life, directly and indirect. The impact UppCon has on me is bigger than anyone can probably imagen, probably bigger than I believe it is.
The first UppCon I went to was UppCon: 07, it was in 2006, and back then it was no way near as big and professional as it was today. It was still the biggest convention in Sweden, there was probably around 1000 - 1500 visitors and I was one of them. I got to hear about it from a manga/anime/japanese popculture forum that I hung out (even though I was mostly was into Japanese music and not manga/anime) and everybody talked about how fun UppCon:06 was.
So I HAD to go to the next one, and I did. I went to a lot of conventions between 2006 - 2007, probably.. five-six at least. And back in those days a mid-sized convention probably had like 200-300 visitors, the big ones had over 500 and UppCon was the bomb that had the most by far. And I remembering maybe eight - ten people meeting me at the bus stop. I took a plane to Stockholm then a bus to Uppsala (which also happens to be the home town of my favorite Swedish music acts; Watain and Veronica Maggio) the people who met me was people that I've spoken to online. Some of them were people that I met before this forum (called BCmanga.se) from another forum (which was dedicated for the manga/anime OnePiece simpled nicknamed "Kajutan", I was probably a member there as early as 2001-2002? I still have contact with people from that site on a daily basis)
This was also my first "big trip" by myself, even though it "only" takes about five hours with train (45 min + 1 hour with flight + bus). And I met all these people that I haven't met IRL before. It was my first time meeting them and everybody was really nice. And I still talk and have contact with a lot of them, probably all of them, almost anyway. And when I first arrived there was this huge line that went all the way around the block, and there was a lot of "funny looking" people there, and cosplayers too. I've never seen that before IRL. There was so much going on, and I didn't think there was that many people that actually had any bigger interest in Japan. I only knew about 20 - 30 people, and I thought I knew a lot.
I also saw that (this was really rare back then) people who had visual kei-resemblance, I didn't even know people like that existed here. So everything was just an explosion of everything Japanese, and it was awesome. And from that time I decided to start going to convention more often, and so I did. Sadly most of them was on the east coast, which is expensive and far away (I live on the west coast) but that was what I spent my money on. Going to cons and just hang out with friends. it was a great meeting point as well, everybody was there.
But that wasn't all, I later found more people who was into the music, there was a "crew" in Stockholm (SEIKE of Seremedy was one of them, haha, I wonder if he's going to kill me for announcing that?) that everybody who was into Japanese music in Sweden knew about, and it was through UppCon that I later on got to know them and during 2007, and gradually I stopped going to cons and instead I started to hang out with my new found friends. So more indirectly UppCon was my access port to "Japan in Sweden", I don't really know how to put it. And back in those days everybody used a site called "Bilddagboken" back then (lit. the photo diary) which is a page where you have a journal in pictures. And it was through that site I also started to know these people. (I also started to know my later to be best friend(s) Patrik and Andrei from the same place.)
And from there on I finally found people with the same passion for Dir en grey that I have, and from there on I met quite a few amazing people along the way. There has been a lot of ups and downs through out life but I still got most of them left, which I'm truly happy for.
Oh, wow, I wrote quite a bit. But anyway, this was my reason to why I wanted to work for UppCon.
TL;DR - UppCon is a big part of my life.
And old picture from Christmas day 2007 which we spent together, Me, somebody who doesn't exist, Andrei and Patrik. Over five years has past since our first (with me) first raunch together which later become a Christmas tradition. I might post some more old pictures together with friends later on, but we'll see.
As always I pack until the last second, and I probably got like one-two hours of sleep the day before. "I'm going to bed at 8 PM, that's the latest I'm gonna be awake!" >01AM. And then I needed to get up at 3:30 AM to shower and all that shit, since I had a lot of time I took it easy. Which (as always) ends up in me being fucked. I forgot several essential things. I had planned to be kawaii is hell, but I forgot my lenses, straightener and perfume. And it was all fucked to hell. So i spent five hours on a train feeling terrible. Since all my plans was ruined, not to mention I was half blind!
This lady was staring at me when she was awake, I have no idea why. I had a lot of clothing though, draped so I looked a bit like I was wearing a tent or something. But it can't be THAT interesting? It was all black too so it wasn't that noticeable. And as most people she didn't know I could actually see her through my sunglasses. You can't see my eyes, but I can still you. So I decided to snap a picture.
Long time no see Stockholm, and even longer time no see Uppsala.
The stage inside the big tent, the sound was amazing! I was happily surprised!
Some of the ID-badges for the staff, and all these people are working for free!
My badge, I was a low rank grunt but it was OK. I didn't feel like being in charge of anything anyway.
My battle station! And the work from hell. Somebody decided that it was a great ID to print 1200 tickets times six for all the different events in the big hall and we had to staple it all onto a piece of paper. Why the paper wasn't enough I don't know. But I decided to go and have my dinner so I could skip it, hahaha. This wasn't a part of my job I was just helping out, but I went 16 hours without eating anything so I had a good reason to go and eat!
The UC-logo, they had.. Three of these I think? They where huuuge!
A part of the video game room and a pizza vending machine! I've never seen anything like this before.
I wanted to try but the line was always like 30 people long. But it looked pretty awesome.
And the big day was here, Friday! The line was all around the market place, so many people. I felt really stoked about this tbh, something big was going on.
Found a picture of me and a part of my crew, it wasn't that as terrible as I thought it would be. I worked with great people and the time went pretty fast. And when you're bored you can always hang out / work some too. I worked a few hours more than I was scheduled because I'm such a nice guy.
I saw the cookie monster and deadmau5'5!
You should always be armed with a knife at a convention, you'll never know what crazies there might be. And the best job at the convention, sign holding! (It says "Wardrobe") since a lot of people seems to have missed where it was located.
From the opening ceremony which I missed, haha. But it should all be on YouTube!
It was about 3500 visitors! And tsunderechan and my boss to the right.
Hard gay \o/ and I also met Emi and Emilia! I've actually seen Emi before, I remember her from 2007, but we've never really spoken so it was about time we did now, Emilia didn't say much though. But she was still nice. It's always fun when you manage to learn some new people. They where both super short..! Haha, didn't expect that actually, but I was mostly surprised by Emilias age..!
The video game room again, or well, a part of it. Somebody found a camera there (I also worked with the lost and found) like.. After they let three people in. I have no idea how people can lose their stuff that fast, do people just throw their stuff?
Byo's outfit was gorgeous, dw.
SCREW! I was very disappointed actually, the sound was a complete mess. The drums was OK but the guitars just sounded terrible, it was so muddy and plain awful. But they put on a pretty good show. Since I was working I decided to just waltz right in haha. There was some more problems though, Rui's bass strap went off for some reason and his second bass went straight into the floor and he had to change to the other one (which had a different tuning) so it was all a mess.
Too bad they didn't play any old songs. Their newer songs are way to "Gazettish", PS Company is the cancer that's killing visual kei. I wish SCREW would go back to their roots and do some proper music again.
They also had a signing! So I decided to go just to speak a few words with 'em.
My favorite member, he was also the funniest of them. I decided to speak Japanese with them for obvious reasons and they smiled and got really surprised haha! Byo also said "久しぶりね！" (Long time no see) which was kinda funny since it was the first time I met him, haha. But we had a few laughs and I just said that it was a while ago. Funny guys, wish I could've chatted longer with them!
Erika and Amanda, haven't seen them in a while either. Erika also did a lot of design work for UppCon. She's a great illustrator. And to the right was something that I forgot to buy, wanted to buy that pin for Patrik. :-(
UppCon was huuuuge.
And later that night there was some rave going on! It was a great day, everything went way better than expected to be honst, haha.
And all the pictures without stamps are taken by Carl Oscar Aaro "Kalaspuff".
This concludes pre-UppCon and day one.
To be continued...
I also noticed that this was my longest and most personal post yet, I've only written very superficial before. I hope this is appreciated, give me some feedback of it if you like!