This is a write-up of an exemplary eventer. It is also probably the best way to introduce the concept to a wide audience. Just to say you go to cons every weekend or once a month doesn’t mean anything to anyone who hasn’t done it before, so it has to be spelled out. For example, Otaben explains his finances as such:
Yep, I thought, spending around $500 a month on CDs sounds difficult. “Yeah, I bet it can be,” I said as I imagine how this hobby might set him back over time. “Well, I hope I’m not being to brazen to ask, but how much money do you spend in one year?”
Surprisingly, he didn’t hesitate answering for a second. In fact, he looked proud. “Last year I spent about 1,000,000 yen (approximately $10,000 USD). This year, I think it will be more than that. I can openly declare that it will increase proportionately with my income. Now, my maximum limit is 1,000,000 yen. I also have savings and I always try to make sure I have money for other stuff. I don’t spend all of it. Maybe 20 to 30 %.”
“Here is a rough breakdown of that 1,000,000 yen: 400,000 yen for CDs (handshaking event tickets/votes for election), 400,000 yen for transportation and accommodation for events, the rest is spent on goods and other things.”
There are a lot of takeaways here, and I’ll leave it to others to tease them out, but my main one is: “wow this is just like some people that I know.” But that doesn’t mean anything–this is a fairly typical profile. An English-speaking anison/seiyuu eventer who is based in Japan that I met this year basically fits this mold, including the wife and child part. What wowed me is how some oversea-based eventers are doing basically doing the oversea version of the same thing.
Which is to say this is still all different enough from North American eventers, but when I look at my own budget, it eerily parallels. At least, the spending on travel aspect. It is really expensive to attend cons because of hotels and airfare, let aside the opportunity costs and PTO costs and other free time spent on eventing. It is tiring, and honestly the stereotype of AKB wotas being broken middle-age guys is hard to buy personally because doing the eventer lifestyle is physically exhausting (among other things). If you are still doing this in your 40s, you are one fit, motivated dude.
And especially in the 48G case, eventing is at the heart of that fandom. I think this is one aspect to Japanese idol business and fandom that is totally overlooked, as other entertainment sectors pivot in a similar way. Anison and seiyuu idol have already done this thing a long time back, for instance. This is why we are on Eventernote, yeah? And planning Japan trip itineraries where we cram as many events as possible in a fixed window?
[Just a blurb about the theory of “Oversea eventers are all DD.” If we consider all the guests that comes oversea as all the idols in AKB48 (just as an example, because there are so many of them), has there even been one oversea con guest per AKB48 member?]
If it wasn’t clear to you, while Otaben is an idol otaku, an eventer can be all different kinds. You could be hitting up anime events following your favorite studio or director (and there’s a growing number of these). I’ve operated on the basis as mostly an anime otaku with a seiyuu idol bent, but outside of cartoon idols I don’t really do the idol thing. I just end up at events with seiyuu in them? I mean Mizuki Nana’s concerts these days are legitimate things that are far from the 10-second-per-handshake deal commenters of that article shake their heads at. But this is how East Asia do fandom.
And what Otaben says is true about the “best thing”: you can meet all sorts of people at these kind of events. And that fellowship element is what drive anime conventions, if you think about it. And it’s not unlike anime conventions. To say nothing of gender diversity (except IM@S lives I guess) or finding people from all walks of life, a Japanese dude can even run into a tall black guy or a tall white guy in some of these things. It’s a lot of fun meeting people in these kinds of context, making friends.
Give that article a read. It’s pretty good way to explain how I’ve been trying to not live my life!
PS. He spent only $4000 US in travel (assuming he’s based in Nara) to do one year’s event, and I’m sure his schedule is packed with events. I spent almost 50% more on travel to do just like 5 weekends worth of stuff in Japan. Sigh.