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Kawaii Kon 2011 at the Hawaii Convention Center on Oahu

2011 Kawaii Kon—The 4th Annual “Cute” Convention of Animation in Hawaii!

Aloha! Last week, I got to chaperon my son’s Anime Club to the 4th Annual Kawaii Kon—Kawaii meaning “cute” in Japanese—and there were so many cute things to “coooo” about! It was 4 days of fun at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu, and it was filled with interesting characters and lots of events to enjoy with thousands of people in attendance!

When my son, Esaiah, went to this Anime conference last year with his Kealakehe High School Anime Club, he came back with all kinds of fun stories! So, when he told me that he would be President of this club for 2011, he asked me if I wanted to be a chaperon to the conference, at which point I had to say, “Absolutely!”

From the time we got to the airport, we started having lots of fun getting to know each other for the trip!

Flying into Honolulu was very exciting! Esaiah and I were happy to see the weather was beautiful…we knew we were going to have a great time!

For the last year, we did a bunch of fundraisers—selling Krispy Kremes, Aunty Vierra’s Fundraiser Sweet Bread, and Candy…and 18 of us ended up going to Kawaii Kon as a group. I was so excited to go, I packed my bag full of clothes, so I wouldn’t be forced to go shopping!

Traveling with the group was very fun, and there were other past and present Anime Club members who went to the conference on their own, so we got to hang out with more friends when we got there. We started getting into the mood by talking about what we loved about Anime, and which cartoons were our favorite…mine, of course, being Pokemon and also Duck Tales!

This convention was all about having fun and enjoying any cartoons that we loved. People were very mindful of each others uniqueness, and it felt like every person was an artist, or a creative thinker…the teens that I went with were very talented, and each marched to their own drum.

I was there to see Pikachu! I am a big fan of Pokemon, and Ash Ketchum was my hero, with his trusted loyal mouse Pokemon, Pikachu!

When we arrived in Honolulu, a bunch of us went to Ala Moana Shopping Center to have dinner, and oh that was so fun! Being in the city after being in the country for so long is like having the lights go on bright from a dimly-lit room…just the energy of the place was so fun!

Even though we had so much variety at the Ala Moana Food Court, we ended up eating at…McDonald’s! I’m addicted to the McTeri Deluxe, so it was fine. A juicy teri-burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, teri-sauce dripping out of it, with a glob of mayonnaise oozing out the sides; a local girl favorite to the max!

A seasonal local favorite is the McTeri Deluxe Burger at McDonald’s in Hawaii…better than any teri burger I’ve had anywhere!

So, our first day at Kawaii Kon was super fun! It wasn’t the official opening day, so the crowds had not arrived yet, but there were still lots of people, and lines to get into the Dealer’s Room (where all the vendors were selling items), and the Artists Alley (where the Anime artists create and sell their Anime products).

This was the most fun room for me. The Dealer’s Room at the Anime Conference…there were so many cute things to buy, and it was neat to see the array of items for sale, from clothes, to hats, pillows, and even cosplay costumes! What a great idea for a conference…cute and fun things to enjoy!

The Artist’s Alley at Kawaii Kon was very unique and interesting to say the least! They had lots of Anime buttons, Charicature artists that will draw you like an Anime character, interesting anime designs, drawing contests going on, software programs being tested, and it seemed very odd to me to see three adult men sitting at this faux tea party table…Kawaii!

I attended the opening ceremony which was very cool! I had just bought the new iPhone, so I was testing the video…and I was very pleased with the footage recording, even though I was sitting down taking this video.

There were more interesting people to take pictures of, so I had the most fun time people watching! There were people dressed up in Cosplay all over the conference halls, couples who dressed up as Team Rocket with their baby in the stroller dressed up as Meowth, lots of people who had swords or fake guns as part of their cosplay, and this cool looking father and daughter standing in line.

These people were just standing in line—they could have won the Anime Cosplay Contest!

It was so neat to see that every person could be themselves and dress as the Anime character that they loved…freedom of expression lives!

Since we were in Oahu, I also knew that I would be able to experience the food court at Ala Moana, so the next day I was craving a local favorite that I don’t get too much of in Kona…Manapua!

The Chinatown Express at the Food Court was an affordable meal with lots of Chinese to-go items to choose from! I also fell in love with the Baked Char Siu Manapua! It was only $1.50 each and the bread was so soft and warm with the char siu bao pork falling out, the experience was SO worth it!

My favorite traveling meal, Char Siu Pork Manapua—a soft sweet bun with tasty pork inside…mmmm!

You could tell that I was a “tourist” from out of town, I wanted to take pictures of all the varieties of food I saw in one place! There were purple mochi bars, almond cookies, rice cake, and all kinds of pastries at Chinatown Express!

What I love about Chinatown Express was the variety of fresh to-go food available; seeing these dumplings come out of a large bamboo steamer was such an exotic experience for me!

When we went back to Kawaii Kon, a group of us stood in line for the Butishake Dance, which we were planning to get some exercise dancing around like crazy…and we did!

It was great to be a kid again with these modern-day teeny boppers!

They played very interesting songs at this Butishake Dance at Kawaii Kon; the Chicken Dance was the funniest dance ever! I had a great time chaperoning the kids to this dance, and we came back to our rooms very tired and very happy! Oh, what a night! We all slept very well.

The next day, the kids went to the Anime Conference while I stayed back and had a great time alone in the hotel room, blogging on my laptop, listening to Pandora, and watching the gorgeous Honolulu day go by…

The view from my room at the Ala Moana Hotel was gorgeous enough for me. We were perfectly located between the Anime Conference and the Ala Moana Shopping Center. I did a lot of walking, and the weather was beautiful!

Coincidentally, my 25th Pre-Class Reunion was located at the same hotel that I was staying at…so, I got to attend that for a little while on Saturday night. Our group leader called a meeting at 11:00 p.m., so I was able to take pictures with friends and then leave…oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

What I loved about our classmates in high school was that we had friends in all grades…so, when I came to Rumours it was so cool to see our friends who were older and younger than us…pure aloha Castle Knights!

I also got to have lunch with another classmate who saw that I was in town from my Facebook page, and we ended up having lunch at the Food Court, but my favorite meal was when he brought breakfast to me from Zippy’s…a dream come true meal if there is ever such a thing!

When in Oahu, I must go to Zippy’s Restaurant at least once…the food is a local style classic! I loved that I could get spaghetti with garlic bread for breakfast! My friend ordered the grilled cornbread, which was so moist and yummy!

My heart was filled to the rim with Aloha at this point. I was in heaven just being able to experience all the fun things to do and food that I got to eat, but I knew that soon we would be heading back to Kona, and I was ready to return “home.”

I was so happy to see Mount Hualalai in the distance as we were landing into Kona. Home sweet island!

I was sitting next to Esaiah as we flew home, and all the feelings from this trip caught up with me. I felt like I had bonded with Esaiah’s friends, and I learned so much about the new age leaders who will be ruling the earth someday…cute, but strong, unique, and friendly, and each of them has their own magic power to succeed in life!

I wanted to take one more pic with these two Anime Club members…they were super special to me! Thanks you two for making my first Anime experience something I will always remember!

As I went to get the truck in the parking lot, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful sunset colors in the sky. Kona was welcoming us home. I was so thankful that we made it home safely, and that we had a great time on Oahu together.

I had an awesome trip to Oahu, and a wonderful return with this awesome sunset to welcome us back home

On the way home, Esaiah and I reminisced about all the fun things that had happened, as we did a lot of things separate since I was assigned to chaperon a different group. We laughed all the way home, and we shared a big box of Manapua with my neighbors…it was so nice to have souvenir food from our trip. Even the dog was happy we were home!

Anyway, I look forward to more fun experiences like this in the near future! It’s great to be a kid again! Love and blessings!

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Lei

July 11, 2011

Hi – I stumbled across your site while looking for pics of Kawaii Kon. I was a vendor in the dealer’s room, so it’s nice to see pics and read stories from people who got to participate in the events. Hope you get to make it out to Kawaii Kon 2012 – I heard it’s going to be even bigger next year!

🙂 Lei

Lei

July 11, 2011

Hi – I stumbled across your site while looking for pics of Kawaii Kon. I was a vendor in the dealer’s room, so it’s nice to see pics and read stories from people who got to participate in the events. Hope you get to make it out to Kawaii Kon 2012 – I heard it’s going to be even bigger next year!

🙂 Lei

Claire K. Bajo

July 17, 2011

Aloha Lei! Thanks for your comment! I cannot wait for next years Kawaii Konvention.. i bought a Pikachu cosplay and everything! lol [Not sure if I’ll be able to wear it in public.. but that’s how inspired i am by the whole theme of “coming as your favorite anime character”] What was your vendor booth selling? Would love to connect with you at the next convention Lei! Mahalo again!

Claire K. Bajo

July 17, 2011

Aloha Lei! Thanks for your comment! I cannot wait for next years Kawaii Konvention.. i bought a Pikachu cosplay and everything! lol [Not sure if I’ll be able to wear it in public.. but that’s how inspired i am by the whole theme of “coming as your favorite anime character”] What was your vendor booth selling? Would love to connect with you at the next convention Lei! Mahalo again!

Angel Rumbaoa

October 14, 2011

Hello there!

I was looking for Big Island Anime Clubs (High Schools or just an outside club) and I ran across your blog! As an administrator of Kawaii Kon, I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it. It impresses me to see that people from other islands to come and enjoy the convention.

Just to correct you a little, 2011 was actually our 7th year! Now onto our 8th! 😀

I hope you, your son, and the Kealakehe High School Anime Club will come and enjoy Kawaii Kon 2012!

Angel Rumbaoa, Administrator of Kawaii Kon.

PS. If you didn’t check the website yet, please do! We have newsletter subscriptions and new guests!

Angel Rumbaoa

October 14, 2011

Hello there!

I was looking for Big Island Anime Clubs (High Schools or just an outside club) and I ran across your blog! As an administrator of Kawaii Kon, I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it. It impresses me to see that people from other islands to come and enjoy the convention.

Just to correct you a little, 2011 was actually our 7th year! Now onto our 8th! 😀

I hope you, your son, and the Kealakehe High School Anime Club will come and enjoy Kawaii Kon 2012!

Angel Rumbaoa, Administrator of Kawaii Kon.

PS. If you didn’t check the website yet, please do! We have newsletter subscriptions and new guests!

Claire K. Bajo RS

November 18, 2011

Aloha Angel!

Thank you so much for your response, and thank you for correcting me also! I didn’t know how popular this Anime convention was to have it’s 8th year upcoming.. yeay! We are fundraising now to attend again this year, and we look forward to all the fun we are going to have as well! My son Esaiah [Senior] is the Anime Club President again, so we are definitely planning to enjoy all the Anime experiences we can! I’m also helping with Project Grad 2012 and I am using my experiences from The Rave night and Opening Ceremony to help the Seniors go out with a bang.. so thank u Angel! I will check out your website and forward to the Anime Club as well.. what was the address again? ..blessings & aloha to you Angel!

Claire K. Bajo RS

November 18, 2011

Aloha Angel!

Thank you so much for your response, and thank you for correcting me also! I didn’t know how popular this Anime convention was to have it’s 8th year upcoming.. yeay! We are fundraising now to attend again this year, and we look forward to all the fun we are going to have as well! My son Esaiah [Senior] is the Anime Club President again, so we are definitely planning to enjoy all the Anime experiences we can! I’m also helping with Project Grad 2012 and I am using my experiences from The Rave night and Opening Ceremony to help the Seniors go out with a bang.. so thank u Angel! I will check out your website and forward to the Anime Club as well.. what was the address again? ..blessings & aloha to you Angel!

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