Black Nerds Expo 2019

Black Nerds Expo 2019



The Black Nerds Expo on Thursday, February 28 from 10:00AM to 2:00PM at MiraCosta College (1 Barnard Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056) is a space for attendees to explore and celebrate black comics, books, art, video games, and pop culture. This event is open to everyone! Register at for free!

Here is what the expo will offer:

-Play games

-Meet people in the art, video game, and comic book industries

-Make new, local friends who like black pop culture

-Participate in opportunity drawings for active attendees

-Take Instagram-worthy photos at the photo booth

-Day-of point card to collect comics-related stickers and prizes

-Learn about upcoming projects and releases information in anime, manga, video games, media, and pop culture


How much is it to attend the Black Nerds Expo?

It’s free! Just make sure to either pre-register or register on-site for entry.

Why is there a need for a black nerds event?

Could you name at least three black superheroes outside of Black Panther, Storm from the X-men, or Luke Cage? Could you name at least three black authors without searching on Google? Could you name at least one black artist outside of comics? Events such as the Black Nerds Expo is to make aware the existence of black pop culture that isn’t usually shown or celebrated in mainstream media.


If I’m a vendor, artist, or would like to table for the Black Nerds Expo, how can I make that happen?

Please email or complete an exhibitor application at to register a representative to participate in the Black Nerds Expo. There is limited space, so please contact Jd Banks as soon as possible.


How much is it to reserve a table?

It’s free! We don’t want tabling or exhibiting fees to be a barrier for exhibiting. Please contact Jd Banks at as soon as possible since space is limited.


If I can’t be there personally but I or my business would like to contribute, how do I do that?

Send any promotional materials (i.e. flyers, postcards, business cards, posters) to the following address by Thursday, February 14, 2019 to give them time to arrive:

ATTN: Jd Banks, Student Equity (MC: #10C)

MiraCosta College

1 Barnard Drive

Oceanside, CA 92056


Is it possible to sponsor something for this event?

Sure! We would like to do an opportunity drawing for attendees, so any swag items such as T-shirts, hats, buttons, wrist bands, DVDs, posters, cups, or figurines relating to black pop culture would be appreciated. In return, the Black Nerds Expo will cross-promote your brand on social media and other marketing materials. Please email Jd Banks at for information.


Are you providing any stipends or paying any fees for vendors, artists, or representatives to participate in the Black Nerds Expo?

No. Participants will only be provided a table, refreshments, and day-of logistical support.


What sort of things would be great to bring as a vendor, artist, or representative to the Black Nerds Expo?

If you are a comics vendor, comics and graphic novels concentrating on black superheroes such as Black Panther, Storm, Luke Cage, Black Lightning, Green Lantern, March, Miles Morales Spider-Man, Ironheart, Batwing, Cyborg, Mister Terrific, Vixen, Nubia, Rocket, XS, Tattooed Man, Afro Samurai, and more would be great.  Find a list of black superheroes at Books from Toni Morrison, Ben Okri, Karyn Parsons, John Lewis, Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Obama and other black authors would also be great. Artwork can be fan-created artwork of current black superheroes and/or original artwork with black and African-American attendees in mind.

Black Nerds Expo Supporters

IDW Publishing

Right Stuf

Evoluzione Publishing

Black Sci-Fi

MiraCosta College

Gurren Lagann to Debut on Toonami

gurrenlagannSANTA MONICA, CA (July 19, 2014) –Aniplex of America, Inc. has announced today that the legendary TV anime series GURREN LAGANN, will debut on Adult Swim’s TOONAMI™ Saturday line-up this August. The first episode will premiere on August 16th at 2:00am EST.

From the SAME team that brought us KILL la KILL, GURREN LAGANN comes from the genius minds of Director Hiroyuki Imaishi and Script Writer/Series Composition Kazuki Nakashima. In response to its global popularity, the series was also adapted into two full-length films, Childhood’s End and The Lights in the Sky Are Stars. Aniplex of America re-released the GURREN LAGANN TV Series on home video last year featuring both the original Japanese and English dub which features many popular voice actors such as Yuri Lowenthal (as Simon), Kyle Hebert (as Kamina) and Michelle Ruff (as Yoko). This past July, Aniplex of America also released the GURREN LAGANN Movies in a Double Feature Blu-ray Set (Japanese Language only with English subtitles).

This is the story of a man who has yet to realize what destiny holds in store for him….
In the distant future, mankind has lived quietly and restlessly underground for hundreds of years, subject to earthquakes and cave-ins. Living in one such village are 2 young men: one named Simon who is shy and naïve, and the other named Kamina who believes in the existence of a “surface” world above their heads. The destiny of these two starts moving drastically when the ceiling of their village falls in, and a gigantic “Gunmen” and a beautiful girl named Yoko, wielding a superconductive rifle, come from the surface. Together, Kamina, Simon and Yoko ride the mecha “Lagann” that Simon digs out of the ground, and fly up to the surface!

For more details, please visit:

50 Questions: My Answers to an Anime Q&A

Found this on Ephemeral Dreams‘s blog and thought it would be fun to do. 

1. Who is your favorite male anime character?

Toss up between Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach and Ulquiorra Schifer from Bleach.

2. Who is your favorite female character?

Clare from Claymore.

3. What is your favorite anime soundtrack?

Love all of Bleach and NANA‘s music.

4. What is your favorite anime opening + animation?

“D-tecnolife” by UVERworld on Bleach

5. What is your favorite anime ending song + animation?

“Gravity” by Maaya Sakamoto from Wolf’s Rain

6. What is your favorite anime scene?

A piano begins to play as a girl on a motorcycle swings her bike through giant robots. She delivers deadly blow as she makes her machine dance to the music. This scene was the last action scene in RideBack.

7. If you could meet an anime character who would it be?


8. What anime character is most similar to you in terms of personality?

Even though he’s a guy, I relate the most to Kazuhiko Fay Ryu from CLAMP’s Clover.

9. What is your favorite thing about anime?

The fun factor, the storytelling, the animation…so many things… 

10. What is your least favorite thing about anime?

The over-done themes with high school students. There are other people in the world!

11. Who are your favorite anime couple?

Nana (Hachiko) and Nobuo from NANA.

12. Who is your favorite anime animal?

Kilala from Inuyasha.

13. What anime would make a good game?


14. What game would make a good anime?

Soul Calibur.

15. What was the first anime you ever watched?

Old school Sailor Moon!

16. Do you think you’ll ever stop watching anime?

Well, in the long run, no, but I’ve watched less and less anime and started to read more and more manga as I’ve matured, so…

17. What is your favorite genre of anime?


18. What is your least favorite genre of anime?


19. Are you open about watching anime with people you know?

Yup! Got my husband into anime 🙂

20. Have you ever been to Japan?

Um, I live in Japan…

21. What anime was the biggest let down for you?

SkyCrawlers. Slowest. Anime. Ever.

22. What anime was better then expected?

Law of Ueki.

23. What is the best anime fight scene?

Ichigo Kurosaki versus transformed Ulquiorra Schifer in Hueco Mundo from Bleach.

24. Who is your anime waifu?

Um, I have a husband, so… Major from Ghost in the Shell?

25. What was your favorite video game as a child?

Soul Calibur.

Questions about me

26. Most Embarrassing moment?

One day from my first year in college, I was sitting in my drawing class, and everyone was quietly working on their projects. I remember the class being completely silent when I farted.

27a. Can you drive?

In the U.S. and Japan!

27b. Do you own a car?

Yes, if you call my tiny red Japanese car one.

28. Are you mature?


29. What year were you born?


30. Do you prefer cats or dogs?

Cats. They’re smart.

31. Describe yourself physically.

Short, brown skin, black hair, brown eyes, curvy, athletic build, and round face.

32. What would you name your first child?

Boy: Jayden. Girl: Jeriel. 

33. What is the worst injury you have ever had?

Tore my ACL in both knees.

34. What is your worse habit?

I procrastinate when I get too much work. I usually read manga or watch anime (in three days, I watched over 100 episodes of Bleach during Finals Week).

35. Do you drink or smoke?

Nope! I like to keep my money in wallet and my health, well, healthy.

36. Do you have a tattoo?


37. Are you a morning person or a night person?

Both! I can wake up with the alarm and I can stay up and work.

38. Have you ever slept past midday

Only on sick days.

39. Do you regret anything?

Yes! What person doesn’t??

40. Can you count the number of friends you have on one hand?


41. Do you wear glasses?

Yup! And contacts too.

42. Are you a picky eater?


43. Would you die for someone?

My husband.

44. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Unbreakable body.

45. Do you believe in the supernatural?


46. Would you rather be rich or famous?

Rich, not famous. Too much baggage with fame.

47. Have you ever committed a crime.


48. Pirates or ninjas?

Totally ninjas! Why? Because I have a black cat named Ninja! Plus, they’re so quiet, you don’t even know they’re there (unlike my cat).

49. Does someone have a crush on you?

My husband?

50. Are you in a relationship?

My husband.

Becoming Illiterate: The Real Adventure in Japan

It’s funny to hear anime and manga fans say earnestly, “I want to go to Japan!” Images of giant mecha and tiny Japanese maids follows along with rows and rows of kawaii and strangely adorable fashion. But honestly, that’s tourist stuff.

When anyone who hasn’t learned Japanese enters Japan to live for a long time, the reality sets in: “I’m illiterate!” It’s not like going to Mexico and seeing things remarkably close to English–Ingles is English–but more like dropping into a realm of complicated characters and incoherent yet noble English phrases.

The language barrier is a big obstacle for expats in Japan, especially the ones who have never studied Japanese. Besides romaji, the Romanized Japanese alphabet, non-Japanese-speakers won’t be able to read anything. Foreigners become virtually illiterate. The newspapers, the restaurant menus, even the manga become sources of frustration. “I can’t read!!”

For book worms like myself, it’s been challenging trying to overcome my Japanese illiteracy. In some ways, I’ve had to sacrifice my English literacy to close the gap. Instead of reading books in English, I’ve opted to study Japanese. It took me a month to memorize all of the characters in hiragana followed by another month of remembering all of the characters in katakana. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The fourth writing system in Japan is kanji, characters originating from China, and it’s the writing system that adorns stores, food packages, billboards, and signs. No one, even tourists, can’t escape kanji in Japan. It’s everywhere.

And kanji is where the illiteracy begins to take an ugly turn. Kanji has two readings, on-reading and kun-reading. On-reading, or on-yomi, is the Chinese way of reading kanji. Kun-reading, or kun-yomi, uses the pronunciation of the existing native Japanese word. As one of my co-workers explained to me, the way that most people know which reading is which, is by seeing the sequence of the characters. Most of the time, two kanji together gives the words the on-reading, but by themselves, they’re pronounced using the kun-reading. An example is using the kanji for “mother”,  母, pronounced haha in kun-reading. However, if “mother” is coupled with another kanji, 国, or “country”, the pronunciation changes to the on-reading, bokoku (母国), or “mother country”. To be frank, learning kanji is really difficult. Even some Japanese people tell me, “Even some Japanese people don’t know kanji.”

But there’s something endearing about kanji. Maybe it’s because of the difficulty that I’ve grown to accept it not as a hulking obstacle in my life in Japan, but as a part of the culture. I decided to try and learn as much kanji as I possibly can before I return to the United States. Some ways I’ve been slowly acquiring the meanings and readings of kanji is simply by asking my co-workers. “What does this mean? How do you say this?” (And this is where I get the same statement–“Even some Japanese people don’t know kanji.”)

So far, the best way I’ve been learning kanji besides by shameless questions is by reading manga. Some manga use furigana. It’s a small set of kana (hiragana and katakana) that shows the reading of kanji. Furigana is useful for elementary students and Japanese learners. The difference between learning kanji from a kanji practice book and a manga is pretty big. With kanji practice books, there’s little fun in them. Just memorize the stroke order, or how it’s written, and write it over and over again until it becomes second nature. However, manga has a more gratifying result. A story unfolds within each learned kanji, and the practical way that characters are used can easily become imprinted in one’s head. I’m learning Japanese idioms and new words with every manga I read in its original, untranslated form–something that would take years to learn in a Japanese class.

But I’m still a long way from being literate in Japanese, and so is every other foreigner who’s never studied Japanese in Japan. The rows and rows of kawaii can easily turn into rows of kowaii, so tourists and anime fans, beware. Study Japanese before you come to Japan.

Anime and Manga is Funnier When You Get It

Since I was twelve years old, I enjoyed watching anime and reading manga. Fourteen years later, I still watch  anime and read manga, but now, I enjoy them in Japan–and they’ve taken a whole new dimension in my eyes. Anime and manga are actually funnier than I realized!

One series that has Japanese culture bombarding every page in big and small ways is Great Teacher Onizuka, or G.T.O. for short. Blow-up dolls, booty grabbers, and bad boys of Japan spring up in a rather simple premise. Among them are the comical antics of the main character, teacher-in-training Eikichi Onizuka. Somehow, the stupid yet charming things he manages to pull off in a rigid society like Japan makes me laugh.

What a bad Japanese application looks like.

What a bad Japanese application looks like.

In one part of the second volume, Onizuka submits his application for a teaching position at an academy. One look at it, and you’d think, “OK, here’s an honest applicant with zero experience.” It’s truthful, but what makes it funny is how some poor applicant in Japan will take this at face value and submit an application identical to this one. As tempting as it is to copy the anime or manga lifestyle, the sad reality is it’s not reality.

If you’re like me, and you’re inside the Japanese educational system, you’d probably change that line to, “This guy is a dumb-ass.” Everything is wrong with the application! You don’t write what you honestly think. Just write what the interview panel wants to read. You don’t put “my physical body” as a personal attribute. What does that have to do with teaching? And you definitely, under no circumstances, use a cute perikura picture for the required picture–it’s obviously not to size.

Aside from G.T.O., many series have cultural points laid out for foreign readers like the hierarchical system in addressing people (i.e. Tanaka-san, Tanaka-kun, Tanaka-chan) and references to Japanese history or pop culture. Some cultural points can’t be explained, but rather, seen firsthand. For example, seeing characters fall over suddenly when someone says something stupid or ridiculous seems to belong in anime and manga. The keel-over reaction is something I’ve seen at work in Japan again and again. Another piece of Japanese culture that most fans readily identify with is the panty vending machines. I’ve only seen one in a ladies’ changing room at a hot springs resort, but other than that, they don’t exist on every corner of Japan. Cigarette and soft drink vending machines can be seen every kilometer you go in Japan.

I started reading a manga called ARISA about a junior high school student by the same name with an outgoing personality. In the first read, I grasped the story and the characters, but in the second read, I noticed some mundane parts of the manga that are hilarious—that is, if you know the cultural significance of it. Arisa clobbers some boys for throwing a carton onto the ground, something that is illegal in many parts of Japan. I found myself encouraging the boys’ clobbering. “Get ‘em, Arisa! They didn’t recycle!” But only if you’ve lived in Japan could you find that funny while claiming a moral responsibility towards the situation.

Although there are some things that are pretty dead-on between Japanese animation and Japanese culture, the funniest part about it all relies on the cultural points—and how much you get them. Once I was able to understand the real situations from living in Japan, anime and manga took on a different significance.

The Katsudon of my (Anime) Dreams

One of the teachers took me to a family restaurant that sold katsudon (かつどん), a dish that’s common in anime and manga.
What is it besides a common anime and manga dish? It’s deep-fried chicken over eggs, rice and onions. It can be made in different ways, but it’s delicious anyways.
This katsudon was huge! It was as big as my face, and it came with miso soup and a small dish of pickled radish. For all of that food, I only paid 500 円 (around $5). What a deal! I only finished half, and I felt so guilty for not finishing it. Normally someone would say, “Mottainai”, which is a way of saying, “What a waste”, but thankfully no one did. (^_^)v

Buying Anime Gifts on a Budget

‘Tis the season to be jolly–or to be more exact, to be mall-y. It’s the holiday season, and that means, buying gifts for friends and family. Unfortunately, if you’re still new to shopping for your anime-lover friend or brother or sister, the mall is the last place I would go to shop. Why? Because it’s expensive! Imagine paying $10–whole price–for a manga volume! Well, if you’re on a budget and paying that much for manga, anime, or Japan-related gifts isn’t something that’s on your Christmas list, I would heed a few points that I’ve learned from buying some great gifts.

Before you head out there, actually make a list of who you’re buying what for. If you make a list, you’re likely to stick with that list instead of buying impulsively and spending all of your money. Also, you should set a price limit as to what you want to buy for each person.

Now that you know more about what to do before shopping, on with the tips!

1. If you have time, go online. There are a lot of websites out there that offer deals just for buying merchandise from them. Websites like and offer savings on anime, manga, apparel, and Japan-related items. And before you decide to roam their pages, sign up for an account with them. You can get additional deals just for making a new account. Re-sell sites, like and, offer new manga and anime for cheaper prices outside of regular retailer websites. For instance, you could buy a Bakuman Volume 1 manga for less than $3 on, versus getting it at $7.49 ( or $9.99 (retailer). The only thing about shopping online is making sure the shipping fee is reasonable, if any, and that the package will arrive on time.

If you’re worried about receiving the gift by Christmas, I would suggest getting a gift certificate. If the gift certificates are still shipped, the shipping fees are really low and it’s more likely to arrive on time because it’s not a box. On some websites, gift certificates aren’t sent out, like on They are sent to the purchaser via email, and all you have to do is print it out (on nice paper, I hope!) and wrap it like a Christmas gift. It takes the hassle out of buying a specific gift for your anime friend and they’ll appreciate not having to return an item they don’t like.

If you live outside of the United States, offers free shipping to all countries.

2. If you have time and got a dime, get in line. If you already booked yourself to go to a convention, make sure to remember your anime friends and family. For a list of your local anime convention, check out If you’re one of those people who don’t go to anime conventions, there’s always the option of going to your local comic book retailer (not a mall one, hopefully), and having them order the manga or anime, if it’s not available in the store. Normally, there isn’t an extra charge for ordering, but sometimes, a deposit of the item’s price will be asked, so come with some cash. In some towns and cities, there are also manga and anime stores. Although they don’t have as many deals as online websites, if you’ve signed up for a point card, you can earn some much-needed points on your Christmas purchases.

3. No dime, no time, draw a line. If you don’t have money but you have some artistic skills, like drawing, painting, or even using Adobe Illustrator, make them a gift. You can personalize it to your choice, and it’s something original for your friend or family to keep. If it’s drawing or computer-generated images, just make sure to frame the piece or put it in a plastic sleeve like the ones used for American comic books (any comic book retailer can sell it to you for less than $1 each).  If you have left over clay or plaster, sculpt a figurine of their favorite anime character, use acrylic paint to color it, and let it dry. Presto! You have a gift that didn’t take hours to construct and zero dollars to make.