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Volume: 03   Number: 05   Date: July 2007
Site News

The past month has been very quiet. Because most members are busy with graduations, conventions and summer vacations, June-August are typically low key months.

Even during this lull, things are still percolating though. The newly formed Uranus and Chibimoon teams are getting organized and things seem to be coming along nicely. I think we'll be hearing a lot from those teams in the coming weeks and months.

If you're looking for something fun to occupy your spare time, you might consider checking in on the Fanfiction Contests directory. After all, everyone loves Madlibs. --Right?

The MoonGram is shorter than usual this month, but you're all probably too busy doing exciting stuff to care too much about that. :) I hope everyone's having a great summer (or winter for those of you in the southern hemisphere)!

Staff Member Spotlight

On hiatus this month

CANCER, GUARDIAN OF HOME AND FAMILY

The astrological sign of Cancer is of central importance to Sailor Moon" because Tsukino Usagi (Sailor Moon) and her daughter Chibiusa (Sailor Chibi Moon) are both natives of Cancer, the sign that rules the home and family in the zodiac. Appropriately enough, for the two moon senshi, this also means their astrological ruler is the Moon, which is the ruler of emotions in the zodiac. Further, the sign of Cancer is a cardinal water sign, which means that a Cancer native can expect a life marked by emotional crises which can either cripple the native or leave her stronger if she is able to learn and grow from her trials.

THE CANCERIANS USAGI AND CHIBIUSA

Because Usagi and Chibiusa share a common birth date (June 30), they share not only a common sun sign but also a common decanate: a subdivision of the sign of Cancer. Decanates may be unfamiliar to people with a casual interest in astrology, but the concept of decanates is almost as old as astrology itself; basically, each 30-degree astrological sign is divided into three 10-degree decanates, each of which is associated with its own planet and constellation, so people born in the same decanate will tend to be even more similar than people simply sharing a common sign. In the case of Usagi and Chibiusa, they share the first decanate of Cancer, which is associated with the Moon (magnifying the power of Cancer's ruling Moon) and the constellation Canis Minor. This combination makes for a person who, on the one hand, is very emotional and prone to be influenced by others, but on the other hand is reluctant to share her innermost thoughts and feelings too openly.

And indeed, both Usagi and Chibiusa share these qualities. Usagi, for example, is famous for her effusive friendliness and outgoing nature, but in the final season of the Sailor Moon anime, she didn't let even her closest friends know that she wasn't receiving responses to any of the letters she was sending to Mamoru in America. Chibiusa likewise had a penchant for secrecy; in the second season, Chibiusa not only suppressed her memory of the disappearance of Neo Queen Serenity's Silver Crystal, but became a pawn of the villain Wiseman as he manipulated her suppressed feelings of guilt and isolation. Ultimately, though, Chibiusa was stronger than her guilt and fear, which was also the case with Usagi throughout the series; although Usagi often seemed overwhelmed by situations at first (a crybaby, as Rei would say), the strength of her love for family and friends always allowed her to prevail in the end.

FORECAST FOR CANCER

Jupiter, which entered Cancer's sixth house of work and health in November 2006, will continue to exert a favorable influence there until December 2007; thus, Cancer natives should find it easier to get along with coworkers, and this would be an especially good time for a Cancer native to go on a diet or improve some other aspect of their physical well-being. When Jupiter enters the seventh house of relationships in mid-December, Cancer natives with an interest in romance will then find their prospects enhanced in that area.

Saturn, meanwhile, has been exerting a stressful influence on Cancer's second house of money and possessions since July of 2005, but Saturn's oppressive influence will subside when it moves out of the third house in September of 2007. Saturn will then exert its influence on the house of communication - possibly making it harder for Cancer natives to communicate their ideas effectively - but overall the energy there will be more positive because Saturn will be happier in the earth sign of Virgo than it was in the fire sign of Leo.

Need a little more fun in your life? Why not enter The Caption Contest!
Con-Verse: Issue 5

My con season has started, AnimeNEXT is the first weekend in July, followed by Otakon two weeks later. I'm doing Hall Cosplay judging there for the first time, it should be a lot of fun...I hope.

The Convention Side: Dealers Room Strategy

This is a subject that one can never really reinforce enough: Budget your money at a convention!! So many people look at convention expenditures as just the dealers room, but there are many more things you have to put money into.

Here are some pre-strategies before we get into the actual dealers room:

Number 1: Make a shopping list. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is, but you shouldn’t just list out the stuff you want in one big line. Break it down into columns: CD's, Merchandise, DVD's, Posters/wallscrolls, apparel, etc. This will help you first center in on the booths you should visit first. Walking into a dealers room of any size is daunting, you immediately see 15 things you want, that you didn’t expect to see. The problem with this is that if you jump right on those, you won’t have enough money left for the stuff you planned to get in the first place.

Number 2: What do you HAVE to get at the convention? Recent DVD’s, magazines, manga, etc are not things you should be looking to get at a convention. First of all, chances are by the time you reach a table that would have all that new stuff, the people ahead of you on the dealers room line have already bought it all up. Discount cards for places like FYE, Suncoast, Borders and Barnes & Noble make it so more recent DVD's and things can be bought for much less than you’ll find them at a convention.

Number 3: Major purchases should be decided upon first! Are you desperate for that Perfect Grade gundam model, that life sized Chii doll, or other major purchase? Decide how much you want it. If you can't possibly live without it, plan to buy it up front, and set aside the money for it.

Number 4: The Frugal Otaku: You don't need to buy everything you need at the convention, there are some things you can bring from home that will help you save money in the long run. Food is a big one: Bring a cooler with soda, water, Gatorade, milk, etc. in it. Have cookies, cereal and other things in a bag. If you do this, you’ll save yourself breakfast money, you won’t have to spend $2.00 in a vending machine for a can of soda, and you could easily find yourself saving up to $50.00 during that weekend (hey, that’s a DVD and 2 manga!). Also, PLEASE do not buy food in a convention center, expo center or hotel snack bar unless you have no choice. Hotels and expo centers make a ton of money from people who want to take the easy way out and spend $3.50 on a plain hot dog. Unless you're in the middle of nowhere, which is doubtful, there are always alternatives.

Number 5: NO CREDIT CARDS!!! If you have one with you, it is for emergency use only. You start spending on a card, even if you say to yourself “I'll just set some extra money aside next month to pay it off”, and it's going to cause problems. You can rationalize all you want, but with the monthly interest, you’ll actually wind up spending a good 5%-10% more on every purchase than if you paid in cash.

Here is the actual plan of attack as you’re walking into the dealers room:

Step 1: Budget! How much do you need for your hotel room? Food? The trip home? Whatever is left can be put in your DR fund, unless you want to keep some emergency money on the side (not a bad idea). Also remember that the amount of money you bring should be directly proportional to the size of the show. Don’t bring a ton of money to a first year con, and be left with nothing for Otakon.

Step 2: That major purchase: If you decided to get it up front, do it now, and bring it right up to your hotel room.

Step 3: Set aside DVD money until Sunday, and make your other purchases first. Make sure to map out the whole dealers room, don’t buy something now and find it cheaper at another table. I don’t know of any dealers that accept returns.

Step 4: Artists alley: Go there! You'll be amazed at the merchandise-style things you'll find there. They may make a better (and significantly cheaper) purchase than their Dealers Room counterparts.

Step 5: If you can't find certain things, and you find yourself with a surplus of money at the end of Friday, don't just look to spend it on anything. Wait a while, you may see something on Saturday that you didn’t see the day before.

Step 6: Sunday is the day to get your DVD's, most dealers don't want to carry all that stuff home with them, so you’ll start seeing 10%-15% discounts on stuff. Now you can start grabbing the discs you wanted, and maybe some other ones with that surplus you had from Saturday.

It's that simple. These strategies have saved me a TON of money over time. I’ve done 30 conventions now, and I would have been bankrupt years ago if I didn’t learn this stuff.

My Side of the Table: Convention Evolution:

2001...doesn’t really seem that long ago. For me, it was an unbelievable year, when I finally realized that this anime thing I had found myself tangled up in was a lot bigger than I had ever imagined. So, what exactly has changed in such a short period of time?

To start with: The size of the fandom. Otakon 2001 didn't even take up the whole Baltimore Convention Center, and the attendees could fit in 4 of the hotels in the inner harbor. Granted, that was still a lot of people, but compared to now, it was small.

Otakon 2001: 10,285 attendees, 180 staff, 65 dealers
Otakon 2006: 22,302 attendees, 417 staff, 125 dealers

Next: The number of conventions. Back in 2001, shows like Connecticon, Tekkoshocon, and AnimeNEXT didn’t even exist and the staple conventions like Ohayocon, Katsucon and A-Kon were still struggling to grow.

2001: ~40 conventions in the US
2007: ~84 conventions in the US (1.6 conventions every weekend of the year)

Third: The events:
2001: Precious few conventions back then would have even tried to pull off a concert. The big events were the AMV Contest, Dance, Masquerade and Karaoke. Panels were usually restricted to fans talking about a single series they liked, screening rooms made up 70% of the programming space at the show, and the video game room consisted of 2 PS2s set to play X-Men vs. Street Fighter and everyone else was crowded around 2 horribly mangled DDR pads next to a single projector that we had to practically strangle the Con Chair to let us purchase.

2007: AMVs can be made in your sleep, karaoke has really fallen to the wayside at most shows and you can't even have a convention without a Japanese band, a guest of honor, 5 voice actors, industry reps, game shows, interactive panels, Halo LAN parties, 2 DDR machines, and panels on every subject from sake tasting and plushie making to American vs. Japanese animation comparison and manga drawing.

Fourth: Cosplay
2001: Everyone was either Lina Inverse, a Sailor Scout, Vash the Stampede, Wolfwood or something from Ranma.

2007: Everyone is from Bleach, FMA, FF7 or Naruto...

I guess some things don’t really change after all...

Well, I'm still getting all my stuff together for AnimeNEXT, so I have to make this article shorter than my others. However, next month's report will not only include highlights from AnimeNEXT, but Otakon as well!

A Sailormoon Summer

Hello everyone, and happy summer! Depending on where you live, you may have been having summer now for a while or if you're like me it's just starting to get hot. Either way, the summertime fun has just started gearing up here in Japan. There are festivals during the summer here, along with some cultural things that only come out during the summer. Usagi and friends have been to festivals, etc. so I thought I would tell you about Japanese summers this month.

There are lots of things that you only see in summer here in Japan. The big one is festivals. They are sort of like a big outdoor fair with stalls selling food, toys, and having games. If you've watched anime for any time you've probably seen this happen. The "catch a goldfish with a paper paddle" is very popular. Other activities usually include paying to draw a card or paper with a number on it that tells you what kind of prize you win. There are also food staples at the summer festivals. These include oden (boiled vegetables, fish cakes, and eggs on a stick), cotton candy, flavored shaved ice, chocolate covered bananas on a stick, takoyaki (octopus dumplings), and doner kebabs (a Turkish gyro-like food). I know I know. It sounds like donner kebab... and it's even scarier to see what looks like someone's leg roasting underneath the sign too.. but they're really good.

Many people wear their traditional Japanese summer clothes, yukata, to festivals. Modern day Japanese don't often wear traditional clothes, but they all seem to enjoy it at the festivals. Often there is entertainment at the festival in the form of taiko drummers, traditional music and dancing. There are almost always fireworks (hanabi, fire flower) at the end of the festival, too. They are truly a sight to see!

Besides festivals, there is also food and other merchandise that is available only in the summer. There are special round wind chimes that you only hang outside your house in the summer. Once summer starts you can find these for sale everywhere, but once it starts to get cold they all disappear from the store shelves. Small fireworks can also be found at almost any Japanese store this time of year. They are usually things like sparklers for small children. You can also find much of the same merchandise you usually would but with a summer theme. There are Hello Kitty and Pokemon toys out with paper lanterns, wind chimes, etc. on them. Of course, Japanese fans are everywhere you look, especially in Hokkaido where there is almost no air conditioning. Some of the food that appears in the summer are melons and melon flavored foods, shaved ice (sort of like American snow cones), more ice cream than before, mango flavored foods, and all of the things that are only at festivals.

I'm sure there is plenty more, but I can't think of it! The seasons are very important here and play a big part in people's lives. Keep and eye out in Sailor Moon episodes for references to these things. You might have better luck with the sub since the dub usually changes things to make them less obviously Japanese. It's definitely there though!

With that, I have to wrap it up for this month. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but things haven't really gotten started yet here. As I said before, I hope everyone has a great summer. I think I'm going to look for one of those bananas on a stick now...

Seen any good websites, lately? Well, we're looking for them, too. The Crystal Key needs your submissions. Tell us about any great sites you've visited. What are you waiting for? Bring us some links!
Japanese 101

School's on holiday this month.

Now Playing

No new reviews this month.

Japanese Proverbs

You can tell a people's character from that people's proverbs. Therefore any friend of the Japanese will know already what he will find here: a sentimentality about flowers and a cynicism about people; a confidence in the eternal and a distrust of the immediate, a seriousness about shrines and a jocularity about priests.

This combination of spirituality and worldliness is not unique to the Japanese, but they show it perhaps more sharply than any other people.

In any collection of proverbs you can always find another kind of contradiction: a yes to each no on any question, and a black to every white. This collection is no exception. National traits are not involved by such contradictions: they are simply mirrors of human pessimism and optimism, bad experience and good. We hope your experience here will be all good?
--Japanese Proverbs & Traditional Phrases © 1962 Peter Pauper Press

Once Uttered
Words Run Faster
Than Horses

The Go-Player Doesn't
Get To His Mother's
Death-Bed On Time

He Is Building A Bridge
Over The Ocean

He Is One Inch Good
One Foot Evil

Monthly Fun

~Sailor Moon Birthdays
July 30: Sailor Star Fighter / Seiya Kou

~ Horoscopes
Cancer (June 22-July 22)
Visualize world peace.

Leo (July 23-Aug 22)
Your lucky numbers are 1, 34, and 3,987,423 this month.

Virgo (Aug 23-Sep 22)
Get outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Libra (Sep 23-Oct 24)
Your lucky numbers are 12 and 786 this month.

Scorpio (Oct 24-Nov 22)
You will be carried away by a man in a handlebar mustache.

Sagittarius (Nov 23-Dec 21)
When in doubt, chose the pasta.

Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 20)
Take a breather and it will all be clearer.

Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb 18)
You will invite a punctual stranger to dinner.

Pisces (Feb 19-March 20)
Romance is in the air.

Aries (March 21-April 20)
Rent a black-and-white movie for a change of pace.

Taurus (April 21-May 20)
A watched pot never boils.

Gemini (May 21-June 21)
Get some use out of the unused things in your life.

June's Caption Contest Winner

Chibimoon makes a funny face
"See how elastic my skin is for a 902-year-old?!"

Editors-in-Chief: Jen, Lisa
Writers: amiwakawaiidesu, chibineptune, Dessa, LTGMars, Scot, SilenceGlaive, tux
Editors: Cloudburst, LTGMars

To contact the MoonGram Staff: send email to MoonGram@sailormoon.org
Would you like to write for the MoonGram? Why not Apply?
All articles are the property of their respective authors. No part of this document can be duplicated without the written consent of its owner. We make all reasonable attempts to assure the validity of the information presented in the MoonGram. However, we are not responsible for omissions or errors caused by faulty third-party information. Horoscope content is just for fun and is not meant to be taken seriously.



MoonGram and grep sailormoon * are © 1998 - 2007 by Scot Bontrager and Jennifer Maher-Bontrager. All Rights Reserved. The MoonGram is the newsletter of grep SailorMoon * (sailormoon.org).
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