Wednesday, July 7, 2010

In a Foreign L.A.nd

I knew the exact moment that I had landed in a foreign land when I saw a Best Buy vending machine... Best Buy is usually just an electronic store and it's usually Japan who has vending machines for everything, but this is definitely a first. You just don't see many vending machines that will have iPods, DSi, GPS, digital cameras, phone charger, headphones and DS games in one place anywhere. If it were any other places than the airport that the glass will not stay intact for long.

And that is how I was greeted when I arrived in L.A. Many strange sights, but some familiar ones as well. The above picture is pretty normal. Another corner juice bar, but I thought the name was kinda funny, "Robeks". "Robek" means to rip something in Indonesian ^^;

Here is the view from my hotel room in Marriott Downtown Los Angeles. A pretty common hotel & room. It has what I need, except for free internet. I don't think I'll pay $9.99 for 24 hours of internet access...

Aside from the palm trees, I feel that the streets and building felt almost the same as Vancouver. I suppose most downtown cores are like that?

For my first outing to pick up my Anime Expo badge, I tried on the Judgment armband. I was hesitant about wearing it at first, but there were many other Expo goers that I thought it was normal to wear it, lol. Except... the armband is much smaller than I thought. It could barely fit my arm =(

And here's the Los Angeles Convention Center amongst the palm trees.

Hehehe, South Park, hehehehe.

This would be something that won't be posted around downtown Vancouver, I think. There were at least 3 of these around the Convention Center. Can't wait for the game!

After I picked up my badge, which I waited 2 hours from 6 to 8 pm, I had to find dinner. The hunger was too much. I didn't bring any other figures other than Luka Nendoroid (which I brought for Yuu Asakawa to sign) to take pictures of food.

This is a barbecue chicken pizza with bacon from California Pizza Kitchen. It was very expensive for a pizza this size, but I have to admit that it tastes great! Even the onions. I saved two pieces for breakfast the next day ^^;

Now there's a familiar brand... It's funny that where I come from, I used to ride in a Mitsubishi car. When I came here people only knew Mitsubishi TVs. Anyway, you can see the layout of the room a little bit from the reflection. Sorry if it's messy :P

There's this strange water dispenser in the lobby of the hotel. It's got different fruit everyday in it. It's nice to have some kind of free water, I guess, but they don't taste that great no matter what fruit you put in it ^^;

This AX was quite eventful! Especially with many visitors not from L.A. coming. Wolfheinrich arrived after me the next day in the same hotel. We were worried that they wouldn't let him check in early to the room, but he was able to check in. Wolfheinrich's room had a much better view too! He's got the pool view. So I took a photo while I was visiting.

These are the shuttles we took to go back to the hotel or go to the convention center. They gave free shuttle rides for people who bought 4-day passes, but I think some of the drivers didn't care if we had a shuttle pass or not. It's like almost an honor system. Either way I was glad they had these or we'd be tired everyday walking back and forth from the hotel to the convention. It's still problematic when there's a crowd and nobody organized it. Like the first night was awful because after we came out quite late in the night, these buses came, but no line was formed. It was just one big crowd trying to get in first. Eventually staff members came and tried to organize the people by routes. By then we were unable to board 3 times because of the size of the crowd. We were grateful that they were there though, especially late at night. The next day they put on signs on which lane and which buses to board. It was helpful, but I wished they were more organized.

The Staples Center is right beside the convention center. It wasn't used at all for Anime Expo. It's pretty much like an obstacle we have to go around.

This is the Nokia Plaza and to the left of it is the Nokia Theater where concerts and other major events take place. They had a stage set up in the Nokia Plaza for additional entertainment, like a Laser Show. But the spotlights seem to be always on at night creating very bright nights.

JW Marriott is the closest hotel and probably the most expensive to stay in. The guests stay here, including Danny. The internet is $13 for 24 hours from what I've heard. It is very convenient because of its proximity though.

This huge LCD screen at the outside wall of the Staples Center was the brightest thing ever! It's like the sun is out at night. I had to cover my eyes from its brightness while I was walking by it.

One of the main reasons I came to L.A. was to meet Yakuri. We planned on meeting on Wednesday, but that went astray. We did meet quite early in the day on Thursday. I was in my cosplay and was ready to meet her. I didn't tell her I was going as the male version of Mugi from K-ON's ending song, Listen!! I only told her I would be in cosplay. It was quite a reaction when she figured out who I was cosplaying, lol.

Later on I got quite hungry, so around dinner time Yakuri took me to Little Tokyo for Japanese curry. It's actually my first time having Japanese curry (Glico instant curry aside...). Damn good I must say! I have to have more now! Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it ^^; It's a lump of rice covered with beef curry and a soft-boiled egg on top. Really, really good! I did take a picture of that space shuttle in Little Tokyo though. We ventured into Kinokuniya and Anime Jungle as well while we were there before they closed. It made me plan on what to buy from them at the convention, lol. Thanks for taking me to Little Tokyo, Yaku ^_^

The parking meter by my hotel... I wonder when they'll upgrade the Vancouver parking meter to this? I think we'll need it considering how expensive it's become to park here. So I have a question for people from Los Angeles and the U.S.A. in general... How often do you encounter a $1 coin?? I got one from a co-worker who visited there, but I've never seen it again ever since!

So on my way out going back to Vancouver, I took these pictures of that Best Buy vending machine. Seems like people do seriously take a look at this machine. I'd like to take a look too, but I worry I would be too tempted to get something ^^;

The plane was delayed leaving L.A. I had to wait inside the plane while it's being delayed for an hour. Thankfully the plane from Seattle to Vancouver was delayed to accommodate our late flight. At least I was able to take advantage of the free wi-fi on Alaska Airlines. It's free on the plane until July 31st, otherwise it would be $13 bucks for however long the flight is...

I was very tired on Monday when I got back and had to work 16 hours later. I didn't have time to sort all the photos yet, but will try to post the rest as soon as possible. I'm gonna break the AX posts up a little bit since there are LOTS of stories to tell! It felt like quite a long time when I was gone when it was actually only 5 days ^^; And it felt very dream-like when I tried to remember this awesome weekend. More to come!


  1. OMG. That Best Buy vending machine has to be the most epic vending machine ever! The only vending machines that exist here are vending machines for softdrinks, coffee and at rare occasions, junk food. XD

    I so want to see that cosplay of yours! I'm curious to see how ecchiman looks as Male!Mugi XD

    Can't wait for the next posts about AX. *wants to go next year*

  2. It was great to meet you in person finally, waiting for your next AX post! As I am preparing my blog post for The Adventure of DD Kiriha myself!

  3. Been a while since I was in LA, don't remember Best Buy vending machines XD Now where's this cosplay? We must see!

  4. I loved going to little Tokyo the last time I went to LA, went to Book Off and bought $140 worth of stuff. I was really happy. Ate at the restaurant there at the grocery store and got a chicken bowl. That was good. I really want to go back, even if it's just for ALA '11.

  5. @ninjovee: Haha I know right. It's one crazy vending machine. I hate to have the item actually stuck there even after I paid for it.

    ^^; Will post all of the AX cosplay next, lol. I want to go next year too!

    @Wolfheinrich: Yes, indeed it was nice to meet you and one of your daughters as well :D I can't wait for what I missed in your post ^.^

    @Persocom: It still looks brand new, lol. It's only in the airport too. LoL all cosplay will be next post.

    @Cadha13: I can imagine myself spending that much in Little Tokyo as well ^^; I held back for the convention though, hahaha. I'll have to try other food next time as well :)

  6. Yuri mate! Oh how I wish I got to go to AX 2010 and meet DC comrades! Too bad my timing is off.

    I think I saw your male Mugi cosplay somewhere. :) It looked cute.

    Can I please have your judgment armband? I'll take a picture of me wearing it whilst proclaiming "Judgment desu!" and send it to you.

    Welcome back! Hope to visit Vancouver someday, but only if you host me. :)

  7. Hey you're welcome, we can go eat Curry House anytime you want, I LOVE curry house!

    That's one thing I didn't like about the shuttles, there's so many people and only so many shuttles to go around. So, for next year's AX I'm gonna bring my car ^^

  8. @monzzi3: Yah so unfortunate >.< It's already crazy meeting some people from online here! More is crazier! XD

    Uhh... we'll see about the armband :P It was being sold for $25 at the con ^^; And yah, drop by Vancouver if you'd like. I'm not a good tour guide, but I can help you get around :D

    @Yakuri: I'm starting to love Curry House too! The one I had was very, very good! And LOVE the refillable iced green tea! That was helpful after a full day in cosplay XD

    Oho, so you'll be driving from SJ to LA then? Shall I fly to SJ and drive so that you can sleep? LOL. I'm considering what would be cheaper, flying or driving there ^^;

  9. Yeah mostly to go to sleep; it seems my bro and roomie will stay around the area, so if I bring my car I just need to sleep there (no hotel fees and no shuttle waits).

    I think it's the same flying and driving at the end of the day. If it's not the gas, it's the plane ticket.

  10. Nice meeting you at the CGM Night. Will we see this cosplay at next year's K-On! gathering?

    The Best Buy vending machines are in many U.S. airports, but big ticket item vending machines aren't too unusual here...I've seen iPod vending machines at Macy's and a Rosetta Stone software vending machine at the mall...As for most expensive hotel, I think the taller Ritz Carlton behind the JW Marriott is more expensive...

    I'm surprised at the prices for WiFi...There are several Starbucks and McDonald's locations that offer free internet...Because of its proximity to the University of Southern California, there should be a couple places with free internet...

  11. @Yakuri: Oh sweet! So you'll have some kind of free stay then ^^ It really makes me curious what's cheaper, car gasoline or plane tickets. Also depending on the comfort level too. It'd be much more relaxing on the plane.

    @amateur_cameko: Nice to meet you too! I'd love to be at the next K-ON gathering. I really wished I could've come to the one this year. It looked really fun when I saw your post!

    Oh yeah, that Ritz Carlton, lol. With a name like that, I can be sure it'd be expensive. And over here we're not used to that kind of vending machines, only stores with people working in it ^^;

    It's just more ways for the hotel to make a quick buck out of the business people who stay there >_<

  12. Hm, doesn't the fact that it is the airport mean that the glass shouldn't stay intact for long?

    Ack, Judgment band. Need to get online ordering. South Park is sav'd.

    And well, when it comes to the trust system we of Canadia should be no strangers, right? I'd look forward to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 if you could choose Morrigan three times, but as it stands...

    I suppose that we've finally become affluent enough that buying expensive electronics is nothing but a passing vending machine expenditure. Not that I'm complaining, no.

  13. @Tim: I figured there'd be more security inside the airport, compared to downtown L.A. where a riot could break out just from a basketball game >.>

    You should really look at how much we rely on the trust system over here... No turnstiles for our public transit train aka subway. Maybe add Lilith into your lineup? But then again she may not even be there. Yes it's become something common to buy an iPod from a vending machine because everyone has one and if they need one they have enough money to get it from a machine...