A hashtag has been trending on Twitter in Japan recently that roughly translates as “the Comiket tips no one ever teaches you”. While a lot of the suggestions are tongue-in-cheek, there are actually some extremely useful tidbits hidden in there. People often say that Comiket is a battlefield, and it really is; thousands of otaku jostle for the chance to get their hands on limited-edition merch before it sells out, and if you’re not being crushed half to death like you’re on a rush hour train, you’re struggling to stay on your feet in the hours-long queues (here’s a bonus tip – portable folding chairs come in handy here).
Summer Comiket truly is hell on earth, so Winter is recommended for newbies, but if you really insist on going this summer, we’ve got this handy guide to help you out.
1. (In)appropriate clothing
Make sure you have the right clothes, whether it’s for the scorching summer or the freezing winter. You’ll be doing a LOT of waiting around outside, starting with the queue just to get into the venue, which will take you on a circuit of the huge building before you even get close to the entrance. This very often means sunburn. Or rain. Or the freezing cold.
▼ Seriously. So much queueing.
Bring snacks and drinks with you! The (in)famous FamilyMart by the station has now closed down, so you need to be prepared beforehand. If you don’t eat you’ll be in serious danger of collapsing and being carried out of the place in one of the many waiting stretchers before you’ve had a chance to purchase a single comic of questionable content. It’s not just water you need to stave off heatstroke in the summer, but you also need to replenish all that salt you’re losing to the hovering sweat cloud above the crowds. Sure, there are food stalls outside, but you’re not going to have time for that, and if you want to rest your feet during a proper sit-down lunch you’ll probably find the small selection of restaurants already full up or sold out. Snack bars and bottled water are an absolute must for anyone braving the battlefields.
3. Money, money, money
Change your 10,000 yen notes into 1,000 yen notes beforehand and be sure to have some 100-yen coins ready. It’ll make things much easier on the frazzled booth workers if you can pay them in exact change. Oh, and remember that Comiket is cash-based, so you won’t be able to rely on your credit card. On that note, always bring more money than you think you’ll need because you’re definitely going to see more stuff you want to grab.
4. Don’t be that guy
Apparently people don’t really camp out overnight to be first in line anymore, but that’s beside the point because it’s against the rules anyway. You can always take the first train of the morning if you’re desperate to be near the front, but make sure you’re ready for a race.
5. Don’t be stinky
This may seem like a ridiculous point to make, unfair even, but it can be a serious issue. When you have so many people crammed together in height of summer, things can start to get a little… ripe. So do your part and scrub up, use deodorant, and consider packing some of those cool (literally) body wipes to keep yourself fresh ‘n’ fragrant. We all pitch in, nobody’s nose has to get hurt.
6. How to lose friends and alienate people
Here’s a pro-tip for how to greet people if you’re having an offukai (offline meeting) – show them your Twitter profile and they’ll immediately know who you are! People who recognize you from online might talk to you without even introducing themselves, but it’s just what happens here. These days Comiket is basically Twitter IRL.
7. Think of the children
Don’t take out and read your war spoils (i.e. comics and merch) around the convention area or in the train. Many of them are, to put it mildly, unsuitable for younger audiences. Standard Comiket etiquette is to take plain bags and rucksacks with you so that you can hide your goods when it’s time to return to the real world full of normies.
While these tips will hopefully at least prepare you enough not to pass out as soon as you arrive, Comiket really has to be experienced for one to understand the true nature of the beast. Hopefully you’ll come out the other side of it a hardened veteran with a lighter wallet and plenty of goods to show off to your friends... until the next event comes around and something new is released. Good luck, comrades!
Photos © RocketNews24