Monday, April 8, 2013

Time Travel Trouble

While many of my fellow bloggers have been riding the alphabet train, this year I decided to skip the A-Z challenge and focus my attention on my writing and time travel. You could say that I have been dealing with time travel. To be more specific, time travel trouble which was the theme for this year’s Banzai Convention (Banzaicon).

Banzai which means "ten thousand years" originated in Asia as an expression used to wish long life to the Emperor, and is typically translated as "long live" in English. Banzaicon embraces this phrase as several hundred youth gather to celebrate Japanese pop-culture in Larvik for 3 nonstop days. Dressed in an exciting array of costumes they seem to come straight out of comic books and into an arena of Games, Anime, Sci-Fi and Internet Culture. This year’s theme of time travel made an exciting background for the convention, of which Dr. Who of course played a huge part. 

Banzaicon is an Anime Convention that just finished celebrating its fourth year here in Larvik. Open for all ages, young and old, this is the place to be if you share a common interest in Japanese pop-culture. There are many young people today that are not involved in sports or other activities that will get them out of the house and into a safe environment. Socializing for them is done through the internet where gaming often becomes their reality and for many, avatars their best friends. The youth in Larvik took matters into their own hands and created a non-profit organization called Rounin Events, which is geared towards this group of young people. Rounin Events has 200 members and is responsible for organizing Cosplay, Concerts and a variety of other activities geared towards the youth in Larvik. Banzaicon is meant to create an Intimate atmosphere for youth to socialize in, at the same time there are strict rules against the use of drugs or alcohol. There are over 100 volunteers helping out each year, among them are many specially trained in security, medics and the Red Cross. Safety is an important priority when there are so many people attending.

My son Kristoffer Ottem and friend Martin Severin, are both involved with Rounin Events and they are the lead organizers of Banzaicon. This is a role they inherited from its brainchild Martine Tufte, who now studies theater and film in England.  Martine, also known as the “Mother” of Banzaicon, is still very active as the main events planner. Interest in Banzaicon has grown beyond everyone’s expectations and the surprises just keep coming. All 500 tickets were sold out, and several international artists continue to make the trip to Norway in order to perform. Next year’s convention is already in the planning stages.

So are you asking yourself where I fit in amongst this environment of Japanese pop culture? Can you see me role playing and dressed up in costume? This is my second year volunteering. As mother and friend, I have the honor of working in a team that feeds and cooks for all in attendance. Once a year I have the opportunity of being involved with this group of young adults that inspire me with their dedication, commitment, teamwork, creativity and spirit.

Now that I have some more time I will be traveling around to my friends blogs. I am curious to see how many of you are keeping up with the A-Z challenge and what the rest of you have been up to.
Have a great week!