Hey, it's Kiwi here!
Going to a convention as an artist is very different than going as a visitor. I've tabled at quite a lot of conventions in various european countries but this time I wanted to share my experience from tabling at Comic Market (also known as Comiket).
This was my first Asian convention- as I did a bit of research beforehand I knew that it's going to be a bit different than what I'm used to in Europe. The registration process starts really early (almost half a year in advance!) and it's a lottery system (you register and pay for the table, then get a letter of acceptance or rejection). You also need an address in Japan to register. The form you need to fill in is very precise- you have to specify what kind of goods are you going to have, how many of them, when you first published them and so on. And most importantly- what kind of genre and fandom are you planning on participating with- as the series and genres are separated in three different days.
The event takes place in Tokyo Big Sight in Ariake, next to Odaiba
Upon arriving you're going to be greeted by a mass of people- some of them have been queuing from as early as 4 or 5AM to get in as early as possible to get in line to the tables of the most popular artists!
As an artist though you join a different queue though (still really crowded!) but that one moves really fast and efficiently. When you enter the building you need to give your ticket you received along with your acceptance letter.
The venue is massive so I really recommend buying the Comiket guide beforehand- it's REALLY thick and heavy but it has all the information you might need- the pictures of all the artist circles participating, their space number, the map of the halls and other. This way you can come prepared and avoid getting lost or wandering aimlessly!
As you cannot actually take photos inside of the venue aside from your own table without any complications- that's the only photo I have.
As comiket is a doujinshi even mostly- that's what most of the tables were filled with. But there were all sorts of goods and merchandise too! But unlike on western conventions- don't expect big displays and multiple fandom merchandise on the table. The spaces are really small and most circles have usually just a few things displayed.
The atmosphere between the artists was quiet at first (especially towards me and my friend- white faces and speaking not-japanese between ourselves didn't help for sure haha) but then as the event progressed it got really pleasant and I managed to talk a bit with our neighbours.
It was a pleasant experience! All the visitors that bought from us were really nice and the staff on the site was really helpful. There is even a special information point just for foreginers- so if you have trouble with Japanese then you can start there!
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