Japanese animation has become something of an anomaly. The content of anime has become so diverse that a show exists for any interest; if you are into cars, watch Initial D. Want to be a better chef? Food Wars breaks cooking down into a science. Love exercising? Goku turning Super Saiyan for the first time will motivate you to hit the gym. Anime is full of knowledge, history, humor, and wit, yet can be poetic, melancholic, mysterious, and, at times, ridiculous. It is a wonderfully unique style of art that, since its inception in 1951 (Astroboy, by Osamu Tezuka), has grown to unprecedented levels of success. But more noteworthy than Japanese animation itself are anime conventions, most notably the attendants.
Anime Conventions began in 1975 in Tokyo with an event called Comiket. The attendance then was around 700 people. Anime NEXT, held in the Atlantic City convention center, had an attendance rate of over 19,000 people. So, what makes these conventions, events that are focused solely on the niche genre of Japanese animation so wildly popular?
Seeing the cosplay alone is worth it
Cosplaying is synonymous with anime conventions. Yes, it is easy to put together a ragtag costume (it’s also very funny), or to buy one from a Halloween masquerade store, but many of these attendants pour thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours creating their own costumes. They use 3D Print technology for armor, or paper mache techniques, stencils, steel forging and welding, LED lighting, anything. The creativity and innovation is incredible. You’ll catch celestials with ten foot wingspans, enormous robotic suits, eyes glowing, bodies whirring with mechanical, moving parts. This community pours everything they have into an outfit that allows them to be the character they love the most. In essence, they are allowing themselves to be themselves through their characters. It is amazing and art in motion.
The cultural diversity
I remember being at Anime NEXT. I had just received my press pass and was wandering the halls upstairs when I heard music from below. A group of cosplayers had plugged in a big subwoofer and blaring from it was Prince Royce’s cover of “Stand By Me”, a popular Latin cover of the original Ben E. King classic, but in the style of Bachata. I hurried downstairs and caught dozens of people being asked and courted to dance and, suddenly, it became a party. Strangers became friends. Everyone was laughing and were taken by the moment. You will see people from all parts of society. One of the greatest feelings about partaking in a convention is that the reality of all we are is forgotten. Everyone is accepted and it is diversity in its finest hour.
The Activities. Play a Game, Have a Drink, High Five Left Shark.
Aside from the panels that lets you talk to famous voice actors and Japanese musicians, the free game room boasting hundreds of hit games such as Super Smash Brothers, Street Fighter, Marvel Vs. Capcom, and Dance Dance Revolution, the marketplace that hosts hundreds of merchandise vendors, artists, and rare collectibles, you are free to do just about anything. Tired of walking? Sit literally anywhere you like and rest. Walk outside and watch a photoshoot take place, catch characters from different Animes stand off against each other. Head to the many bars for a drink. At night, go to the raves in the ballrooms. Go to the nightclubs. The options are practically endless, and apply to every anime convention in the country.
Nowadays, it’s about more than just anime.
It started off as a gathering of people with similar interests, like all conventions do, but over the last decade, anime conventions have become an event that encompasses all pop culture. Yes, you’ll see your Ouran Highschool students, your Edwards and Alphonses, Narutos, and Attack on Titan cosplayers; you’ll also see Spidermen. You’ll catch Harley Quinns strutting down the halls, Batmen, Hogwarts students, Deadpools, Transformers, and Ninja Turtles. Anime conventions have become a haven for all fans of any medium.
5 Deadly Outbreaks You Probably Never Heard Of
Some health practitioners and experts say one common thing: we were due to have a new flu virus.
In December 2019, a new virus strain, COVID-19, started to infect thousands in China. By early 2020, its infectious nature reached different countries like the United States, Italy, and Spain. At the time of writing, over 1,000,000 people are infected, and over 60,000 have died.
In this article, we examine viral outbreaks like coronavirus in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The 1918 H1N1 Influenza (Spanish flu, as many call it) is possibly one of the deadliest outbreaks in history.
Experts aren’t sure where the virus originated. It’s hypothesized to have started in Asia, while some do say it began in the Iberian Peninsula. That’s why some historians or researchers called it the Spanish flu. It’s also named as H1N1 because the virus came from an avian origin.
At the time, you had the Spanish flu if you exhibited these symptoms:
- Blue skin
- Fluid in lungs
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first wave of the outbreak in the United States started in March 1918. The disease was so infectious that it spread to different continents in six months. By October 1918, over 195,000 Americans died because of H1N1 influenza. One of the most surprising findings of the 1918 influenza that it even killed healthy individuals between 20 to 40 years old.
Researchers and scientists only gave an estimate as to how many died from the virus. Estimated deaths were between 50 to 100 million, while there were over 500 million people infected globally. Taubenberger and Morens believe that the mortality rate was 2.5%. Besides, History suggests the death toll for the H1N1 virus claimed more lives than World War I.
The CDC reports that the new influenza strain was in Singapore first then spread to Hong Kong. Its other misnomer is Asian flu since the virus spread in the region. Britannica finds that similar to viral outbreaks like coronavirus in 2003 and 2019, it first appeared in China and spread in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Most of the infected are the elderly, children, and pregnant women.
Those who contracted H2N2 had these symptoms:
This virus strain claimed over 1 to 2 million lives globally. There’s no official case fatality rate (CFR) globally, but in a symposium paper by Dr. Payne, they estimate that it’s less than 1% in England. Meanwhile, CFR for the young and elderly range from 1 in 2000 to 1 in 6000.
Another virus strain in Asia manifested ten years later. Some called it the Hong Kong flu. Many researchers suggest that it was from the same virus strain as the Asian flu. It spread to the United States in September 1968, with over 100,000 deaths in the country.
Similar to H2N2, there were over 1 to 4 million deaths worldwide. Symptoms of the 1968 Influenza are:
- Muscle pain
It’s similar to the viral outbreaks like coronavirus in 2003 (SARS-CoV) and 2019. The CDC says that this strain of influenza continues to infect as Influenza A (or the seasonal virus).
Sino Biological states that the CFR for the Hong Kong flu is 0.5%.
Six years after the SARS-CoV outbreak, a new flu virus strain emerged.
According to Krista Duda in Very Well Health, the first case of the H1N1 virus was found in a 10-year old girl in California. They add that it’s a mix of swine, avian, and human genes. Based on the CDC timeline, WHO declared it a public health emergency on April 25 then raised the pandemic alert on April 27.
People at risk of contracting the 2009 H1N1 disease are the elderly, pregnant, immunocompromised, chronically ill patients, and children less than five years old. Those who had the 2009 H1N1 virus had some of these symptoms (alongside cough and body pain):
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
The CDC estimates that 0.001 to 0.007% died from respiratory complications. Plus, they also estimate that the death toll was around 151,700 to 575,400 worldwide. It’s one of the viral outbreaks like coronavirus in 2019.
Aside from COVID-19, one of the most recent viral outbreaks in history is the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. Scientists first discovered the Ebola virus disease in 1976. There were no cases of Ebola in the ‘80s, but it reemerged in 1994 and has reemerged time and time again.
Those who contracted Ebola presented these symptoms:
- Body pains
- Muscle weakness
- Sore throat
Plus, according to the National Health Service, the symptoms can last up to 21 days. Other symptoms that could occur are diarrhea, rash, and internal bleeding.
The 2014 to 2016 outbreak is significant because of reported cases outside Africa. The reported incidences for this outbreak were 28,652, while the death toll was at 11,325. There were only 11 cases of Ebola in the United States during this time. Only two of them died. WHO reports that the CFR is 50%.
Otakon Welcomes Writers Roland Kelts And Frederik L. Schodt
Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese pop culture has invaded us, and writer, translator, and conference interpreter, Frederik L. Schodt have both joined as guests for Otakon 2017. Fans of the writers were thrilled for their appearance at the convention, as they share their most popular and influential works. Frederik writes exclusively on pop culture, technology, and history, while Roland is currently a 2017 Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University, where he is currently working on a new book. Both Frederik and Roland are devoted writers, with similarities in expressing Japanese culture in their writings.
While living in Tokyo and New York City, Roland writes for a variety of well-known publications that includes, “The New Yorker, Time,” “The New York Times,” “Harper’s Magazine,” “The Christian Science Monitor,” “Newsweek Japan,” “The Los Angeles Times,” “The Yomiuri” and “The Japan Times,” and is an authority on modern Japanese culture and media. His writings are spread throughout, though his recognition is from Japanese fans especially. Likewise, he is a frequent commentator on CNN, NPR, NHK, and the BBC. With additional lectures for TED Talks in Tokyo and The World Economic Forum in Tianjin, Roland is looking for various opportunities to share his work, in order to spread awareness to the Japanese culture.
Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, with the title of holding in one of the largest gatherings of fans in the United States. In the celebration of anime, manga, video games, and especially music from the Far East, Otakon attracts like-minded fans. Created from devoted fans for fans, the staff is directed by an all-volunteer, unpaid staff. The conventions are solely for the purpose of celebrating and sharing Japanese and East Asian cultures.
Frederik is best known for his many works on manga that includes, “Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics” (1983), “Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga” (1996), and “The Astro Boy Essays: Osamu Tezuka, Mighty Atom, and the Manga/Anime Revolution” (2007). He has won numerous awards for his talent in the past as a result. In 2009 especially, the emperor of Japan awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his success in introducing Japanese popular culture to North America. His most influential work gave recognition to both him and to what Japan has to offer.
As of recently in 2013, his book, “Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe: How an American Acrobat Introduced Circus to Japan—And Japan to the West,” won the Circus Historical Society’s Stuart Thayer Prize. Doing so, for the last three years, he has served on the executive committee of the Japan International Manga Award. Additionally, he is an active translator and has worked on much well-known manga series, as well as novels including Yoshiyuki Tomino’s “Mobile Suit Gundam” trilogy.
Frederik has been involved in spreading Japanese culture and will continue as he attends Otakon 2017. The convention holds determined fans who wish to express their culture with other similar people. In Otakon 2017, writers Roland Kelts and Frederik L. Schodt are invited to continue the tradition. All while cementing their writings and work to Japanese culture, the awareness can now be shared in North America.
Otakon will be continuing their gatherings next year on August 10-12 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C.
Ultimate Gift Guide For Pet Owners
As an entrepreneur, you’re up to your neck in work. Your days are filled with constant thoughts about the status of your business, and we can’t blame you! Sometime during your journey, you may have picked up a furry friend or two along the way. The holidays are about appreciation, and when it comes to our pets, it should be no different. They love us unconditionally and they deserve to be pampered. We put together a list of gifts that we think your pets will love.
P.L.A.Y Santa’s Little Squeakers Plush Toys
Inspired by Christmas ornaments, Santa’s Little Squeakers Plush Toys are perfect for your pooch this holiday season. You can collect all five ornaments for your tree and as a gift for your best fur friend. My personal experience with dogs is that they like to destroy their toys as quickly as possible. The Santa’s Little Squeakers Plush Toys are high quality and made using durable construction. They are also safe for the environment! Each toy is stuffed with their in-house eco-friendly soft PlanetFill® poly fiber.
Arty Cat Scratcher
Cats love to sharpen their claws and will find any means necessary to do so. Instead of allowing your cat to scratch up the ends of your couch, check out the Arty Cat Scratcher. It has an innovative curved design, made to blend in well with your decor. The Arty Cat Scratcher can be separated into two pieces, allowing your feline friends to scratch or lounge until their hearts’ content. The curved area is perfect for hiding! You can use them together or place them in different areas of your home. What’s great about the Arty Cat Scratcher is the weight. It’s slightly heavier than most cat scratchers, so when it’s being used, you won’t have to worry about it slipping and sliding everywhere.
As a dog owner, you probably feel sad when leaving your dog at home alone. With the CleverPet Hub, you no longer have to worry! The technology used for CleverPet keeps your dog entertained while you’re away. The hub has three lights at the base, and when it is touched, treats will be distributed. The lights are lit in a sequence of colors, and treats are only distributed when the correct light is touched. It’s a game console for your dog! While you’re at work, you can turn it on remotely using their CleverPet app. The app also tracks their activity and gives you updates on their progress. As for the toy itself, it is highly durable and easy to disassemble. It stays in place while it’s being used and holds quite a bit of food. When introducing your furry friend to CleverPet, be patient and watch as they learn how to get rewarded with treats!
Kurgo Explorer Carrier
If you have an active lifestyle, the Kurgo Explorer Dog Carrier is for you. It features a sturdy base, perfect for a small pooch to rest in comfortably. The Explorer Dog Carrier is waterproof and easy to clean. When you’re traveling, you can attach it to a seat belt to prevent sliding. It’s a guaranteed seat for your furry best friend! You can choose to keep the carrier open or zipped according to your dog’s comfort. The Explorer Dog Carrier is also designed to fit under your seat when you fly, so you can take your pup with you no matter where you go.
iFetch Ball Launcher
Exercise is a MUST for dogs. iFetch innovated the way we play with dogs with their interactive ball launcher. It can be set to launch at 10, 20, or 30 feet and comes in different sizes to fit your dog. You or your dog can drop in the ball at the top and it will launch out of the machine for your dog to fetch. This can lead to hours of fun, keeping your pooch entertained. You’ll have time to work on your projects while your dog is preoccupied with iFetch.
Kurgo K9 Carrier
We all have to take our pups on car rides every now and then. The Kurgo K9 Courier is perfect for just that. It provides your dog with a booster seat so he will be right beside you, secure in his pouch. This way, dogs can look out the window safely during long drives. The K9 Courier can only fit dogs on the smaller side but is versatile for multiple situations. If you are staying at a hotel, it can also be used as a pull out travel bed. It comes with a long adjustable strap that you can use to take your dog from place to place with ease.
Wonderwoof Bowtie Activity Tracker
You have the FitBit, and now your dog can have the WonderWoof! It keeps track of your dog’s activity, so you know how to keep him happy and healthy. The bowtie activity tracker can easily be clipped onto a collar and is lightweight enough to be comfortable. Through their app, you can map your walks, set care reminders, add caretakers, and connect with dog lovers in your area. The app is customized by breed, so the activities are specially chosen for your special friend.
ViviPet Cat Bowls
Get your cats the modern dishware they deserve. ViviPet Elevated Feeder is perfect for your feline. The bowls are shaped like cats and they sit on a wood base. Cats prefer to eat at an elevated position, and the ViviPet Elevated Feeder is just that. It is tilted at 15 degrees to prevent food fallout. Made of pine wood and ceramic, your feline friend will be very happy with your choice.