Conventions VS. Tokyo (Expansions,Clarifications, and FAQ)

After reviewing the initial article in this series, I was approached with a number of questions and concerns about how the numbers were derived, and what were the criteria for those numbers.

“Buying Items”

First, I realized that before moving on to the next section of planning a trip to Japan (Tokyo), I need to revisit some of the numbers, as I have gotten some questions/comments on the numbers saying, “I have never spent $500 in the dealers’ room at a convention.” With that, I will go over how I arrived at the $500 spending on “stuff/souvenirs.” The numbers below are actual prices for things I have purchased. I had to revisit receipts and credit card transactions to get these numbers, they are also rounded to the nearest whole dollar, and the Japanese numbers are based on a ¥100:$1 conversion (it was actually more like 101:1 – 102:1 at the time)

Anime Expo (2009)

Sakuracon (2010)

Posters $ 45.00 Glowsticks $ 15.00
T-Shirts $ 95.00 T-shirt $ 25.00
Photobooks $ 80.00 CD $ 25.00
Animation Cels $ 120.00 Import Video Games $ 90.00
CD $ 25.00 DVDs $ 85.00
Photocards $ 40.00 Photobooks $ 120.00
Blind Boxes $ 25.00 Photocards $ 45.00
Tote bag $ 35.00 Artbook $ 40.00
Blurays $ 65.00 Posters $ 30.00
Glowsticks $ 10.00 Animation Cel $ 50.00
Total $ 540.00 Total $ 525.00
Anime USA (2010)

Otakon (2010)



Animation Cels $ 70.00
Model Kits


3 DVD Box Sets $ 75.00


Model Kits $ 125.00


Art Books $ 50.00


S.H. Figuarts $ 50.00
Blind Boxes


Import Video Game $ 75.00


CDs $ 75.00
Autographed Merch




Total $ 520.00
AnimeNext (2012)

Tokyo 2013

Manga $ 25.00 Model Kits $ 120.00
Photocards $ 30.00 Discount CDs $ 35.00
Necomimi $ 100.00 Photocards $ 25.00
Ranger Keys $ 30.00 Full Price CDs $ 15.00
CDs $ 80.00 Gashapon Toys $ 10.00
Netbook Case $ 60.00 Suitcase $ 50.00
Model Kit $ 45.00 Bluray Box Set $ 99.00
Blind Boxes $ 25.00 Dojin $ 20.00
    Dreamcast Keyboard $ 2.00
    Clothes $ 85.00
    Art Books $ 35.00
Total $ 395.00 Total $ 496.00
Average Money Spent

$ 501.83

The average of my listed convention spending from 2009 to 2012 and my 2013 Trip to Tokyo is $501.83, rounded down to $500 for ease of representation.

Discrepancies Between OTDT’s “Traveling to Japan on a Budget” Episodes and “Conventions Vs. Tokyo”

If you listened to the Otaku Drive Time “Traveling to Japan on a Budget” podcast episodes (1) (2), you will know that I omitted a number of things I purchased – namely, my Playstation Vita and all of the concert goods.

Playstation Vita Purchase

The Playstation Vita I purchased was not purchased with money budgeted for “buying stuff.” The money for this item arose due to over budgeting in food, lodging, and tourist activities. The Vita was purchased on the last day of the trip in cash. The reason for the purchase was that the exchange rate dipped below ¥100:$1, and the cost of exchanging the currency back to US Dollars brought the effective exchange rate to ¥85:$1. I would have lost ~$35 converting my remaining ¥18000 back to USD. The budget surplus was spent because I am cheap and did not want to lose $35 and get nothing in return. As an Otaku, with typical Otaku spending and saving practices, I chose to spend that money on stupid stuff instead of holding on to the money for another trip. As I was unsure of when I would return to Japan, I chose to spend the money. Yen is worthless unless converted back to US Dollars while in the United States.

Concert Goods

On my most recent trip I attended a large number of concerts. At those concerts I spent a significant amount of money. When I budgeted for that trip concerts were a separate line item and had specific money put aside for those activities. The $500 for buying stuff was a line item on my budget that was separate and had the money put aside for it.

Concerts were not included in the “List of Activities” in the previous article; as such, the items purchased at those events were not included. If you are an idol pop fan, you are well aware of the costs of attending those events well in advance and would/should budget separately. The average and intended audience of the article is people who are going to Japan on a budget and doing general tourist activities. Concerts, particularly “graduations” or single day special events, should be planned in advance and are outside the scope of this article series.

“I book with many people in my room so my room cost is significantly less”

When writing this article I was working on the assumption that as an adult, you would book your room privately. When many of my friends and I hit our mid to late twenties we realized that our bodies did not deal well with sleeping on a floor, in a chair, or worst case in a bath tub. We liked to take showers, not worry about if our belongings were safe, and wanted to make sure we knew everyone in our rooms. We also learned that by our mid twenties we had decent jobs, and as such became the people that had to front the money for our rooms. Being the people who fronted the money, we often had to fight to recoup our costs from our “roommates.” This became a daunting task and frequently ended with us eating part or all of the room costs. Even with roommates, going to a convention requires someone to front the cost of the hotel. The article assumes that the reader is that “lucky soul,” and has to deal with the realistic potential of not getting repaid.

The other part of the number is based on the “I want privacy” principle. Some adults will want their own rooms for one reason or another. I know as I have gotten older, the concept of just me in a room, not listening to people snore, fart, or engage in other “athletic” activities in the room while I am trying to sleep is worth the expense. There is nothing worse than waking up to see someone’s naked parts accidentally in your face. I watched it happen to a hotel roommate a few years ago. She was scarred for life by the images of a naked 300 pound man standing over her as she lay on the floor trying to sleep.

“I never pay that much for parking at X event”

OK, if you are a frequent attendee of a particular convention, you will have learned the cheap locations to park your car, and the ways to get from your car to your hotel or convention center without getting shot, stabbed, mugged, or raped. The parking expenses were based on the rates at the convention hotel I used to calculate room cost. If I am going to a convention for the first time, in a city I have not been to before, I would definitely spend the money for hotel parking. Your safety must come before cheap parking.

Why is Alcohol on the Plane listed?

OK, this was added just to be funny. International flights include complimentary wine and beer on the trip. It is nice to take advantage of a free “cold one” once in a while. I did do such on my trip. United Airlines’ red wine was terrible, so avoid it. They should have paid me to drink it.

Why wasn’t all this in the original article?

Because it would have made the article TL;DR. A number of these items are not necessary to explain to get the overall concept of the article.

Isn’t this is an Apples to Oranges comparison?

Not really, as this article is intended to present financials only. The Apples to Oranges come from the intangible aspects of any of the trips. Those intangibles are things that are personally important to you and cannot have a financial value for comparison.

The comparison would more be a tiger to liger comparison, they share more common traits and one is an extension of the other.