Who'da thunk it?!
On the 29th, as I was getting ready to head home from work to go do the news item, Big A kindly called the Ikebukuro Animate to see if there were more definite details about the book-signing, as the information in ZERO-SUM had been somewhat vague.
The scoop: The 300 people who would get to attend the signing by Minekura-sensei would be the first 300 to reserve the book in person--not by phone, not online--at just one shop in the Animate chain, its Ikebukuro store...starting the next morning, March 30!
Soooo, no JTTR news item last night, just scrambling to get the time off my job and to work out the next-to-no-notice trip...and this morning I was out the door at 4:30 to catch the first train down to Tokyo.
Didn't want to be the first person there (the second would be fine--just want to follow someone who knows what they're doing! ;^) ), but there was no danger of that; at left, here's the crowd that was already waiting when I got there at 6:40! The line eventually stretched back out of sight around the corner of the wedge-shaped block.
The wind was sharp and cold, and most of us wound up standing facing the building to try to keep warm. Fortunately, there was both a Family Mart and an AM/PM a block away, and we each held our neighbor's place in line so everyone could have a chance to go get something hot (I wolfed two steamin' pizza-man, and had hot tea inside and out--drank one can, and kept the other heated can inside my coat!).
The store's opening time was 10am--which at 9am seemed like one grim full day away--but Animate staff, bless their hearts, came out at 9:20 and passed out reservation forms, clipboards and pens to us. At 9:30, they came down the line again, asking each of us which of the two scheduled signing sessions we wanted to attend (one starts at 2:30, the other at 3), and giving us a voucher for our choice. Then, at 9:40, they actually started bringing us 10 at a time into the store, where we paid for the book and had our vouchers stamped to seal the deal.
It's 12 hours later now, but my noggin is still having a hard time grasping it--I'm actually one of the 300! Seems like a dream...gonna stumble off to bed now, and hope it'll still be real tomorrow! ;^)