Last weekend I visited the Super G Mart on Independence Blvd. in Charlotte, NC. It was my first time going to the international food store after a friend told me about all of the great products they carried. According to their website, Super G Mart is the largest international grocery store in North Carolina. They also have another location in Greensboro, NC.
Walking into Super G Mart, I was amazed by the great looking produce section. All of the staple items you would find at a regular grocery store were present along with additional special produce that caters to their customer base. A nearby aisle carries the only alcoholic beverages in the store along with carbonated beverages. There was a selection of assorted Ramune flavors that I quickly threw into my cart along with a bottle of sake. Along the back of the store is an impressive assortment of fresh meats and seafood. They carry the normal cuts of beef, chicken, and pork you would expect. However, they carry additional items that not commonly found such as pork hearts. The seafood area had frozen items along with fresh whole fish, filleted fish, and shellfish. It looked like a popular section of the store as the fish counter was always busy during my visit. In front of the seafood area are a few rows of freezers carrying common frozen items and some specifically tailored for certain customers. My favorite aisle in the store was a short distance away from the freezer section.
The main snack aisle was incredibly overwhelming with an amazing assortment of interesting and delicious products. They have plenty of options including those with a sweet tooth. I grabbed a couple flavored crackers and chips as I made my way to the Pocky and Kit-Kat section. I was not disappointed by the selection of Pocky and related items. They carry a few varieties of the popular flavored Kit-Kat bars as well. I went a little overboard on the snacks, but they all looked delicious.
One of the unique products sold at Super G Mart is the Japanese style toilet with all of the bells and whistles. The price of them was extremely high compared to a standard toilet, but who does not want a heated toilet seat? I will have to save some pennies for a future toilet upgrade.
Near the toilet section was a whole aisle full of ramen! It was quite overwhelming looking at the many noodle bowl options. There was ramen as far as the eye could see. As you walk to the right of the ramen aisle, you will also find multiple restaurants inside the store. I did not have time to try any of the food options, but plenty of customers were waiting to order lunch. My first experience at Super G Mart was very enjoyable and I plan to visit again soon.
I am excited to announce my attendance and confirmation for hosting a panel at the Queen City Anime Convention this year. The convention runs from August 23-26, 2018 at the Hilton University Place. My panel will take place on Sunday, August 26th at 2 p.m. You can pre-register for the convention on their website before August 1. This event is a great opportunity to experience an anime convention for the first time. I am excited for the cosplay contest, video game room, and other panel presentations. Send me an email if you would like to meetup over the weekend or plan to stop by the panel.
Japan vs. USA Baseball
Each summer, collegiate baseball teams from multiple nations travel around and play each other at minor league ballparks. Around July 4th, one of these special games is played at the BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, NC. In 2017, Cuba and USA collegiate teams played each other. This year, a Japan and USA team played on July 3, 2018.
The minor league baseball ballpark in Charlotte, NC attracts many visitors around July 4th because of the fireworks display after certain games. I went to the Japan vs. USA game with a few friends including my buddy Dan, an avid fan of Japanese baseball. He enjoys following the Seibu Lions. After nine innings of play, Japan won with a final score of 1-0. It was a very defensive game with teams struggling to get players in scoring positions. According to Dan, a few players from last year's Japan collegiate team were recruited to Japanese major league teams. Last October, Dan went on the Japanball baseball tour in Japan. Baseball in Japan is a different experience than what you see in the United States. I highly recommend attending a baseball game in Japan if you ever go during the regular season.
We thoroughly enjoyed attending the game and were lucky to sit in a shaded area. The fireworks display was enjoyable as well. Each teamed showed good sportsmanship and enthusiasm on the field. The USA team gave the Japan team long sleeve shirts to commemorate the occasion. The Japan team's roster and game results can be found here.
I recently attended Heroes Convention (June 15-17, 2018) held annually in Charlotte, NC. The event attracts many comic book and web comic fans from across the region. There is a large variety of artists, vendors, and writers manning booths. While the main theme of the convention is tied to comic book heroes, there was an abundance of art, merchandise, and cosplayers related to Japanese anime.
The front half of the convention center hall was dedicated to vendors selling a wide assortment of merchandise including clothing, figurines, comics, key chains, etc. For every booth catering to the super hero fanatic, there was another with a variety of anime-themed wall scrolls, trinkets, and other items. I recognized a handful from previous Japanese conventions around the state of North Carolina. Get Some Game (a hobby shop I frequent in Charlotte, NC) had a booth selling everything from Harry Potter wands to Mobile Suit Gundam models. The owners are great people and I stopped by to say hi and see what they were selling. As I walked further through the area to the artist alleys, I passed by a number of people cosplaying as characters from Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and even Samus from Metroid. It was surprising to see people dressed as anime characters at a convention better known for comic enthusiasts.
Toward the rear of the hall, I visited my friend John Hartness, writer and creator of the Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter series. While speaking with John, I noticed a booth nearby with anime pictures. The artist had some amazing original Dragon Ball Z fan art. He was selling drawings of Frieza and the Ginyu Force to a customer. While many people attend this convention to meet and purchase artwork from artists in the comics community, there was a noticeable amount of anime-inspired pieces also for sale.
I high encourage anyone interested in super heroes, anime, fantasy novels, and even Star Wars to visit Heroes Convention at the Charlotte Convention Center June 14-16, 2019. You will not be disappointed with the quality of original art, books, merchandise, and panels offered. The amount of highly skilled artists and creators attending Heroes Convention was truly impressive.
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