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...Shit, I almost forgot I still had this.

Well, there's not much to say, anyway. See this blog post for a download link, as well as this blog post for important information, particularly in regards to the use of assets.

Yeah. I'm still alive. And still using DeviantArt to some small degree. Amazing, innit?

I don't even have anything terribly interesting to say. Progress on chain of lucidity has been coming along well enough (I've implemented furigana support into my dialogue system yesterday).

You know what else happened yesterday? Team Gaijin Alex's website got a complete overhaul after languishing in shittily-designed pages with little content for nearly two whole years. Here's what I changed:
  • replaced the tacky diamond-patterned background with a simple three-color gradient
  • recreated various image assets and improved the page layout for a more professional look
  • commissioned wodkanna for a group drawing of the current three members of the team in order to finally have something to put on the "Meet the Team" page (although she unfortunately wasn't able to accept payment, so she ended up doing it for free)
  • made a page for each game now, even the incomplete and/or abandoned projects (which is basically all of them); also, the Games page now has a more compact design
  • moved the twitter feed from the side bar to the Contact page
  • completely rewrote all of the text (special thanks to nekokomancer for proofreading the Japanese translations)
  • custom error pages!
  • now using Meiryo for the Japanese font instead of MS Gothic

If you want to go see for yourself, then knock yourself out!

No, DeviantArt. Fuck you. Perhaps you shouldn't have jacked up the cost of premium membership. Better yet, perhaps you should actually give a fuck about your userbase before asking us to give a fuck about you. You're basically the new YouTube in that you keep shoveling stupid shit upon stupid shit that no one cares about or even wants. All the while, when someone is getting their art stolen, you don't do shit. And you ESPECIALLY don't do shit when someone's being harrassed relentlessly by someone else. Instead, no matter how many complaints you get about someone, you always resort to the stock response of "block and ignore", as if that's gonna make the problem go away. You don't even go after people if they're spreading obvious hate speech or slander/libel about someone, instead claiming that it doesn't count as harrassment if you're seeking out comments (yeah, right. As if you couldn't find them on submissions showing up in your watch feed, you one-track-minded fucks), and that, basically, you can say whatever the hell you want if you're writing a journal. The amount of times you actually get off your lazy hedonistic asses and actually do some good for the community for once can be counted on one hand - if the hand belonged to a man who had both his arms amputated.

You don't care about any of us, so what gives you the justification to come grovelling, asking us to enable ads with an obstructive notice that takes up upwards of a fifth of the entire window? I have never supported you financially, and I never will, nor will I want anyone to support you financially in my stead. In other words, I refuse to buy premium membership or to have it renewed, because you have done nothing to deserve my support, nor have you done anything to retain my interest in your service.

Go fuck yourself.
Lately, it seems like the cool thing to make a journal entry explaining what you've been up to if you haven't shown any activity on dA for months, so I want in on that fun.

Except... well, I can't really say I've been as productive as I'd have wanted to be. As some of you may know, I was at A-kon last June, along with Spaztique, FullHitPoints, BleachBummer, HTFCirno2000, ChibioChen, LikeThisRLYMatters and Ceej39. That was fun, and I got a taste of just how massive and intense the Undertale fandom could be when assembled in a single room (hell, I was half an hour early for the panel and the line was already curving three times). On Sunday, my father gave me a phone call because I completely forgot to text him, so he got worried about me. Outside of that, I was also texting everyone else quite a bit, which really ran up the phone bill. Totally worth it, though.

There's also this game I've been working on, but since I need to make the rest of the soundtrack and the ideas just haven't been coming to me, I barely got anything done in the last couple months, which is frankly a shame, because I wanted to go all-out and be really productive, yet here I am, just wasting day after day by faffing around and doing other crap. I have no discipline, not even for my own personal projects. How pathetic.

Instead, FullHitPoints recently got into Phantasy Star Online 2, which in turn got me out of my hiatus with that game to the point where it's once again taken control of my life, although I'm mostly just doing emergency quests in order to quickly level up. I've also been getting back into playing Phantasy Star (the original entry on the Sega Master System), having reached the endgame. Phantasy Star II is also waiting for me to beat it (preferably before the backup battery dies, which it miraculously hasn't yet), but the endgame grind that awaits me is frankly off-putting.

Most recently, however, I've been working on some lesser tracker projects, which I'll showcase below:

Dangit, I had a journal written up that I intended to post on the first of May, but I completely forgot about it, and now it's nearly 4 days later.

Oh well, just pretend we're living three days in the past as you're reading the following...


It's May 1. This day marks the third anniversary of my membership at the Walfas Station Wagon, but to be honest, if it hadn't been that specific day, I probably wouldn't even be able to remember it.

In these last three years, I've grown as a person a lot more rapidly than in the preceding 17-ish years. I was kind of a problem child, really. Getting bullied by what seemed to be pretty much the entire school back in elementary school does that to you, and having autism to cope with doesn't exactly make things any easier. The internet was the only place where I could forge lasting friendships, but even then it wasn't always easy. When you're a kid as socially inept as I was, covering up your eccentricities is hard.

Well, long story short, I had a bad tendency of causing drama whenever things didn't go my way and I wasn't very good at handling criticism. Compare 16-year-old me to 20-year-old me and chances are you'll be wondering if they're really the same person.

This isn't meant to be a story about what I used to be, though. This is meant to be a story about how I got into the WSW and my experiences therein. And it starts in the early February of 2013, after Spaztique introduced FullHitPoints and me to each other and we formed a doujin circle that eventually ended up being called "Team Gaijin Alex" (entirely my idea, by the way). Spaz convinced us to join the WSW since we were both dabbling with create.swf.

I don't remember when exactly I first joined the U-Haul, but I wasn't exactly making a good first impression. I got a lot of "Who the hell is this guy" moments from others, and trying to join ongoing calls didn't go very well, either. If it wasn't my headset causing severe echoing, then I was saying inappropriate or obnoxious things. One of the members, Mr. Heart (yes, that guy), took me aside at one point and, while trying to argue with me about a game series I was talking about with people in the chat at the time, noted that I was being condescending towards others without even realizing it. That, and he would always find a way to call me arrogant whenever I brought up evidence supporting my case in the argument we were having, which eventually caused me to break down, upon which he immediately softened up and offered to help me grow as a person. Needless to say, he had me right where he wanted to, so I got suckered in without effort, but despite his ulterior motives, it was this conversation that made me more considerate of others, so while I can't exactly say "Tracy dindu nuffin rong", he still helped set me on the right path. So, thanks. You may be a complete asshole who was trying to destroy the WSW from the inside by turning the members against each other for his own sick amusement, but you still jumpstarted my growth.

By the end of my first year, I didn't exactly have a big circle of friends from the WSW, but I was pretty close with those who I did call that. Aaron, Spaz and I would occasionally play Minecraft together if we weren't working on Endless Blue, but both of those things kinda began dying down after a while. 2014 had me gradually stop working with create.swf as I instead began focusing on drawing and making my own Touhou fangame, Rampant Crescent Flora (currently in development hell alongside EB). This was also the year that I graduated from school, much to the surprise of many of my teachers as my work ethic was severely lacking and I mostly just winged everything, up to and including my final exams. After that, I moved into a student dorm early September, followed by that awesome HRtP race with DeityDiz93, BleachBummer and keinecat, and after my birthday, I briefly began taking drawing requests. There was also this moment of sheer existential crisis that I had in November, when I damn-near threw everything I had worked for in the last year-and-a-half out the window.

...Followed by my resignation from the WSW in early January of the next year, in which I didn't rejoin until well into May. I was pursuing drawing in that year, but I was quite deep in a rut, rendering me quick to scrap everything I attempted. Not even the requests I reopened helped. In fact, I think they just made it worse.

But a lot of good things came from 2015, as well: For starters, Aaron and I joined forces with Michirin9801 to make her Mega Drive-style platformer, MajiKana, and also Touhou-freakin'-con. (I made a whole series of journals about my experience there.) Getting to meet people I've met on the internet in real life for the first time was a surreal, but at the same time utterly exhilarating experience, and one that I'd love to have again someday.

Well, that's a summary of things that happened. But what I owe thanks to the WSW for the most is not just my growth as a person, but my acquisition and honing of a broad variety of skills, including but not limited to drawing, spritework, interface design, composing, programming, game design, web design, and being a pro Reimu. I owe it to the following people for having enabled and encouraged me to always better myself one way or another:

:iconspaztique:, for getting the whole thing started in the first place. Sure, I was the one contacting him via YouTube PMs with ideas I had for EB, but he was the one to seek me out on Skype, found TGA, and coerce me into joining the WSW in the first place, and that's not even getting into showing me the ropes in regards to making music and always being there to be talked to - well, the latter of the two doesn't apply so much nowadays since he's got some issues that need sorting-out, but still. Thank you, Dave, for being a great friend and mentor. You have no idea how honored I was to get to meet you in person.

:iconfullhitpoints:, who, for all intents and purposes, might as well be my other half. Ever since our first few dev sessions, we've been forging an inseparable bond, and while we've had our fair share of severe arguments, I still consider you one of the best friends I've ever had. Besides, you were the one to get me into programming and initially tutor me as I was starting out. So thanks to you, too, Aaron.

:iconhtfcirno2000:, who I remember taking a while to become friends with. You're great to talk to, though, so I don't regret the effort.

:icondeitydiz93:... oh Diz, you're the embodiment of feels, and I love you for it. You've always had a way with words, and a lot to say with them... unlike me, because I really don't know what else to say about you. You're simply a joy to be around.

:iconexporygon:, for also being a guy who's making a game. Your experience with Danmakufu helps a lot when it comes to writing my own bullet hell engine.

:icontraditionalyoungman:, that wacky Polish guy who's good for having game ideas dumped on for evaluation. Love you, Sebbie-boo~

:iconsmurfman256:, whose expansive knowledge on audio production and his ear for mixing is a huge help in learning a thing or two about post-production. If it weren't for him, my compositions would still sound like shit.

And last, but definitely not least, :iconmichirin9801:. We definitely got off on the wrong foot early into your game's production, but I couldn't see myself where I am now without you. Talking to you about practically anything (but especially retro game systems and their capabilities) is a joy, and the prospect of having a game I helped work on be ported to one of my favorite consoles is an exciting thing that you also got yourself to blame for.

Now then, here's to another three years of success!
I haven't really submitted much in terms of content lately, have I? I know I'm not exactly obligated to, but I figure I should at least provide some sign of life for those who I don't talk to every day or aren't following me on social media.

Starting with my semester break back in early February, I began feverishly working on a game of my own, but after I got back from visiting my father late March and came down with a cold (with the only remnants of that now being a dry cough), I lost my momentum and haven't really been doing any work on it since. Even now, real-life issues are weighing heavily on me in ways I will not elaborate on.

The only remotely productive thing I've been doing lately is create templates for MajiKana's packaging. I've made some pretty sizable progress with it over the last few days. At some point, I'll also need translations, specifically into German (already covered by yours truly), French, Spanish (already covered), Italian, Dutch (most likely covered), Swedish, Finnish (already covered) and Japanese. If you're a native speaker of any of these languages and speak English fluently, feel free to contact me.

Also, the next HRtP livestream is likely going to be this Saturday. Same time as usual.
Holy shit, it's the halfway mark.

Anyway, yeah, just making a journal here to announce that DeityDiz93, BleachBummer and I have decided on the next stream's date: 5 March 2016, 5:00 PM central. Don't miss it!

And here's some shameless plugging.
For now, the date of the stream is going to be February 13, same time as usual. This may end up being delayed by a week, though.
It felt like forever since the last one, but DeityDiz93 and I have decided on the date for the next one: 16 January, 5:00pm central.

Well, the time may be subject to change, depending on Diz's schedule. Also, I've been playing way too much PSO2 over the last month. I'm gonna have to practice a lot to get all the rust off of my skills.
Earlier today, I saw that my father had sent me a text message, saying that my grandmother passed away at about 9am.

I'm not sure how to feel about it. I'm not exactly sad. After all, I didn't have much contact with her over the last few years. She was confined to a wheelchair because her muscles atrophied. She also had a case of dementia, barely being aware of her surroundings and calling my uncle "mom" because he was the one caring for her when she wasn't in a nursing home. And recently, she was brought into the hospital because she fell off the wheelchair and broke her leg. Not exactly sure if that had any role in her death, but I guess it was simply natural causes. Grandma wasn't exactly fond of those last years of her life. She would occasionally say that she wanted to die, possibly her way of cracking a joke about her physical and mental state, but at the same time, she had the occasional lucid moment and even managed to laugh about something once in a while.

Now her suffering has finally found an end, though. It must have been quite a relief to her. She lived a long life of 83 years (assuming I got her year of birth right). The funeral date is yet to be decided. Honestly, I was hoping to see my relatives again under happier circumstances, but while you can have several birthday parties in your life, you only have one funeral...

There's no need for condolences, but you guys are probably gonna offer them, anyway.

What a way to start off the year...
Lately, I realized that the only reason I'm even visiting this website anymore is out of sheer habit established by my morning routine, but instead of looking at the art that makes its way into my watch feed, I more often than not just end up removing it without a second glance; the more unviewed submissions a group has, the more likely I am to just not look at it at all. Really, the only thing I still live for is any comments, replies, favorites or notes I may be receiving.

And that's not even getting into the fact that the website itself is dying of the cancer that is known as its own staff. The latest useless addition being shoving down MORE worthless crap down our throats in an attempt to get us to buy a premium membership for the privilege of turning these notifications off. Premium membership, of course, having been made more expensive, but seeing as I've never paid a single cent into this system (all my premium memberships were gifts), I suppose that's not really something I can talk about.

All of that made me think of just up and leaving this place for greener pastures, for a place whose staff gives a shit. But as I'm writing this, I feel that this might not be the solution to all my problems as I still pay barely any heed to my notifications, which I doubt would change if I migrated to somewhere else. And of course the Walfas Station Wagon has its main group here, too, and moving that somewhere else would surely be an undertaking few would be willing to commit to.

I guess that's why the staff thinks they can get away with all their ego-stroking and solicitation tactics...
In about an hour, it'll be 3pm central, which is when the stream takes place. Go ahead and keep open in another tab.

Diz and I will see you then.
Because why the fuck not.

50 Secrets About Yourself.

Be HONEST no matter what.

1. What is your natural hair color?
Dark brown, never dyed my hair in my life, though.

2. Where was your ID pic taken?
I drew it last October.

3. What's your middle name?
I don't have one.

4. Your current relationship status?
Single. Not looking for a relationship.

5. Honestly, does your crush like you back?
My first crush put me in the friendzone once I stopped acting like a creep. Currently, I don't crush on anyone.

6. What is your current mood?

7. What's the color of your underwear?

8. What is one thing that makes you happy?

9. Who was the last person you cuddled with?
Likely my mother. When she's sitting on the sofa watching TV, I tend to snuggle up against her.

10. If you could go back in time and change something, what would it be?

11. If you MUST be an animal for ONE day?
I'm a cat person, so it should be obvious.

12. Ever had a near death experience?
Closest I ever got was when I accidentally set a wet towel on fire. 3-5-year-old me thought hanging it over an electric heater was a good idea.

13. Something you do a lot?
Sitting in front of my computer.

14. What's the name of the song stuck in your head right now?
None currently stuck inside my head.

15. Who did you copy and paste this from?

16. Name someone with the same b-day as you.
I don't actually know anyone off the top of my head, but I did some googling and found that I share my birthday with Kim Kardashian, of all people.

17. When was the last time you cried?
I nearly teared up on the evening of September 20. Touhoucon had officially ended and I was going to return back home the next day.

18. Have you ever sang in front of a large audience?
Back at school, we had an event on the last day before Christmas break where we'd perform Christmas-themed songs. My singing parts were usually as part of a group, though, so I'm not sure if it counts. I did put on an instrumental solo as part of one of the songs my class was performing, though.

19. If you could have one super power, what would it be?
I can't decide between teleportation and manipulation of time.

20. What's the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
The softer contours and sleeker build.

21. What's your biggest secret?
If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret anymore, now would it?

22. What's your favorite color?
Used to be blue, but it has shifted over to green about 2 years ago.

23. When was the last time you lied?
As a child, I used to lie quite frequently. I don't think I really do it nowadays, though. At most, I'd just withhold the truth.

24. Do you still watch kiddy movies or TV shows?
I hardly even watch TV period.

25. What are you eating or drinking at the moment?
Nothing, but I'm gonna start cooking some dinner after I'm done with this thing.

26. What's your favorite smell?
I don't know if I have a favorite, but I do quite like the scent of gasoline.

27. If you could describe life in one word, what would it be?
I can't come up with a one-word definition, so I'll have to bend the rules and make it two words: worth living.

28. When was the last time you gave/received a hug?
Received: Last October, on my birthday, by my father before he left. I didn't really reciprocate because I was too busy getting crushed.
Given: September 21, when I gave FullHitPoints a hug before I went for my flight. Earlier that day, I was also in the middle of a group hug with several Walfasers.

29. Have you ever been kissed in the rain?

30. What are you thinking about right now?
Finishing this questionnaire so I can a) make food, and b) get back to working on my game engine.

31. What should you be doing?
See above.

32. What was the last thing that made you upset?
I don't remember.

33. Do you like working in the yard?
No. Not in the slightest. I'm glad I moved into a student dorm because that means I don't have to mow the lawn anymore or help my father with his yardwork.

34. If you could have any last name in the world, what would you want?
Even though my last name sounds kinda derpy, I'm fine with it.

35. Name 5 things in your closet:
Clothes, bedsheets, tissues, medicine, sewing materials.

36. Do you act different around your crush?
I wouldn't know. I don't have a crush.

37. When was the last time you slept with a stuffed animal?
Must have been eons ago. I think I graduated from sleeping with stuffed animals when I got a new bedroom, but I don't remember the year.

38. How many times do you take a shower a week?
3-4 times. I shower every other day, but tend to skip showers if I don't have to go outdoors.

39. Do you brush your teeth everyday?
I never do, but I really should. It's kind of funny how I haven't brushed my teeth regularly in years, yet I have yet to get a single cavity.

40. Have you ever said something stupid in front of your crush?
Not that I would remember.

41. Have you ever watched a hockey game?
I generally don't care about sports.

42. Do you lie about your age?
I see no reason why I should.

43. Ever been jealous about something stupid?
I might have.

44. Do you pick your nose?
Yeah, I do. I try to do it when no one's looking, though, or in a way that others don't see it.

45. What's the one food you hate?
I'm a very picky eater, so there's no one answer to this question for me, but the hated food item that I've been confronted with most recently has got to be sour cream.

46. What's the one junk food you can't live without?
Potato chips.

47. How old were you when you found out Santa was fake?
I don't remember.

48. Have you ever blown your nose and looked inside it the napkin?
Yeah. People think I do it all the time, though, due to the fact that I try to neatly fold the napkin after I've blown in it, meaning I have to open it up completely.

49. Describe your favorite underwear you have.
I guess my favorite would be the one black pair of briefs I have because they can't get stained very easily.

50. Did you lie in any of these questions?
Seriously? You first tell me to "be HONEST no matter what", then assume I may have lied anyway? Give me a god damn break...
I've finally decided on a specific date and time. The stream will take place on November 28, 2015, 5:00 pm central. If you wish to interact with Diz and myself during the event, drop by in the u-haul's Livestreaming text and voice chat rooms.

Here's a link to my livestream page.

Based off of Michirin9801's TG-16 arrange of the same theme.
For next year's Touhoucon, DeityDiz93 and I want to partake in the Lunatic Theater, with him providing the commentary to my live Lunatic 1cc of HRtP. To practice for that event, we're going to livestream my playthrough monthly, with members of the WSW being welcome to join in and chat with us via Discord.

Given that I can plow through the game pretty quickly, I'm likely going to play both Hell (~10 minutes) and Makai (~15 minutes) routes back-to-back. Even with some padding by Diz explaining how the game works, I don't think the stream is going to be much longer than half an hour. We've got a pretty good plan of the stream's structure - well, he does, at least. I'm just the guy playing the game.

The first stream will go live on either the 28th or the 29th. Look forward to it!
As some of you may be aware, yesterday was my big day. I'm still not legally an adult by US standards, meaning I'll probably still not be able to drink any alcohol next time I come to Touhoucon, but I'm getting there. And I can always get completely smashed in Germany if I need to.

Given my self-inflicted secludedness and resulting lack of watchers, I didn't expect too much in terms of presents, anyway. My good friend FullHitPoints sacrificed precious hours of sleep to quickly get a drawing of one of my biggest ships done, and while it shows that it's been rushed, not to mention the quality is limited by his skill, I still very much appreciate the gesture and am truly thankful for the pains he went through to make it. I also woke up this morning to find that I had received a year of premium membership, courtesy of... I genuinely don't know. Whoever gave it to me seems to prefer to remain anonymous. So thank you, whoever you are, for having spent your valuable money so that I could get more out of this website for the next year.

But it's not just the presents I'm happy about. I'd also like to thank everyone - friends, family (who aren't even gonna read this, but who gives a shit?), acquaintances and watchers alike - for their birthday wishes, not just here on dA, but also on Facebook or in private. I'm no Diz, so I don't really have a lengthy and heartfelt message to put in this journal, but know that each and every single one of you has brightened my day with each "Happy birthday" that I read.

Now, how did I spend my birthday, you may ask? By getting a surprise visit from my father that required me to ditch class that day so I could get ready. I hadn't showered and my room was a mess (By the time I was done vaccuuming, I took note that there was enough hair in there to make an entire wig - long hair has its drawbacks, I guess), who came with his girlfriend, her seven-year-old daughter and my baby half-sister to spend the day together at the nearby mall. There's not a whole lot we did, simply because the ladies took their sweet-ass time shopping for clothes after having changed my sister's diaper, and then we went to grab a bite to eat before going back to my place. I had asked my dad to go to the grocery store with me so we could stock up on massive amounts of bottled water, but since he came in his car, rather than his girlfriend's (the former only has 4 seats while the latter has 5), we had to leave them by themselves in my apartment - an idea which I wasn't very fond of at all, and I made sure to tell him that. Fortunately, nothing seemed to have been touched by the time I got back, and instead my bed was used to change my sister's diaper on again (at least they brought an underlay for that).

It was a long day to be sure, and the only reason it didn't get longer was because a: the grocery store would close at 9, and b: they had a 3-hour ride back home. And while they're an annoying bunch whenever they visit, I don't really want it any other way.

Now what am I gonna do with that premium membership...?
PART 1 || PART 2 || PART 3

What's there to say? This is the final part. The rather uneventful last day of Touhoucon, the unforgettable dinner at Benihana, and everything that followed that up until my return home.

People appearing in this without being :dev:-mentioned in the recap:

20 September 2015, Day 3

I actually woke up fairly late this morning, compared to the previous mornings. Still well before the alarm, but it was nearly 7am when I looked at the clock. Today would turn out to be a rather uneventful day either way. Aaron and I underwent the usual morning routine of struggling to get his ass out of bed, showering, and eating breakfast. This time, he had what I had yesterday, while I decided to play it safe and go with the Belgian waffles again. Aaron adamantly refused to use a knife to cut his burrito with, which resulted in him knocking his bowl of sour cream off the table... and getting a bigger one as compensation. So much to encouraging him to use a bloody knife...

The hours just went by, as there was only one particularly interesting panel that day, and that was Porygon's "Intro to Danmakufu". Highlights involved using Junko to show the attendees how to make basic danmaku patterns, and at the end of the panel, he presented us with a limited supply of CDs containing the trial version of his fangame, Ephemeral Unnatural Balance. Aaron and I tried it out while waiting for the crossplay gathering that would be at 2:30pm. Said gathering was incredibly meager, and despite having an hour allotted, was over after half an hour because of the lack of attendees. I guess the crossplay theme was just too narrow, but it makes me regret not having gone to the previous day's cosplay gathering even more.

And, well, that was it for Touhoucon. The only thing left was the true highlight of the trip: dinner at Benihana! Aaron, Nova and I sat in Bleach's dad's car, although the drive itself was rather uneventful. Just a bit of smalltalk. At the restaurant, it took us a good while until our tables were ready, and even then we were a few chairs short. Apparently, there were more people in our party than Bleach had made reservations for, so I ended up sitting rather sandwiched with Aaron to my left and Nora to my right. My appetizer was a few slices of beef which were cooked on the outside, but raw on the inside. I'm always very apprehensive about eating any meat that's short of well-done to the point of being nearly charred, but it was absolutely delicious. Poor Aaron had never used chopsticks before (hell, it'd surprise me if he's ever used a knife in his life), but was determined to learn how to use them or starve. I taught him how to hold them, but experience is the best teacher, so that's all I could do. Sitting to the right of Nora were some more girls who I wasn't familiar with, who were quite intrigued upon learning that I was German. Eventually, the chefs came in (we sat at two Hibachi tables) and started preparing our food, me getting a bowl of fried rice (oh my god, it was Heaven in my mouth) and the yakisoba I ordered as an entree (it had mushrooms in it; I gave those to Aaron). My meal was so filling, I couldn't eat any more, and the girls had to convince me to have it to go, even though I wouldn't be able to have any of it. Oh well, whoever ate my leftover yakisoba, I hope you liked it.

During the meal, Spaz stood up and gave one of the most epic speeches I've ever heard. The Walfas Station Wagon had been existing for four years now, and having as large an amount of Walfasers meet up in real life like this just goes to show how far we've come. Even though I've only been riding along for half that time, I truly felt like they were like a second family. When he proposed a toast, I held up my near-empty bottle of 0.2l Ramune and cheered along with everyone else. Truly a night to remember - nay, a weekend to remember.

Before we headed back, we had a group picture taken. See Nora's journal for that (I linked to it in Part 1 of this series). After the pictures were taken, I asked Spaz to spare a moment to come to Aaron's and my hotel room.

The trip back to the hotel was slightly more eventful. Same setup as last time, only this time it was Spaz instead of Nova. He and Bleach's dad were talking about music, with Aaron and me mostly silently listening. When we got to the room, I opened up my drawing notepad and had them sign it like a guestbook. It was the first ever real-life meetup of Team Gaijin Alex, which was a special moment to me. Afterwards, we would talk some more before Spaz took a selfie with us and the view of the Anaheim skyline at night, followed by a group hug. Before he left, I told him to come knocking at 9 so we could eat breakfast together.

Aaron suggested that we pack our luggage since we had to leave tomorrow. He did, but I put it off until tomorrow...

21 September 2015, Day 4

I don't even remember when I woke up. Was it close to 8 or in the early morning? Either way, while Aaron was still sleeping, I took a shower, got dressed, and packed my stuff, waking him up at 8 so he would be ready by the time Spaz came. Spaz happened to come knocking pretty early, and he wasn't alone. He was there with Nova and Mini (?). Aaron was still in the bathroom, delaying us for a bit, but we eventually made our way downstairs, where Spaz had to use the restroom. While he was gone and we were waiting for him, Nora, Bleach and Porygon came along, Nora having had to leave early because she had an early flight. We talked for a bit, lamented the fact that Spaz was currently not there, then said our goodbyes. Hugs all around, and a big group hug at the end with Nora and me in the middle of it. (God damn, she's just too huggable!) I also ended up lifting Bleach off the ground while hugging him because that's what short people are for. As Nora and Bleach were leaving, Spaz just came back, so we hurried outside where they were nowhere in immediate sight, but I called out to Nora when I saw her getting into a car, and they were getting out again to say their goodbyes to Spaz, Bleach getting lifted off the ground yet again.

And then it was off to the nearest IHOP with our group of six: Spaz, Aaron, Porygon, Nova, Mini, and myself. While waiting for our table, Porygon and I were talking about his game and I gave him the thoughts and opinions I developed while playing the demo. I also got to try Mountain Dew for the first time. It tasted pretty good, but the dish I got... oh my god, it threw everything I had eaten prior to that out of the water. Fried chicken with a honey mustard sauce and waffles. I never thought that the flavor of mustard mixed with sweetness would be such a blissful combination. When it was time to pay, Spaz tried getting the check split. When that didn't work, he simply paid for the entire thing, refusing to accept money from anyone.

Back at the hotel, Aaron and I went for our luggage and then checked out. We tried looking for Spaz, but couldn't find him anywhere, so Aaron texted him. Luckily, we caught him just as he was about to enter the shuttle, so while the last goodbyes were short, they were heartfelt, Spaz even refering to us by our names as opposed to our online handles like he usually does.

And then it was just Aaron and me, waiting for our pickup. Because our ride didn't want to put up with the dense traffic that would occur at noon, we arrived at the airport way early, with me being the one who was seen off first. Before I left, I gave Aaron a 5€ bill while I received a 1$ bill in return. Not exactly the most equal of trades, but 5€ is as small as it gets. When it was time to say goodbye, Aaron held out his hand to shake mine. Instead, I drew him into yet another hug before moving on through the TSA's security measures that require you to take off your shoes, but apparently your glasses are fine to keep on. Since we arrived at the airport so early and my flight didn't leave until 5:05pm, I had hours upon hours to spare. Feeling thirsty, I even came across some drinking fountains, but I was too afraid of just splashing my entire face with water to try using them, so I went into the nearest restroom and filled up my plastic bottles at a sink instead, earning a few glares. The rest of the wait was spent playing Etrian Odyssey until I got stuck, then just idly sitting there as the time passed by until the plane was finally ready to be boarded. The flight to Munich took only 10:30 hours, an hour less than the flight from Frankfurt to LA. When I arrived, it was 2:40pm German time, 22 September 2015.

I got a little lost at the Munich airport, but thankfully didn't miss my flight. What got me a bit nervous was the customs control, which looked through my carry-on luggage and asked me to show them what I brought with me from the US. I showed them my Touhoucon badge and the 1$ bill, which I explained were mementos, and I was let through. Having arrived at the gate after taking a much-needed piss (I didn't use the plane lavatory at all during my 10-hour flight), I called my father to let him know I'm finally back in Germany. Boarding time ended up being delayed by about half an hour for some reason, and after that it was another hour-long flight back to the Leipzig airport, from where I made my way back to the dorm I lived in.

The Aftermath

The immediate effects of my return were that I got Discord and rejoined the U-Haul after saying I'd never use RaidCall again. I would stay up until 4am or so, go to sleep, then get up at 5pm-ish feeling incredibly sick. The cold wore off after a few days. The jetlag didn't until recently. But aside from that?

Sometimes, I look back on that weekend and find it hard to believe that that actually happened. In the beginning, there was this Skype group for Walfasers going to Touhoucon, made to coordinate people. Aaron convinced me to join the group and come to Touhoucon. I bought my plane ticket in May and got all of the paperwork out of the way by the end of June. But what surprised me the most was my parents' attitude. I remember having wanted to go visit a friend in the US when I was still 16 years old and my parents strictly forbade it. For this event, both of them supported me all the way, my father even paying the fee for my ESTA application because I didn't have a credit card, and trying to help me get a credit card, although we procrastinated on that and then I ended up having to sit on others' wallets. I guess it's because I'm an adult now, capable of making my own decisions, so they probably saw no reason to stop me. Still, having had this kind of support from my parents was wholly unexpected.

As for the trip itself, oh man... When I was going through customs at the LAX airport, I haven't felt this anxious since one of my final exams at school. I could barely breathe, and I'm STILL getting nervous just thinking about it. Meeting all those people in real life when I've only ever seen on the internet before was a new experience, but I feel like I've grown stronger bonds with each of them. I mean, we came together for the sake of a convention of a series that brought us together in the first place. That takes a certain level of trust, even moreso for someone coming from overseas such as myself. And as the events show, my trust has not been betrayed. I took the risk. I trusted that all of this was real, and it not only was, it turned out to be the best time of my life. I speak no hyperbole when I say that.

I'm looking forward to next year's Touhoucon, in the hopes of meeting even more Walfasers than this year. DeityDiz93, I've got my sights set on you in particular...
PART 1 || PART 2 || PART 3

EDIT: Thanks to ExPorygon for pointing out who went to the Yuuhei Satellite concert on Day 2.

It was sometime during the 17th or 18th that what I was doing really hit me: I actually did it. I took a plane to the other side of the planet, trusting to be able to meet up with people I'd never even met before personally, in a land thousands of miles from home where nobody spoke my language (although I fortunately spoke theirs). It was expensive, and risky.

But it was so worth it.

People appearing in this without being :dev:-mentioned in the recap:

18 September 2015, Day 1

This was it. Touhoucon was officially upon us. Despite having set the alarm to go off at 8am, I woke up sometime around 5:45. Not sure if it was because we went to sleep so early or because I was just excited. Could be a combination of the two. I spent the hours until the alarm would go off in bed, texting people, especially my family at home, to let them know I made it OK. When the alarm went off, it took Aaron a good while to get up, but unlike the following mornings, I didn't actually have to prod him at all. We took a shower (not simultaneously, obviously) and got dressed before deciding what to have for lunch. In-room dining was considered, but quickly discarded when we did the math and realized that a slice of toast would cost us 8 bucks. The food court wouldn't open until 10, so the only place we could go was a restaurant called Mix, which was located within the hotel. Aaron had eggs over-easy with toast and strawberry jam, as well as bacon and potato wedges, while I got some Belgian waffles. I guess I won't have to worry about getting prostate cancer anytime soon.

Heading back to our room, we put on our costumes. The hair tubes and head bow of mine would not stay on, and Aaron couldn't feel his hat due to the wig he was wearing, so it had a habit of falling off without him noticing. And even so, the costumes were incredibly tight. Several times, I thought I would end up tearing my top apart in my attempts at putting it on or taking it off, but fortunately it's still intact. Since I wasn't wearing any pants under the skirt, I also shaved my lower legs with Aaron's electric razor to at least appear a bit more feminine (my long hair kinda helped). I would find that the air conditioning in the hotel was sub-70°F (or 18-ish°C), which had me freezing after a while, but not just in the legs.

Going down to the lobby, we met Ceej, but also got to finally meet up with ChibioChen and most importantly Spaztique, the man himself. It was almost like meeting a celebrity, with the exception that we were friends (and would be even closer friends by the end of the weekend, although the same could be said of everyone). The opening ceremony had a fairly rough start as we got moved all over the place before finally getting to sit down, and then we couldn't even take pictures. Afterwards, I ended up losing Aaron at a line he was standing at for some merch. Lost and confused, I wandered the hallway for a while, turning down an Aya cosplayer who wanted to take a picture of me (I probably would have said yes if I hadn't been frantically looking for a Walfaser). I eventually found Nora, and she commented on my way of storing things. Since I didn't have any pockets or a bag, or basically anything that's made for putting stuff into, I had to use my sleeves "like a pro Reimu", to put it in her own words. She then got me one of those red Touhoucon bags that were being handed out, and I stuck my gohei into my skirt to use as a carrying pole for the bag - that way, I still had my hands free. We were handed brochures for a voice acting panel that was going on at the con, which Nora told me Spaz went to, so while it wasn't something that I was dying to see, I figured it would be interesting enough to visit, and I kinda needed someone to attach myself to, seeing as my phone was useless without wi-fi, and the only place I had any was in my room, which I couldn't go to because I left my wallet in there, so Aaron was the only guy with a key.

At that panel, I was listening fairly intently, which made it difficult to react to Spaz's commentary, so I hardly replied to that. They did let some volunteers do a bit of voice acting, Spaz being one of them and doing a fantastic job. We left the panel early because he wanted to meet up with some people at the merch room, having handed me some money beforehand because I didn't have any US space credits, despite my protests. I mean, I was already mooching off of Aaron, who not only paid for our hotel room, but also for all of my meals. (Note to self: Make sure to secure a credit card by next year.) To make me feel even more guilty, there was a Reitaisai booth that sold the Windows Touhou games at 25 bucks each (40 for the fighters). Since Spaz only gave me 20, I had to ask him for 5 more so I could grab a game. The choice was a tough one, but I went with EoSD.

There were some gaming tournaments planned in the gaming hall for that day, one of which being PoFV, which I had signed up for. The tourney was at the same time as the Walfas panel, which I ultimately regret having missed out on, especially because of the following: The tournament was taking forever to start. Maybe it didn't even start at all, but by the end of its allotted time, it was still going on alongside the Lunatic Theater, during which I was joined by Aaron and a few other Walfasers. The games that were being Lunatic 1cc'd were PCB and DDC, and I learned a few strats from watching them. The commentary was utterly forgettable, though. Eventually, it became clear that the tournament just wasn't going to happen anytime soon, so Aaron and I left for our room, me doubting that I would have won even a single match. I had had a few practice games against other people, and save for one, they all resulted in my defeat. Great confidence builder.

Getting out of our costumes, we then went to the food court to get some dinner. Trying to order a taco at Baja Fresh was a trainwreck because I was having a very hard time understanding English with a thick Spanish accent and had to have Aaron translate for me several times. By the end of it, I just wanted to sink into the floor and eradicate my existence from this world. It also turned out that a taco is actually kinda small, so it wasn't exactly filling, either, and I probably should have ordered a few more. Even Aaron seemed to indicate as much, asking me if I was sure I only wanted one taco. The day would come to an end after a few failed Mystic Square runs, one of which involved me getting Wriggle-kicked by Mai while trying to exploit her safespot.

19 September 2015, Day 2

Half of my stay was already in the past. Despite having gone to bed at around 10pm last night, I still got up early. Maybe it was jetlag, just into the past, so it didn't hit me as hard. I decided to take a shower and get dressed while Aaron was still sleeping - I had long hair, so it would have taken its sweet time drying up. By the time I got out of the shower, his phone was beeping for the fourth time, so I grabbed my gohei and swished the paper (well, technically felt) charms in his face until he woke up. We ate breakfast at the same place again: he got what he got yesterday, I decided to try something new - the "overly-stuffed breakfast burrito" they had. I regretted that choice once I saw that they had diced ham in it. Yes, I actually dislike ham. Its color looks entirely unappetizing and its taste is much the same, so after eating roughly a third of the thing, I snagged Aaron's potato wedges instead and dipped them into his ketchup.

Still having time until the panels began, we went back to our room and played some Lotus Land Story, me trying to go for a Lunatic 1cc again, yet failing by getting a double-KO against Stage 5 Yuuka. However, we eventually had to get out because room service was trying to clean up. Taking the elevator down to the second floor, we saw Ceej working on Forbidden Scrollery in a Shellnut. Roy would join us not much later, looking very dapper and carrying a mask that made it difficult for him to see, let alone breathe. At about 11:30am, the guys were heading to the cosplay gathering while I went to the "Compositional Techniques in Touhou Music" panel. It ended about 10 minutes before the cosplay gathering, so I tried to find it, but to no avail since they moved it and I was flat-out looking in the wrong place, so I went back to our room, grabbed Aaron's laptop and opened Skype to try and reach out to someone, letting them know where I was and asking them to tell Aaron if they saw him. When he came back, he showed me all the pictures he had taken, adding "not attending the cosplay gathering" to my list of regrets I have about Touhoucon. At least the panel I went to instead of the gathering was actually interesting and informative, not that trainwreck tournament that never happened.

We had time to spare until 4:15pm, when the Gensokyo Survival Guide panel would begin, but because I derped on my 12-hour to 24-hour conversions, I thought it would start at 14:15 (aka 2:15pm), so we were plenty confused when we got the the room at that time and there was a completely different panel going on. The next two hours until it actually began were spent playing some more Mega Drive games. He kicked my ass at Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (I hadn't played Puyo Puyo in a long while), I kicked his ass at Columns III, we both kicked ass at Streets of Rage 2, but didn't manage to beat the game, unfortunately.

As we settled into our seats for the panel, we surprisingly encountered Toshirin-Akaza and the guy from TouhouSubs, who was handing out business cards. Toshi was being a goofball and clearly enjoying himself, sporting a massive toothy grin on all the pictures I took of him dancing around. The panel itself was two hours of non-stop laughter, raspy voices along with ensuing "I'm Batman" jokes that detailed the exploits of a growly wolf Tengu, a drunken fairy, a human and an oni (who had an incident in his past that we do not speak of) as they were looking for their garden gnome, annoying Keine at 3 in the morning, beating the shit out of Suika after epically failing a drinking contest, and then finally finding their gnome, which had become sentient. Rodie and Roy were doing a great job with the panel and it was definitely the highlight of the convention for me.

After it, Aaron, Toshi, ExPorygon, Cirno84 and aussieanimefreak24 went to the Yuuhei Satellite concert while Spaz, Nora, Mini, Bleach, Ceej and me went to the food trucks outside, Mini eventually leaving for the concert, as well. I was considering getting something, but decided against it because a) I didn't know what to get, b) I didn't want to sit on Spaz's wallet (despite him telling me he had the money to spare), and c) I was intending to eat with Aaron after he came back from the concert. So I just sat there with the others and took in the atmosphere. I didn't add much to the conversation - there wasn't much I could say - but listening was fine by me. We headed back inside for the R-18 panels that would follow. Having to show ID to prove that I'm over 18, I grabbed my passport because I wasn't sure that my German citizen ID was going to be accepted. The guy who was checking for ID was understandably confused when I tried handing him my passport, but another staff member came along and took a look at it, granting me entry. The first panel was "Scary Gensokyo: The Horrors of Touhou". I started falling asleep halfway through it (not because the panel was boring, but because I was running out of energy), but tried soldiering on until the end of it - with not a lot of success. When it ended, there would have been a 10-minute break until "WTF Touhou Hentai", but I excused myself and went back to my room, trying to stay awake until Aaron came back.

It was 9:15pm. Judging by the schedule table, the concert hall would have been cleared by then, but there was still nobody, so I wrote a note, telling him I had been waiting for him to come back so we could eat dinner together, but I couldn't suppress the urge to sleep any longer. As I was lying in bed, half-asleep, I heard the door open and him coming back with Toshi. I considered getting out of bed to go eat out with him, but ultimately decided to just keep sleeping, even though I hadn't eaten since breakfast.

The next morning, I saw a reply note of his propped up against the alarm clock. Yuuhei Satellite had been giving an encore and then they were allowed to take pictures.

Hoo boy, that second part turned out pretty long. When I went back to the room after unsuccessfully trying to find the cosplay gathering on Day 2, I was actually working on a dA journal recap of the events up until that point. When I tried submitting, I got an error and my progress was erased - or so I thought. Aaron suggested that I check my, and there it was. So up until that point of the story, I'd been using that journal draft as a reference. Then, I pulled out the schedules that I still possess to piece together the rest.

Day 3, 4, and the aftermath coming up soon...