At the beginning of the Dragon Ball Super Movie: Brolytrailer, Whis asks Goku why he seeks further power (than he already has). Goku replies that battling in the Tournament of Power has opened his eyes; understanding that there’s no way he can remind at his current level. This is typical of Goku. Every time he encounters powerful warriors on his journey, he gets inspired to better himself. Despite having marvelous power, Goku realizes that it’s not enough.
He must always seek to improve himself.
I’m not a Goku fan. He’s a bland, average Shounen battle anime/manga main character. Yet, I can’t help but admire his drive to better himself. He loves to fight against those who are stronger than him. He’s willing to learn from those who may not have much strength, but are masters at techniques he’s curious about (the Kaioken from King Kai, The Mafuba from Master Roshi, and Instant Transmission from the Yardrats). Goku is always learning. Always improving.
Listening to Goku’s response, I couldn’t help but feel a relation to his words. ‘No way I can’t stay at the same level I am now.’. I’m all for self-improvement and bettering yourself (beyond your current talents and levels). You should always work your ass off to reach new heights no matter what. Life isn’t fun if you remain where you at. If you want the best things for yourself, you have to level up no matter what; may it be learning a new skill, working on your purpose/passion, or traveling to a new city you have yet to explore.
In early July of 2018, I was in Los Angeles for Anime Expo (AX) and to see what the city has to offer to travelers wishing to explore it. As I scoured the city soaking in the culture, I fell in love instantly. The blend of multi-cultural natives and travelers speaking in their native tongue. Fashion heads donning their outlandish appeals without fear of (too much) judgment. Massive, striving businesses bringing income for the city. The ocean breeze cooling down the warm city. People minding their own business and not mean mugging (like in my hometown). Entertainment surrounding the area at each turn. World level cosplayers showcasing their talents. The crowded convention venue filled up by passionate otakus. Witnessing all of inspired me to do better in life. I want more from it.
There’s no way I can stay at the same level I’m at now.
My visit to Los Angeles changed my life. Extreme? Yep. But, you something extreme to happen to you if you want to change. I spoke about this in a previous post, but seeing that gigantic Fate/Grand Order poster towering over the Wells Fargo bank in Downtown L.A. sparked an inspiration fire within me. It brought a huge smile to my face. Not because I’m a Fate fan, but because it served a reminder to me that even the most popular, beloved series had to start from the bottom( to reach the top).
The Fate series started out as a bit of a niche yet popular visual novel in Japan. While beloved in Japan, it took years for the love to reach Western fanbases (sans the small circle of Western fans who love the visual novel) to the heights we are seeing today. Type-Moon (the creative force behind the fate series) had to put in the years of hard and smart work to reach their current levels in the otaku world. And it paid off.
If they can put in that hard work to reach the top, so can I.
Since I’m on the topic of visual novels, I was at a Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) cosplay meet up during AX (cosplaying as a last minute genderswap version of Monika) on Days 2 and 4. As the meetups were wrapping up, Dan Salvato (creator of DDLC), came through and chat it up with the fans. The fans (including myself) show nothing but love and support for the dude.
I was able to talk to him about how the character Yuri have impacted me the most out of the four characters (as I used to shut myself out from others and not talk about my love due to being teased and bullied for them like Yuri herself). He brought up how Yuri (as well as Natsuki) was based off his childhood experiences which made me appreciate both characters more (since I got a little deeper understanding on how they came to life).
Again, I was inspired by the love he was receiving and how he showed the love back. Like with the Fate/Grad Order poster, that experience showed me why I must get on my grind to produce content that people will love. If I can create something that can inspire others and want to better their lives, then I have finally done my job for the world.
Hard work pays off.
Outside the convention, my friend and I were invited to an Anime Expo Discord chat meetup at an outdoor bar (forgot the name of it). As we drank and chop it up with everyone, one of the guys brought up how it’s goofy that some weeaboos will spend thousands and thousands of dollars to fly out to L.A., buy a convention badge, and hotel costs just to go to the convention and not explore the city to see what it has to offer. Our (my friend and I) faces lit up and nodded in agreement, as we had a talk about this while we were smoking hours earlier. While the main goal was to attend Anime Expo, we were more excited to explore the city. If you’re going to a city for an anime conventions and nothing else, you’re an idiot.
After the meetup, my friend and I went to be some little degenerates and smoke some legal weed. As we smoke, we reflect on our new friend’s words and how we’re truly making it; as we met like-minded people who understand why we can’t be around those who put limits on themselves.
A sign of progress.
(Below: Spoils from Little Tokyo)
Spoils from Little Tokyo
Spoils from Little Tokyo
Spoils from Little Tokyo
Exploring L.A. outside the con gave me the chance to talk to people from not only L.A. but from all over the world. One gentleman whom I spoke with was a dude born in China who moved to the New Jersey area in his youth and then to L.A. when he got older. We spoke about our home cities and compared it to L.A. He didn’t like living out there as, in his words “people in L.A. are rude assholes and there’s always some nonsense going on compared to New Jersey.”. I told him St. Louis was the same but couldn’t see how L.A. was that bad (granted I was only a visitor and not somebody who was living in the city,).
A day before I left L.A., I spoke with a rather liberal Middle Eastern women for a bit. She was an L.A. native who guessed that my friend and I weren’t locals due to our mannerism. Apparently, those who are native to the L.A. area tend to be assholes, but (depending on where they from), travelers and tourists are kind and aren’t on any bullshit. I had to agree with her on that. It felt that those who weren’t locals or born in L.A. seem chill and laid back while the rest were niggas who clearly didn’t get whoop by somebody when they got out of line.
During a weed run, my boy and I ran into a street rapper, Chase, who wanted us to give him a topic to freestyle about. After his freestyle, we started talking about where we from. Come to find out, Chase was a fellow Mid-Western from Chicago who visited St. Louis from time to time. He came to Califorina to connect with other rappers to network with other rappers and build his brand. I am not that much of a spiritual person, but I can’t help to think that meeting was the universe telling me something about even if I try to leave home for a while, home will find me. But this was a positive experience. Three Midwestern’s finding each other on the West Coast and speaking about our journeys and what we want out of it.
As time passed on and I traveled, I wanted more out of not only L.A. itself, but for me as a person. There’s something magical about that city. I can’t put my finger on it, but it brought out something in me that I knew was there – I just needed something to draw it out. Maybe it was that Fate/Grand Order that was the trigger. Perhaps talking to a creator and seeing the love he got brought it out. Could it be that me getting out of my hometown caused all of this? I dunno.
What I do know is that if I want this again, then I can’t stay at the same level I am now.
Recently, I bought my first plane tickets; booking a flight from St. Louis (my hometown) to Los Angeles, California (for the convention Anime Expo). The purchase marks major progress for not only the Yuki The Snowman brand, but for my personal growth too. In my years of traveling, I’ve met strangers who turned into friends, visited unexplored places which became my favorite spots to hit up, and unknown cities which became my home away from home. Of course, I visited anime conventions in these different cities (that I grew to love). All of these experiences I earned thanks to traveling.
Trust me, you want these experiences. Let me explain why you should travel as an anime fan.
You’re away from your hometown. You don’t have to deal with the same ol’ people from it. You know; the mindless normies who make fun of you for liking anime. Traveling gives you the chance to explore a major, prosperous city; filled with innumerable cultured people who just get you and your passion. This is especially true if you’re into the arts – like anime, film, theater, music, etc. Your pathetic hometown isn’t filled with cultured people who appreciate the arts. You need to go where your interests are appreciated and respected.
I know there’s a small voice in your head telling you to leave. Don’t deny that voice.
Traveling provides you with new experiences – experiences you’ll never have in your small town. In 2016, I traveled to Atlanta, GA. for the world-renowned Dragon Con. Dragon Con is an American multimedia convention where over 80,000 from across the globe invade the entire downtown Atlanta: celebrating nerd culture for five days.
On Saturday of Dragon Con, there’s a massive parade for the convention that wraps around the downtown ATL area. This parade is full of cosplayers showcasing their talents and sci-fi themed floats. Did I mention that throughout the event, Dragon Con has over thousands of non-stop programming that doesn’t end until the afternoon of Labor Day?
Oh, and it’s an open container party convention for you alcoholics and party nerds (like myself).
My backward ass hometown doesn’t have cool shit like that. We got conventions, but their main programming end between 7pm-1am (depending on the convention). We have no parades celebrating nerd culture (because the local rednecks and ignorant Republicans here think the arts shouldn’t be celebrated). The thought of a convention being hosted in downtown St. Louis with over 80,000 nerds is viewed as a joke out here. There’s only one convention that allows open container and partying (Archon, ya know I love ya). If you try to throw a party at our other conventions, security and the police will shut your ass down.
I bet your small town has those issues as well. Even if it does have anime and sci-fi conventions, there are only about 500-1000 people who attend it. Maybe 1500 – and the numbers are made from the same nerds you see in your community. Your con’s guest list is made up of the same 10 voice acting and industry guests each and every year. If you go out of town to a major city that hosts a massive convention, chances are, you’ll see over 30 industry guests. For conventions like Anime Weekend Atlanta and Anime Central, you may even get to see a voice actor from Japan.
Do you get why you should travel as an anime fan?
Traveling allows you to meet new people and gain new networks. Let’s say you’re an aspiring vlogger, blogger, social media starlet, whatever. Your hometown will never support you because they see you every day. They don’t wanna support a person who they believe they will never get anywhere (despite how hard you grind to produce content), or if that person is making more moves (then the average person in their town).
Here’s where traveling to new cities come to play (for your craft). As stated above, new faces in new cities mean new networks for you and your brand. Let’s pretend you’re at Anime Expo, and this is your first time vlogging at such an event. You’re interviewing a marvelous Beatrice (Umineko no Naku Koro ni) cosplayer who spent all of 2017 professionally designing and building her frilly dress and pipe (which is fully functioning). You guys plan to kick it after you two get done with your business because you’re both huge Umineko fans and wanna talk more about the series and she finds you as a cool person (and also wants to smoke you out using her pipe).
Not only did you got a cool cosplay interview for your vlog, you now made a new friend off a love for an obscure visual novel. I’m doubtful the ignorant bums of your small town have no clue what’s a visual novel is. Hell, they’re probably too stupid to read a normal novel.
Additionally, it’s smart to meet new friend globally for growth. Furthermore, you need to drop your (loser) friends. Friends who don’t appreciate and understand why you’re so passionate about the things you love aren’t worth having around. What is worth it is having around are people who get you. You like people who like you; who vibes are just like yours. That’s why you must travel.
‘If you’re not feeling it, find new friends.’ -Gary Vee (from his videoSURROUND YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE)
Traveling allows you to grow. It’s an outlet for a person to see new places and obtain experiences that their small town will never provide. Exploring the world brings you to new faces that will support you and even befriend you. You need to get out of your hometown and grow.
This is an enormous world. Don’t be content with being in your pathetic tiny town forever.
The 2018 convention season draws near. You’re always broke from spending $500 on half-naked anime girl figurines. You love to spend $300 on anime Blu-rays, but somehow, you don’t have enough money for a convention. Do you think your mommy and daddy are going help you pay for your weeaboo dress-up festival? Of course, they’re not! You’re a grown man (or woman) now. Just like your friend whom you borrow money from for cons, they’re tired of funding your hobbies. Maybe you’re not broke, but you suck at money management. You’re the type of person to not have their priority together and splurge your cash on useless crap.
Because I’m a nice person, I’ll teach you how to get your money right. I’ll promise you that with my guide, you’ll have more than enough money saved up for you next convention adventures. It’s my duty and ethical obligation to help my fellow nerds stack money for their passion.
My guide is not for you begging ass, broke ass nerds (who always mooch off their friends). This is not for people who refuse to make money on their own. This guide is not for skeptics who believe saving money is impossible. Go away. You’re wasting my time and yours – but mostly my time. Do you tend to blow a check, or dip into savings for wants, rather than needs and raining days? Good. Get the hell off this guide – people like you will never learn. My advice is only for those who are serious about saving and getting their money right. I only help people who are willing to better themselves.
If you’re still here then that means you’re serious about wanting to save for conventions. Let us begin.
Obtaining a hotel room should be your utmost priority (next to buying a badge/pass). There are two categories for convention hotels: The main hotel(s); where most of the action takes place, and the secondary Hotel(s); for those who want a cheaper option and/or avoid crowds. The main hotel’s full price can range from $230-$1500 depending on the convention, location, hotel brand, days etc. Secondary hotels range from $180-$1000.
Most conventions hotels will accept room bookings about eight (8) months in advance (before con starts). Normally, the convention’s social media team will provide an update on when this will happen. Once they give the dates for room bookings, you want to start stacking up immediately.
Let’s say that you want to book with the Waverly Hotel (the host hotel of Anime Weekend Atlanta [AWA]). The hotel will allow room registration on October 3, 2017,* (the time of this writing) and the convention starts on September 20, 2018. The total cost of staying at the Waverly for four days is $700. This gives you about 50 weeks (or about almost 12 months) to stack. Ignoring assets and other forms of income, let’s say you get paid bi-weekly. You’re given 24 paychecks prior to saving if you’re working a regular 9-to-5.
Let’s do some math.
$700/24= $29.16. $29.16/2 bi-weekly paychecks = $14.58 $14.58 is how much you need to take out of your check a pay period. Put the $14.58 in a savings account (or any other accounts you do not have normal access to). If need be, consider opening a new bank account separate from your main one. If you bank at Bank of America, open an account with Commerce Bank, and then deposit the hotel money in that bank. Destroy any and all credit/debit cards linked to the bank – you do not want to spend any money on that account. Repeat until you reach your target goal.
(Please note that many banks are different with their savings account. Some may require you to have a minimum amount of savings to keep the account open.)
What if you’re splitting a room with four people (you included in this four)? Well, that’s simple! $700/4 people = $175 per person. Take your $175 and divide it by 24 checks. That’ll equal to $7.29 a check that you need to put aside.
Regardless if you’re alone or with a group, keep taking the money out of your check and stack it up until it adds up to the total amount of what you need. Remember not to touch it until it’s time to transfer your funds into your checking account, or when you need to give the money to whomever the name is on the hotel’s bill.
With the hotel taken care of, it’s time to tackle your badge situation. Now, should you save up for a badge, or go all in and buy one ASAP? That is dependent on you and your situation.
(*NOTE: AWA has yet to accept room bookings at the time of this writing)
Is it better to just go all in on a badge and pay for it now? Should you stack up for badge overtime and buy one in the future? Let’s go over each option and decide which is best for you.
Let’s say the badge is $45 at its cheapest (usually the first tier of pricing). If you can spend $45 and not be hurt by it, then go for it. Yes, you’ll lose money, but you won’t lose time waiting for your badge in line at at-door registration. Trust me: Losing time is worse than losing money. Money, we can gain back – time, we will never recover. You’re investing $45 in extra time – extra time you can spend on panels, autograph lines, chilling with friends, etc. To be quite honest, that’s a win-win.
Losing both time and more money is lose-lose.
So you can’t afford to invest in a badge quite so soon. That’s okay; you can stack up to the desire tier pricing. Maybe you want to save up for the second tier that’s coming up in two months. Or perhaps you want to wait and save for the final tier before online registration ends in six months. That’s cool. I can work with you on either or.
The second tier badge price starts at $55, the price increase will start on December 3rd, 2017. This gives you four paychecks until December 3rd. 4 paychecks divided by $55 equals $13.75 ($55/4=$13.75)
For the six months option (October 3rd to March 3rd): 12 paychecks/$75 = $6.25 a check. Again, just like your hotel money, place this money in your savings and do not touch it until you hit your target goal.
How you will get to the convention is up to you, and it will be different from person-to-person. Sadly, humans cannot teleport, so you must figure out a mode of transportation. This section will be broken down into four sections: Air, Road, Rail, and Public Transportation/Ride Share
Admittedly, I have never traveled to a convention by air. From what others told me, it’s best to book your flights as soon as your hotel and/or badge. I would personally put aside around $100-$200 a check for about 8-10 months if you have 100% confidence that you’re traveling by air. You might go a little over your target goal for the tickets, but it’s better to have more cash than what you think you need. Do not delay as airline tickets will increase their price as your departure date draw nears.
It’s not wise to wait.
In general, you want to book your rail tickets (such as Amtrak) months in advance. I say that you want to buy your train tickets around the same time you booked your hotel rooms and/or badge. The sooner, the better. Why? Because you don’t want to waste more money as time passes. Use the same method for booking and saving money for an airline flight as you would use for plane tickets as mentioned above.
CAR: This will depend on how far you’re traveling, your car’s MPG, and how many people you have riding with you. A trip to STL to CHI will cost you around $60-90 in gas. From STL to ATL will cost you $90-120. Again, this is dependant on your car and the people riding/driving with you. I would start saving up for gas money about three months before the convention.
Let’s take St. Louis to Atlanta as an example. When traveling with my friend to ATL, he charges me around $40 for the trip. I put aside about $20 a paycheck a month prior to us heading to Atlanta.
I really hope I don’t have to break down this simple math for you guys.
PUBLIC TRANSIT/SHARE RIDE: If you need to use public transit, taxi services, or a shared ride to get to a con, please research what bus, train, etc. you need to take for the convention. Bus and train fare will be dependent on the city you’re in, as well as share riding to a convention. In general, I say put aside at the $10-$30 for your choice of public transit and share ride a month before the convention (if need be).
If I know I’m doing a $20 Uber to get to my convention hotel, I put aside $5 from each paycheck about two months prior. So $20/4 bi-weekly checks = $5 I need to put aside.
Don’t forget to tip your driver. Don’t be a cheap ass.
You gotta eat and stay fueled up. Ever danced at a rave on an empty stomach? It’s not fun. Fast, cheap food or dine-in at a high-quality restaurant? Cook your own food if you have a kitchen suite? Again, this section depends on your budget and needs. If you’re planning on eating out in fast food places, your budget should be around $40-100. Are you planning on eating out at non-fast food places? You want to save around $130-200. If you’re cooking your own food, I say around $60-200 depending on how many people you’re feeding. Before I forget, you should have about $20-40 aside for a snacks budget just in case you’re walking around the convention center all day and you need lite fuel (such as cereal bars, fruits, etc.)
If I’m planning on eating out at fast food places, I place my budget at about $60 for the convention weekend. Knowing this, I give myself a month before the convention to put aside $30 a paycheck until I hit $60.
When I’m in Chicago for Anime Central, my friend, his crew, and I go to Hofbräuhaus for one night and dine in. Knowing that he preps for this dinner, I put aside around $40 two months prior. Two months gives me four bi-weekly paychecks. With this, I put aside $10 a check until I hit $40 and keep that $40 in my savings until it’s time to transfer my funds into my checking account.
This section is optional and you don’t need to party to have fun at cons (but it’s better that way). If you’re like me, then you’re about convention partying life. Therefore, this section is for you. In all honesty, this varies from person-to-person and their needs. If you’re just going to one party, you may need just one or two bottles, a few mixers, and a case of beer, which will run you about $35-$75. If you’re hosting a room party, then you may need to spend about $150-$1200. Feel free to check out my “So You Wanna Host a Room Party” article for more information.
I usually wait until after I check into my hotel and have everything ready before I buy my liquor. You do have those people who love to drop out of the hotel room at the last minute. That extra money could help in a situation. It does suck though.
Boy does it suck.
But you can make it not suck by stacking up six months prior to the convention if you’re 100% sure you’re hosting a room party. I’m projecting that my room party for Anime St. Louis* 2018 will run me $600 in alcohol, mixers, and other goods. Given my room party will be on that Saturday (May 5th, 2018), I must plan on saving my money aside for the party on December 5th. For two weeks up to May 5th, I will put aside $50 until I hit my target goal.
$600/6 months = $100 must be saved each month.
$100/2 bi-weekly paychecks = $50 taken from each check.
Of course, your room party budget will be different from mines. This is just an example of breaking down the math and planning.
*Disclaimer: I am not hosting a room party for Anime St. Louis 2018. Do not come up to me asking if I’m running a room party. This was just an example.
Adding it all Up
We have the numbers; now let’s add them all up. The total will be your target goal for savings. Below is an example based off my personal funds for major conventions, so your numbers will vary. Some will save more money than I. Others will save less. This is all dependent on the conventions you’re going to as well as funds and time.
TRAVEL (Road): $40 for my share of gas money
PUBLIC TRANSIT: $6
PARTY GOODS: ~$120
I’m going to take that $971 and divided by 11 months (until Anime Weekend Atlanta).
$971/11 months = $88.27 I need to put aside each month until the week before AWA for 11 months. By going bi-weekly paychecks I can put aside $44.13 per paycheck. This does exclude any forms of secondary sources of income. Applying my other sources of income to build up will make me reach my goal faster and earlier. This is giving or taking some items away (such as badge and alcohol)
Tips on Making (More) Money
Conventions aren’t cheap; that’s not a secret. I know people are struggling to make ends meet as well as putting towards their hobbies. It’s a cash drain, believe me. I understand. However, you can always make extra money to add to your funds. I’ll break down a few simple and easy ways to make extra money for you to use for the con.
WORK EXTRA HOURS/USE PTO
This is the simplest way to gain extra money. If you see that there are extra hours or shifts to be picked up at your job, jump on that chance. Does it suck that you have to give up free time to make more money at the job? Yes. Is it awesome to have a little bit of extra cash in your pockets for the convention? Yes. Go through some hardships now so you can have a better time later. If those hardship means working more hours at a job you don’t like, so you can go to a convention and escape from the workforce for a few days (or even work on your business AT the con), then do it.
If your job allows it, you can use your Paid Time Off (PTO) hours that you’ve stacked and use those hours on your off day. Then, when you get paid, put the PTO money into savings.
SELL/FLIP PRODUCTS ONLINE
Do you have old video games, comics, mangas, etc. laying around at your house that isn’t of use to you? Sell them on eBay to make extra dough! After you research and study the value of the items you want to sell, just create a listing for them on eBay, Amazon, Craig’s List, etc. You can either sell your own product if you have your own business or flip other people products. I personally flipped items from Loot Crates to gain extra cash for funds.
SELL DRUGS/INVEST IN A DRUG DEALER
Don’t do it. You’re not a dope boy/dope boy investor in college anymore. If you are a dope boy then all I have to say is be careful and watch out for the haters and fake friends.
…Althrough you could sell drugs to the partiers at conventions to make extra cash. Just a thought.
INVEST IN A LEGIT BUSINESS Your homeboy is a real estate investor or owner and has a great track record of returns on investments? Invest with him.
If you need more ideas to increase your income or have a new source of income to fund your weeaboo hobbies, I recommend the following, as they have helped me with increasing my income and manage my money:
Saving money for conventions shouldn’t be so hard. Yet, so many weeaboos struggle to do so. Sometimes, people attend conventions without a budget or money at all! Having a budget and money saved aside will help you out in the long run, as it’s nice to have extra money. Not having money at a con isn’t fun. Nobody will help you out – it’s up to you to have cash. With this how-to guide, I hope you learn how to save and manage your money for future convention events. I believe everyone should have money save up to maximize their fun at cons. Start saving now! Do not wait until it’s less than a month before the convention to save. Apply what you’ve learned from this guide for the future!
Besides, nobody will feel sorry for your broke ass. Get this money and save it.