The Cel Shaded report, 1/12: Kon-versation pieces

January 12th, 2012

The first quarter of the year for fans of Japanese culture locally has been pretty reliable over the past half-decade or so — coming off the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s New Year’s Ohana Festival in January, there’s the Honolulu Festival in March followed by Kawaii Kon in April.

Those fans are just going to have to adjust their timetables, because this year’s Kawaii Kon is the earliest one ever — March 16-18, to be exact. That’s just two weeks after the Honolulu Festival on March 2-4. Given the shrunken timetable, you can imagine that the news coming out of the Kawaii Kon camp has been flying fast and furious since the beginning of the year. Here’s what I have listed, in the order that they’re happening:

Ongoing: Ever wanted to break bread (and spring roll appetizers, and a choice of cheeseburger/bacon cheeseburger/veggie burger with side salad/honey mustard grilled chicken sandwich/barbecue pork sandwich/Caesar salad with chicken, and a hot fudge sundae) with voice actors Vic Mignogna, Johnny Yong Bosch, Lisa Ortiz and Chris Sabat? Then you’re going to want to register now for the newly announced Kawaii Kon guest dinner, happening from 6 to 8 p.m. March 16 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Waikiki. For $65 (plus a $2.62 online booking fee) — and if you’re interested, you’re definitely going to want to get on it now; the price rises to $80 at the convention — you’ll get a chance to mingle with the guests, enjoy that menu, and get complimentary transportation to and from the Hawai’i Convention Center. Registration is available through March 10 at the same site as regular Kawaii Kon passes,

Ongoing: Of course, if you’re hungry and want to meet the guests, you’re going to want a Kawaii Kon pass to go with that. It just so happens that two free three-day passes are up for grabs — one on the Kawaii Kon forums, one on the convention’s Facebook page. And all you have to do for a chance to win either one of those is answer this month’s poll question: For the forums (at, it’s “What was your favorite event from past Kons and why?” Over on Facebook (, it’s “What is your best Kawaii Kon memory?” You have until Jan. 31 to contemplate and write your answers. Good luck.

Saturday: An orientation meeting for volunteer staff members will be held at 11 a.m. at Kakaako Waterfront Park. This is also the third of four meetings, and you have to attend two meetings to qualify as a volunteer, so if you’ve been on the fence about putting in your 15 hours of work during convention weekend, you’re going to want to make your decision on that very soon. For a complete set of guidelines, a parental consent form (if you’re going to be 15 to 17 years old at the time of the convention) and an application form, visit

Sunday, at midnight: It’s deadline time for the annual Mascot Art Contest, where you artistic types out there can draw con mascots Nami, Takeshi and/or Ai-chan in whatever nice (and family-friendly) situations you see fit. While you can use either traditional or digital media in crafting your masterpiece, you’re going to have to submit it digitally (in JPG, PNG, TIF, BMP, or PSD formats). Find a complete set of rules and a submission link at

Jan. 22, 1 p.m.: The first of three preliminary rounds for the Karaoke Kompetition will be held at Orvis Auditorium on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. As in past years, contestants are asked to bring a CD with the instrumental track of their desired song (or just go acapella). Pick any song, as long as there’s no excessive swearing. Three contestants will be chosen as semifinalists. More information, as well as a link to an entry form, is available at

Feb. 25: Something will happen for the first time. Don’t ask me what. All I have to go on is this forum thread. But apparently something will happen.

Feb. 29: Last day to register for three-day passes at the discounted rate of $40 (plus online $1.99 booking fee) general, $30 (+$1.74) children ages 5-11 at The prices rise to $50 and $40 at the door, so if you know you want to go, pull the trigger now.

One final trivia tidbit: As of the date of this post, there are 63 days left until preregistration night; 64 until Kawaii Kon 2012 officially begins. And those days will pass by before you realize it.

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