Post-AX Musings

Trying out WordPress’ “Upload/Insert From URL” feature for the first time using links to my photos from flickr. This should make integration and posting from my flickr photostream a lot easier now, which should also help me blog about my days at Anime Expo. On that note, these photos tell of how I helped gather most of my friends who were roommates with me at Anime Expo 2011 to enjoy some anime, Mikunopolis, Japanese food and beverage, and some karaoke of some of our favorite shows. I began with some shots of some of the new Nendoroid I acquired at AX, starting with Lucky Star’s Konata dressed in a shrine maiden outfit and sporting a digital SLR. I should get a magnifying glass and paint “Canon” on the camera!

Picking up Good Smile Company’s release of their Katanagatari nendoroid petit set from Kidnemo was an absolute must, especially being a huge fan of the show! Also picked up at AX was Mio, Yui, and Mugi of K-ON! at Toylet‘s booth. I picked up Ritsu at Anime LA earlier this year, but her counterparts were nowhere to be found until a few weeks ago at AX! All I’m missing now is Asuza. I wonder if she was even made as part of this set. Hmm..

Here were the stars of the day’s festivities: SEGA’s nendoroid petit set of Vocaloid characters Kagamine Lin, Hatsune Miku, and Megurine Luka. I believe their designs are from Project DIVA.

Here’s a snap of a daruma I picked up last summer with Anthony preparing the initial phases of making takoyaki for lunch. Not to give away too much, but I plan on visiting a very good friend in a faraway land, and do some volunteer work and major sightseeing while I’m there. Oh, and maybe have some cultural adult beverages under really nice looking pink-petal trees with the happy local community. =P

Here is the one of many types of takoyaki grills you can grab to make this delicious treat. At this point, the cooking is about halfway done.

As you can see, we like to take pictures of our food, even if it’s homemade. Here’s a snap of Allison taking a pic and posting it on Facebook.  It led to 18 Likes and 14 comments. Social media sure is amazing.

And here is the end result! Huge kudos to Anthony for making this happen. It made watching some of the Mikunoplis concert even more of a blast.

Takoyaki nearly gone at this point. Sitting beside our plate is Anthony’s MikkuMiku Kagami. Yup, we had to break out the glowsticks.

The mug that wasn’t pictured prior is here in this shot. It kept my strawberry Calpico nice and cool in the dry summer weather.

After lounging around at my place for a while and watching Working!!, we saw a scene where ramen was served and immediately started craving some for ourselves! So we took a short trip to Shin-Sen-Gumi in Fountain Valley, which is one of my favorite (and first-ever) local ramen shops. I was introduced to this place by my friends Steve and Sax back in college and have loved the place ever since.

The place only seats about 25 guests, so waiting to get in can take a while. Luckily, our turn to sit came around pretty quickly. Above is a shot of the bar, which I consider the main seating of the restaurant. We sat at a table just behind the people in front of this photo. To the right is their other restaurant that serves everything else you can order in a Japanese restaurant.

Outside, you can see Allison with her snazzy Nyan Cat t-shirt with the waiting list in the background. There’s only one bench to sit on outside, but luckily there are pillars that have concrete extended all around the bases, so you can sit on its edge if you ever get too tired of standing.

Just as your name is being called, you are given a menu and an order form that simplifies the order process. The form has rows for the number of patrons a party has, followed by space for which type of ramen you want and all of the additions you’d like such as seaweed and corn. Something that’s always made this restaurant unique when compared to other places I’ve been to is the thickness of noodles, amount of oil, and strength of soup base you’d like with your bowl.

Allison and Anthony were so impressed by their first trip here that we decided to create a haiku based on Shin-Sen-Gumi’s uniqueness of ramen customization. Great minds collaborate to create great works of art.

Here’s the set that I ordered: hakata ramen with hard noodles, thick oil, strong soup base, corn, seaweed, green onion, ginger, and fried onion. Delicious! I’ve been to many ramen restaurants prior to coming back here again, and I can safely say that Shin Sen Gumi is still the best in my opinion.

After some salt intake, sweet dishes are a must! We ordered some green tea ice cream that came with red bean paste, whipped cream, and a thin cookie thing.

In keeping with tradition of our fascination of food photos, here’s a glimpse of Allison and Anthony getting their own angles of the ice cream before we devoured it.

With some time left in the evening to spare and full stomachs, we headed to Elvis!?, a local karaoke studio that Anthony found for us. They have a huge selection of English and Korean songs to choose from, but our primary reason for going wound up being because of this:

Anime OP/ED songs! Who would have thought, huh? They even had some more recent hits like Kalafina’s ‘Magia’ and Claris’ “Connect” from Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

For a day dedicated to catching up with the times since our five-day stay in Los Angeles for Anime Expo, karaoke was the perfect way to close it out. We got to watch some good shows like we did in the hotel during our breaks from the convention, we made and even went to get food, and we sang some great songs. We even came up with some concepts for what to do next year, and even got to talk a little bit about November’s trip to Pacific Media Expo, which I’m sure will be its own fun and unique riot.

For a full set of photos of the day, please check out the flickr page here!

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