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"Wandering in Translation" Continues to Wander Through My Hard Drive

posted Aug 8, 2012, 11:34 PM by Douglas Sun

Speaking of business left hanging when I stopped blogging last year, I never posted anything after the fact about "Wandering in Translation," the talk on anime and gaming that I gave at GenCon last year. I was excited about giving it, but also a little apprehensive. When it comes down to it, you just never know how these things will go. I liked my material and knew I could draw upon my teaching experience to figure out how to deliver it engagingly, but I had no idea if anyone would show up. For one thing, I'm not well known by any means. Secondly, my talk was part of the anime block, and as enthusiastic as the anime fans are at GenCon, they're not a large constituency.

But everything turned out as well as I could have expected. I misplaced my notes, but was never caught at a loss. In fact, I bumped up hard against the people coming in to set up for the next session, so we almost ran over. The audience numbered about a dozen people, IIRC — small, but not nearly as small as I'd feared. More importantly, they all seemed to be paying attention to what I had to say — no one who was obviously there just to take a load off. And they actually had questions and comments after I'd finished speaking! The knowledge that people are actually listening to you is a morale boost in and of itself, regardless of whether they agree or disagree, whether they think you're smart or stupid.

As for recording the talk for posterity, I will always be grateful to the fellow in the front row who agreed to prop up my iPhone just so for 40+ minutes straight. I really need to get around to editing the footage and putting it on YouTube; I'd like to use it as an audition tape of sorts, with eye toward giving an updated version of the talk at other anime and gaming conventions.