A guide to surviving the biggest convention in Asia02 November, 2012 by Mus
In just under a week, the biggest anime convention in Asia will kick off in Halls 7 and 8 of the Singapore EXPO. Coming unprepared to an event of this scale is generally not very pleasant, especially considering that the convention is no longer in central Singapore, meaning nearly everyone has to travel quite a fair bit. We look at several tips that would hopefully, make the AFA experience better for everyone.
To Infinity and Beyond
Anime Festival Asia moves east for the Singapore leg in 2012 to the Singapore EXPO. The floorspace for the convention has been increased, with the event occupying two halls, 7 and 8. The Singapore EXPO is located at the Singapore EXPO MRT station on the East-West Line.
The halls in question are also right next to the MRT station, so there should be no real problem in locating the venue. It is also accessible by bus from several bus-stops, although this method would incur some time for walking to the venue itself. Of course, should you get lost there’s always the solution of just following the crowd.
AFA2012: A Merchandise Odyssey
For many, goods are the reason to attend AFA. Not only are big names like Good Smile attending AFA, but also smaller shops that sell all manner of goodies. There are several things to take note of when it comes to buying goods. Namely, these are size, weight and of course, price.
Weight and size are two things you should always keep in mind. Physically huge items are harder to carry and store, even if they are light. Should you want to purchase something that’s rather bulky, try to see if it’s possible to get it near the tail end of your visit, to minimize having to carry such big items. This is also true for any non-time-limited shopping you want to do.
It is always a good idea to pack a reusable shopping bag to bring along. These are those bags your mum brings to shop with; they’re foldable, practically weightless and very handy. You can use them to consolidate any smaller items you might have, and their preset shapes make it easy to Tetris-stack everything to fit nicely.
If you’re a pack rat who keeps everything you get in a con, consider bringing a clear file. There are always flyers being given out at AFA. While most would be quick to dispose of them, they can be quite collectible. The file would help keep the creases out and make sure they survive the trip home intact.
Cash-flow is an issue as well when people visit conventions. While the EXPO has no shortage of ATMs to use, one can easily foresee the crowds queuing up to withdraw money from the machines. If possible, withdraw money from an ATM before you reach the venue, maybe at your home MRT station, or along the way. This would greatly reduce time spent queuing; you can instead spend that time walking around.
The Cotton Club
Comfortable shoes should be given high priority, assuming you want to actually view all the booths in the convention. Avoid too-high heels, flat-soles and flip-flops. Proper footwear goes a long way to making your feet less tired as you walk around the convention.
Besides shoes, remember to dress the part as well. If you’re expecting to stay at the convention for the whole day, then wear something comfortable. There might be no chairs for you to sit on, so skip the fair colored chinos and wear some denim trousers should you need to resort to that.
Of Rice and Ramen
Food is always an issue at any sort of big event, and AFA is not an exception. Thankfully, there are many places to get food at the venue. There is an AFA Food Street in the convention itself, which probably means there will be people peddling foodstuffs. Price however, is unknown until the day itself.
Alternatively, there is food along the halls of Singapore EXPO. Flavours East has everything from hawker fare and fast food (like Burger King and Texas Chicken) to restaurants. Depending on your tastes, complete meals can be had for under 10 dollars, although some queuing is to be expected.
No matter what you choose however, always remember to bring a bottle of water with you to the convention. There’s nothing quite as bad as the feeling of needing a drink and your only choices are carbonated or flavored drinks. This is especially true for those attending the I Love Anisong performances; hours of cheering would take a ridiculous toll on your voice, and keeping hydrated helps the post-concert hoarseness.
Finally, we’ve come to what is probably the most important part of this guide: Planning what you want to do. Head on over to the AFA2012 site to see what’s on at what time, and what exactly you want to see. Any specific acts appearing at specific times? What about time-limited merchandise or events? AFA will last 3 days, so you can always plan to do your shopping on one day and see all the acts you need to on the other two.
Have a look at the floor-plan to see at a glance what you need to see and where it is. This keeps your time standing around doing nothing (and blocking everyone else’s way) to a minimum. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to be a little pushy at times, especially if you find yourself in a jam through no fault of your own, like getting blocked by 3 people walking abreast.
This brings the AFA survival guide to an end. While it might seem like a lot of things to consider, it would help your (first or otherwise) con experience and hopefully facilitate actually having fun during the event. See you there!
Floor-plan from AFA Facebook page. A larger version is also available for perusal there.