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I know this Convention Report is late, but I've been busy and sick. Better later than never:
I heard that Stan Lee was going to be at "Heroes Are Not Hard To Find" AKA: "HeroesCon". I didn't have the $200 to get the Excelsior! Ticket, so I bought a regular ticket. One of my friends is having a birthday soon, so to surprise my friend, I bought a second poster to get signed. I got there early but when I asked, I was told the line was for Excelsior Ticket holders only. So I came back at the time of the signing and I found out that wasn't so. Since I had blocked off the time to wait in line to get a signature, I had nothing to do now. I have a reputation as a Veteran Volunteer that can be counted on in this area.
So I went up to someone that looked like he was on the Con Staff, and I volunteered to help him. As it turns out he was not part of the convention staff, he was part of Stan Lee's private staff. I spent the next, I think 5 hours, making sure that photographers didn't crowd Stan Lee.
Normally Stan Lee just signs his name because it's much faster. Since helped out, I got my Iron Man poster signed: "To J.R., Stan Lee". I also got my friend's poster personalized! Desert Wind Comics normally only authorize signatures on comics, but they were impressed by my character that they authorized both posters!
As amazing as that was, this man named Max made it even cooler. Remember when Stan Lee was on Eureka, he was the guy standing behind him. Unfortunately I did not have my glasses, so I did not recognize him till he told me. He got me a front row seat at Stan Lee's panel! Which is good because my hearing is not that great. So I waited around behind the autograph table with Stan Lee, and I gave him a "Thank You" card for inspiring me with the Iron Man comics. I have similarly overcome physical set backs.
I got to hear Stan Lee talk with his friends on the way to the panel. He's so down to Earth and fun to listen to. Even on the front row, I had to keep turning my head to hear him sometimes. Later that week I received an email that said:
Many thanks for your card and the very nice message it contained.
AS FOR THE JAPANESE CULTURE FESTIVAL:
It was the 28th Bon Odori Festival in Charlotte, hosted by the Japanese Association in Charlotte and the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta.
To my dismay, no one sold any Taiyaki this year. Last time, I bought a Taiyaki I believe it had both red bean paste and some kind of sweet filling, maybe a custard? This combination, while sweet, also gave it an "umami" taste to balance it out. So I tried a red bean Chanelle Cake instead, but I don't know why there was a whole egg yolk floating in it?
I love Daiichipan's Melon Bread, but I wanted to try something different. So I got a Hokkaido Cream Pastry Roll. It was sweet, but did not have as much flavor as Melon Bread has. As you can tell, I value flavor over sweetness, even in desserts. I make award winning Cheesecakes from scratch, and the secret is that they are more savory than sweet, so even people who hate cheesecakes like mine.
Minoda's; a Japanese Steak House, Sushi Bar, & Izakaya sold Bento Boxes. They are located in Charlotte and minodas.com/ . I meant to order Ika Sushi, but I mistakenly ordered Inari Sushi ( Inarizushi ) instead. It was something I had never had before, and I really enjoyed it anyway. I think Inari Sushi would be a really good side for Ika Sashimi so I must try that meal someday! I also ordered their Onigiri and it came in 3 flavors, that were surprisingly distinct in flavor. It came with a side of what I would call "Bait". Even though my first thought was to use these little fishes with a fishing pole. after loosing a staring contest with one, I tried it anyway. It was surprising good! It tasted like Fish Jerky that had been salt cured.
Since I gave up all sodas for New Year's, then all Artificial Sweeteners six months later, and I don't know which Japanese drinks are sodas, nor can I read the ingredient list, I was limited in what I would drink. They had some bottles of ITO EN Unsweetened Teas, I figured they were safe with my dietary restrictions. (Note: I am normally against diets that require you to avoid anything, but this was for a medical reason.) So I tried a bottle of their Golden Oolong Tea and their Oi Ocha Dark Green Tea. I was hesitant to try the bottled Green Tea, because I have tried to buy it in American stores, and it has always been too nasty to drink. Especially any bottled tea from that "Tea Company" that I will not name. Here's a hint to who they are, they use deceptive marketing to market the lemon flavor of all their teas. But what anyone who knows anything about the history of tea, lemon was added to mask the flavor of bad tea leaves much in the same way sugar was added to extend tea leaves so you didn't have to add as many. So the next time you taste tea, and it has a lemon flavor to it, you now know they are cheating you with tea leaves not worth drinking. So after 100% bad experiences with bottled Green Tea, I was surprised by how good Ito En's Oi Ocha Dark Green Tea was, with it's deep, rich, and bold taste that they call " Koi Aji ", and I call just plain good!
Once again, I attended a Japanese tea ceremony. I love Matcha tea, and I have always found it interesting how it is whipped instead of steeped. They offered me three Wagashi even though I don't mind the bitterness of the tea. I still ate one of the Wagashi because I'm not sure if it would have been disrespectful to refuse them all?
I spent the rest of the time playing " GO " with the Charlotte Go Club which is part of the American GO Association ( www.usgo.org/ ). Trying new foods, drinking Matcha tea, and playing GO is enough to be the perfect day for me. Watching the Taiko drummers, Kendo demonstrations, musical performers, dancers, etc... made it even more enjoyable.
Favorite movies"Whisper of the Heart" and "The Cat Returns"Favorite TV showsDoctor Who, Red Dwarf, Clone WarsFavorite bands / musical artists3 Doors Down, Linkn Park, NicklebackFavorite gamesHarvest Moon: Innocent LifeFavorite gaming platformDS before they scrapped the acessory slotOther InterestsGardening, cooking, welding