When last we left the fundraising effort to help Stan and Sharon Sakai with Sharon's mounting medical bills, the PayPal link for direct monetary contributions was broken. As of today, it's still broken. And apparently it's not getting fixed any time soon, either; Stan noted in a Facebook post early this morning that it'll probably take a few weeks to resolve. (There's an update on Sharon's condition in that post, as well. Oh yes, and you don't need to have a Facebook account to read his updates.)
Good news for those of you who want to contribute right away, though: The Comic Art Professional Society has set up a P.O. box where people can send checks for the cause. (Since the average Otaku Ohana reader tends to skew toward the older demographic, I trust I won't have to explain what a "check" is in this day and age of direct electronic transfers, PayPal and ATM cards.) Make checks payable to CAPS or Stan Sakai and send them to:
P.O. Box 656
Burbank, CA 91503
There's no deadline for contributions, but if you're like me and tend to forget about things the further out they are, you'll probably want to contribute sooner rather than later.
Isle-born Stan Sakai, creator of the comic book Usagi Yojimbo and longtime letterer for Groo the Wanderer, is highly regarded as one of the Really Nice Guys in the comic industry. Tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I found this out firsthand back in 2006, when we sent him a bunch of questions for a Kawaii Kon preview article and he sent back enough material to write that article, an online-exclusive supplement with his travel journal and artwork that ended up gracing our weekend section cover for our con coverage that year. He's been a guest at two Kawaii Kons -- 2006 and 2009 -- and I'm sure anyone who sat in on one of his panels would agree that he's quite an engaging fellow. Here's a picture of him at Kawaii Kon '09 with a sketch of Usagi, his most famous creation.
What many people probably didn't know, though, was that around two years before Stan's first Kawaii Kon appearance, his wife, Sharon, had been diagnosed with a benign meningnoma brain tumor. And while radiation treatment and regular MRIs seemed to keep it in check in subsequent years, according to Stan, it started growing aggressively again in 2010.
She has facial paralysis on the left side (everything happens on the left side). The paralysis includes her throat, vocal chords, and it has even deteriorated her neck bones. She had lost almost 40% of her body weight in a year. She is undergoing chemotherapy. Doctors don't see any end in sight for this. There are complications because of the tumor, medications, or just coincidence--diabetes, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, compromised immune system. She has a tracheostomy tube for breathing and a G-tube connected to her stomach for a liquid diet. She can take nothing through her mouth. She is bed-bound, but we try to give her daily physical therapy--walking a couple hundred feet with a walker and/or sitting in a wheelchair.
She had been in the hospital and nurse care from April to September, but we are glad she is home. She requires 24 hour care, so daughter Hannah and her family moved in with us. This includes 18 month old grandson Leo, and another grandchild due in February/early March.
While there have been regular updates on Sharon's condition on Stan's page, friends and colleagues have largely shown their support by sharing their thoughts, prayers and well-wishes with the couple. Now, however, a more formal campaign to help pay for the mounting medical bills has emerged: CAPS, the Cartoon/Comic Art Professional Society, is organizing a charity art auction and is now soliciting donations from artists worldwide. The actual auction itself will be announced at a later date. Artists, you can find a form that you can download, fill out and send in with your contribution at www.garageartstudio.blogspot.com/2013/11/help-stan-sakai.html. If you aren't artistically inclined but still want to donate to the cause ... well, this part of the post was where I was supposed to write that you could go to that same Garage Art Studio post and donate via PayPal, but the link is broken at the moment. Stay tuned either here or to my Twitter feed for any further updates.
To Black Friday and beyond!
This special holiday shopping edition of the Ota-cool Incoming! calendar, spotlighting one special anime-themed shopping event and craft fairs where regular local anime con vendors like idkwhat2wear, Bit of Sugar and Team nemu*nemu, Audra Furuichi and Scott Yoshinaga, will be selling stuff over the next few weeks, is unofficially brought to you by "Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday," a classic nemu*nemu comic strip from 2009.
Can't make it to any of these events? Vendor websites are linked in the paragraph above. It should be noted that nemu*nemu has their holiday sale running through Dec. 16 (might I recommend the $25 e-book bundle with all six volumes, freshly recolored volumes 2-4 and introductions by industry luminaries including a certain friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger?). Audra's taking commission requests, to boot; I've always had to restrain myself from buying every single piece Audra's ever drawn, so now's your chance to have that very same conundrum of choosing what you want to buy. Meanwhile, over at idk's site, you can only buy their shirts at the moment, but every order comes with two randomly chosen buttons.
Art+Flea Presents "Totoro Black Friday": The monthly "destination for creatives, by creatives" takes a Ghibli turn this month. Shop for one-of-a-kind handcrafted items from dozens of vendors. and celebrate the works of Hayao Miyazaki, to boot. Swing by the Photo Ops Hawaii photo booth or watch Andy Lee of Charisma Industries work his drawing magic live, too! Admission: $3, but you can take $1 off if you come dressed as your favorite Ghibli character and another $1 if you bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. Fresh Cafe (831 Queen St.); 5-10 p.m. Friday.
27th Islandwide Christmas Crafts and Food Expo: With idkwhat2wear and Bit of Sugar. Admission: $4 general, $3 military families and seniors 65 and older, free for children 12 and under. Neal Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall; 4-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Hawaii United Okinawa Association Winter Craft Fair: With idkwhat2wear (yup, it's a split-squad weekend for them!), the nemu*nemu crew and all the fresh-out-of-the-fryer andagi and other tasty Japanese treats that you can afford to eat. Admission: Free, but $5 will get you into the banquet hall (where idk and nemu*nemu are) 30 minutes before the formal opening time. Hawaii Okinawa Center (94-587 Ukee St., Waipio Gentry); 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
"An Evening in Waipio": With idkwhat2wear. Think of it as like the Winter Craft Fair mentioned above -- right down to the $5 early-bird offer -- except in the dark of night. Hawaii Okinawa Center; 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 11.
Moanalua High School Winter Craft Fair: With idkwhat2wear, the nemu*nemu crew and Bit of Sugar. Admission is free, but bring your walking shoes if you're not there at the crack of dawn waiting for parking, because you'll probably be hiking from somewhere in the surrounding Salt Lake neighborhood. At the high school, 2825 Ala Ilima St.; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 14.
Honolulu Gift Fair: Stacey Hayashi, author of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team graphic novel Journey of Heroes (now heading into a second printing!), will be one of the vendors in attendance. Admission is free. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall; 3-9 p.m. Dec. 20, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 21 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 22.
Welcome to October, the month where, if you can't find some event that interests you, you have to start questioning whether your heart's really still into this anime/manga fandom.
A bunch of major players are hosting events this month: Kawaii Kon. The Hawaii International Film Festival. Taku Taku Matsuri. Oni-Con Hawaii (yes, I'm counting them now even though it's a November event, because I'm checking in to my hotel Halloween afternoon and will probably be too busy covering it to be able to write them into the November Ota-cool! calendar, so yay). McCully-Moiliili Library manager Hillary Chang. That's not even factoring in regular meetings of groups like Comic Jam Hawaii and MangaBento, or the Space Battleship Yamato live-action film from 2010 screening at the Ward theaters toward the end of the month.
There's something going on pretty much every week — so much, in fact, that I ended up breaking up my customary beginning-of-the-month Ota-cool Incoming! post into three parts, for easier reading. And part 1 focuses on the big-bang kickoff to the month, what I saw as one crazy busy day several months ago: Saturday.
About a 30-minute, 14-mile drive separates the Kawaii Kon-hosted Anime Day at Windward Mall and Mini-Con at McCully-Moiliili Library. That information will come in handy for the truly hard-core fans among you, as both of those events are happening at roughly the same time -- Anime Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mini Con from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If time and/or parking are your priority, perhaps Mini Con, sponsored by the library, Collector Maniacs and the Ross Dress for Less across the street (in the old Longs building!) ought to be your first stop. Now in its fourth year, Hillary Chang has invited her by-now standard roster of all-star artists ready to meet and greet patrons -- Gordon Rider / Ararangers artist Jon Murakami, nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi, Crazy Shirts designer and Kikaidaverse fan artist Kevin Sano, and Brady Evans and Tara Tamayori with their dual Pen & Ink Works / Hachi Maru Hachi attack. (It's super-effective!)
Jon, Audra and Kevin will all have stuff for sale -- Audra in particular will have another lineup of I-wanna-buy-them-aaaaaaaaaaaall original artwork -- and Pen & Ink Works will host a workshop at 11 a.m. There also will be free swag to collect (bookmarks! pencils!) and free anime screenings throughout the day. Cosplayers also will receive special prizes just for cosplaying, so go for it! Besides, Hillary's always unveiled a costume of her own every year. You wouldn't want her to feel all alone in her creative endeavors.
Weird (but given my recent history with covering such events, totally not expected) thing: I don't think I ever posted a Flickr gallery of last year's Mini Con. So if you want a taste of what this year's event will probably look like, here you go:
The larger of the two events is Anime Day, which took over a bunch of empty storefronts and the centerstage area of Windward Mall last year. Most of the accoutrements from last year's event are back this year: cosplay contests, free anime screenings and a dealers room / Artist Alley hybrid (where one of the vendors, I understand, will be a certain beading enthusiast who also writes a popular Star-Advertiser business column, selling anime- and video game-themed jewelry). The Comic Jam Hawaii gang will be hosting the Art Wall and sketching stations as well. The only thing that's missing is that giant Christmas tree that regularly spewed out artificial "snow" in the centerstage area, but that Anime Day was also held in early December, so there's that.
There's also the promise of a "few surprises." If you've been keeping track of the Kawaii Kon Facebook page in recent weeks, for starters, there has been that whole "here's a picture of a particular character ... what does this all mean?" running bit ... I'm only speculating here, but could we finally be getting some confirmed answers to that question? And will it be, as your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger thinks, the announcement of the voice acting trio of Rob Paulsen, Grey DeLisle and Quinton Flynn as guests for Kawaii Kon 2014? We shall see, I suppose.
Weird (but given my recent history with covering Mini Con 2012, totally not expected) thing: I don't think I ever posted a Flickr gallery of last year's Anime Day, either. So if you want a taste of what this year's event will probably look like, here you go:
And that's still not everything going on this weekend. Some other events of note:
Star Wars Reads Day: May the force of literacy be with you! Eight libraries -- Aiea, Aina Haina, Hawaii Kai, Kahuku, Kapolei and Mililani on Oahu, Makawao on Maui and Princeville on Kauai -- will be hosting Star Wars-themed giveaways and activities. Aiea will host members of the 501st Imperial Legion and the Mandalorian Mercs, as well as offer activities for the kids, between 10 a.m. and noon. Kapolei will also have 501st members and kids' activities between 10 a.m. and noon, while Mililani will have a bunch of giveaways between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Cap it off with a screening of Star Wars: The Clone Wars from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at Hawaii Kai.
Got it? Awesome. Be a v-kei creature of the night and come out to play at Nextdoor (43 N. Hotel St.) from 9 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
Comic Jam Hawaii: This Sunday is the first one of the month, which means it's time for another Pearlridge sketch session. Join this group of collaborative cartoon artists from 1 to 4 p.m. and draw to your heart's content. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii.
Keep in mind, this is just what's happening on one weekend this month. Next time, there's a whole film festival's worth of material to delve into. And then after that, there's the rest of the month to cover.
It's going to be a wild ride, folks. Strap in and enjoy.
Spent a good chunk of the 19th anniversary of my 18th birthday checking out Brady Evans' "Crossing Cultures" manga exhibit at Windward Community College (short-form recap in six words: it's really awesome, go visit it; long-form recap coming in Otaku Ohana after I soak up a bit more staycation time).
Close to two weeks later, long since the warm fuzzies from staycation relaxation were replaced by the smothering blanket of daily work stress, running through my mind this morning:
OH MY GOSH THE WINDWARD HOOLAULEA IS TOMORROW THE EXHIBIT CLOSES ON WEDNESDAY I'VE ONLY HAD TIME TO WRITE CAPTIONS FOR SEVEN PICTURES OUT OF 70 IN TWO GALLERIES THE WINDOW FOR THE OCTOBER OTA-COOL INCOMING! UPDATE IS COMING UP FAST AND THE LAST TIME I UPDATED OTAKU OHANA TOYS N JOYS WAS STILL OPEN KYAAAAAAAAH MUST WRITE AND POST SOMETHING NOOOOOOOW *flail flail flail flail flail*
It's probably going to be a while before those two galleries -- one for the exhibit proper, the other, a side gallery dedicated to the drawings exhibit visitors have created -- are ready for viewing. They may not be out until an end-of-the-year retrospective, truth be told, with all of October's events, plus the possibility that I may be called upon to review some films screening in the Hawaii International Film Festival, looming on the horizon.
But for me to say nothing further about the exhibit before it ends in less than a week would sell it short, because there's still quite a bit going on. There's the aforementioned Hoolaulea from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, where the Honolulu Printmakers will be hosting a hands-on manga printmaking activity and Gallery 'Iolani will be open for visits. There's also the final curator's walk-through and artist meet-and-greet session from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, featuring Gordon Rider/Star-Advertiser "Calabash" cartoonist Jon Murakami and doujinshi artist Kyunyo.
You can also get a virtual taste of the exhibit at the excellent tie-in website hawaiimanga.com, with exhibit photos, sound clips of the featured artists and downloads for a treasure trove of materials including the exhibit booklet, Rose Dela Cruz's tie-in manga and bookmarks with Audra Furuichi's nemu*nemu pups. Brady, along with featured artists Tara Tamayori and Audra, also did an interview with Hawaii Public Radio's Noe Tanigawa posted under the somewhat unfortunate title of "POW! Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii." (I'm sorry, but the whole "let's add sound effects to something about comics, because when people think comics, they think of the Adam West-era Batman TV show" strikes me as a tired media cliche, ranking right up there with "MANGA! Wow! Girls are reading comics now!" on the irritation scale for me.)
Here's a taste of some of the highlights from my visit to the exhibit, starting with ... the entrance! There are several discrete sections to the exhibit: the history of manga (the first wall of which is shown here); a discussion of the local otaku community; and displays on a number of local series influenced by manga.
Here's curator Brady during the exhibit walk-through, talking about the nemu*nemu display. Worth noting in this picture:
The girl with the red backpack was wearing an Iwatobi Swim Club jacket. That club will be very familiar to those of you who know about the fanservice-for-fujoshi swimming anime Free! How she got that jacket that quickly, I have no idea.
It's an Aiea Library young adult librarian sighting!
And here's Brady next to costumes of Fullmetal Alchemist's Alphone Elric and Persona's Teddy in the Kawaii Kon section.
There's quite a bit of art on display, but here's a figure study from one series that I haven't highlighted very often in this space: Marisa Torigoe's "Children of Aumakua," one of the series from the Hawaii Star Manga Project anthology.
Journey of Heroes writer Stacey Hayashi was the scheduled featured guest of the day. She talked about the creative process behind the manga depicting the World War II story of the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team in chibified form.
Cacy & Kiara artist and MidWeek cartoonist Roy Chang also showed up as an unscheduled featured guest of the day. He and Stacey swapped books later on.
And, of course, some Star-Advertiser anime/manga blogger dork is part of a display where local manga "dignitaries" -- the others being Kawaii Kon senior administrator Roy Bann and Star-Advertiser "Bento Box" cartoonist Deb Aoki -- shared some thoughts about the evolution of Hawaii's otaku community.
Roy Chang and I were chatting a little after Brady's walk-through, and we both agreed that the exhibit's production values were impressive, on a level with the Osamu Tezuka exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco in 2007. Certainly worth checking out if you have some free time over the next few days.
When last we left our intrepid Hachi Maru Hachi creative team of Jordan Takemoto, Rose Dela Cruz, Brady Evans and Tara Tamayori back in March, the talents behind the local manga anthology were getting ready to release their second issue at Kawaii Kon and pondering the possibilities for a third issue for next year.
Well, we've reached the "open solicitation" phase of the creative process ... and if you or any local artist-types you know want to be part of that next issue, now's your chance. Tara -- she of "Eternal Blade" and that series' perverted panda -- posted the following today on the Hachi Maru Hachi Facebook page:
Hey all! Tara of "Eternal Blade" here! We are looking for people interested in doing their own manga and getting it published. All that is required is for you to have some sort of relation to the islands of Hawaii and have confidence that your work is ready to get out there.
We won't just take anyone. Make sure to contact our president, Jordan Takemoto, with a 20-24 max page, one-shot story with character designs and concept, background, and fashion. We also want some inking examples of your work (if it's digital that is fine), color is optional, and method of work (traditional/digital/both). Be ready and persevere against our strict president because he will poke holes in your story until there are none. If you are in younger than 18 make sure you let us know and have the consent of your parents. We do not wish to pull you away from school work. ((((；ﾟДﾟ)))))))
This is a lot of work but we hope you can contact us with all of this by the end of this month (or a little later since i posted this late). That way there is room to get this printed by February and sold at the Kawaii Kon in March. Good luck! Or がんばって‼ (((o(*ﾟ▽ﾟ*)o)))
Interested? You can get in touch with Jordan via the aforementioned Facebook page.