i'm sure the first things you thought when you read the words "yaoi rave" were "what the FUCK is a yaoi rave?" and "WHY DID YOU FLY OUT FOR A YAOI RAVE?" and 1) i still have no idea even after going to it 2) i think there is something severely wrong with me. everytime i tell someone about the rave i always say "there was more yaoi in the audience" and by yaoi i mean gay people. here's a quick q&a if you only want to know some specific thoughts because i'm not just going to be talking about the yaoi rave but also the other things i did in nyc as well.
q: did you only fly out for the yaoi rave?
a: yes but also no
q: was it worth it?
a: kinda lmfao it was funny but there sort of wasnt enough yaoi.. there was supposed to be visuals going but according to a person i met there that was in charge of the vj stuff, the venue's projector overheated.. we truly live in unfortunate times
q: would you do it again?
a: hell yeah
now that i've gotten all of that out of the way, it's time for me to ramble about what is possibly One Of My Travel Experiences Ever.
this image was the first thing i ever saw regarding the yaoi rave. i was eating and checking a groupchat when a close friend pinged me in it with this image - a picture of a message in a rave discord server which gave me extreme whiplash after looking at it and being met with Hot Yaoi Base Redraw #195853853. mind you, this friend in question is probably the most normal dude i know - if anything this just intensified my whiplash because i would never expect this friend to send me ANYTHING regarding BL even though he knows i like this stuff. i gave the message a better look and immediately knew it was game over. like what the FUCK is a yaoi rave? what do you DO at one? what the hell is a rave even like i've never been to one?? how will i be able to live with myself seeing this and not knowing what took place that fateful night???
did i mention the plane ticket also significantly dropped in price the next day? i paid $150 for a $90 TICKET. I LOVE AIR TRAVEL.
so, first order of business - figure out where the hell i was going to stay. luckily, this one was pretty easy - my friend lives across the river in new jersey so travelling there and to new york city proper from there was pretty easy. i gave him advance notice (when i bought the ticket, it was a few weeks before the rave) and we were all set.
second order of business - figure out how the hell i was going to get to the airport. i can drive, and there's definitely parking, but i'm also in a state of perpetual brokeness. i wasn't going to spend money parking my car there for a few days, but public transit costs to the airport were much cheaper than any onsite parking costs there could dream of being. you can guess what i did.
third order of business - figure out how the fuck i was going to pack all my clothes into my bag. i couldn't afford to bring a carry on and the airline i was flying doesn't let you bring one for free, so i had to stuff like 6 days worth of clothes into my backpack. luckily, my backpack was JUST big enough to fit my clothes plus some toiletries and some electronics like my laptop, chargers, and a power bank. i still have no idea how that worked out but my back hurt like hell after carrying around that bag for the entire day. it was so relieving getting back to my friend's place and getting to dump it on his couch.
i've also failed to mention until now that the rave was 18+ and i DIDN'T HAVE VALID ID. my passport had expired earlier in the year, and my learner's driver license got lost sometime after i moved out to college dormitories..last YEAR. this meant that i had to either submit a passport application and wait god knows how long or take a week to speed through the drivers ed course i had been putting off for the better half of a year and finally get a driver's license.
i got my license in a week and it changed my life. i think yaoi fixed me. or made me worse. we'll go with both.
due to my genius idea of Taking Public Transportation In An Area With Shitty Public Transporation, i ended up waking up super early to catch a train and then some buses to the airport where i sat there and listened to music for 5 hours because i had nothing else to do until boarding. i landed in new york (or well, newark airport in new jersey) pretty late - around 10pm, and then i had to factor in figuring out MORE public transit because i sure as hell couldn't afford renting a car (not like i'd want to anyways considering the area i was going to be in). my friend had helped me figure out the ticketing bullshit for the nj/ny rail system prior to me boarding my flight, so all i really had to do once i landed was activate my ticket and head over to the airport train station to wait for the next train.
i thought i boarded was the wrong train for a bit since my friend and i had gotten confused about the platforms, but we eventually figured out it was the right one. this one was going to penn station, the place i was meeting with my friend at.
penn station seems to always be in some perpetual state of maintenance and construction, so my friend had a hell of a time finding me. eventually, he did, and we ended up having a late dinner at a place in koreatown since we were pretty close to there.
he also gave me a metrocard that he found in his room. he has a fuckton of them apparently. this one had 20 DOLLARS ON IT and was SOMEHOW UNEXPIRED. it ended up being eaten by a broken NY to NJ train turnstile a few days later. you will be missed. (how the hell have the interstate trains not adopted tap to pay yet?)
something sort of funny about where we ate for dinner - we ended up being seated next to some older dude who was on a date with someone, and it was bizzare - i don't remember that much, but why the hell was this dude trying to spell out a city name to his date instead of just telling her where it was? did he think that she couldn't understand it because of her accent or something? i don't know. the vibes were super off but it was kind of incredible to witness.
if you've been Online For A Bit, you may have heard of kai cenat, an infamous twitch streamer who i honestly don't know much about. you also may have heard of him because of a fucking console giveaway event he tried doing at union square in NYC which got shut down by the cops. an event which i stumbled upon BY CHANCE. i have no fucking idea how i always manage to get myself into Some Shit but this was just another one to add to the list.
i was wandering around the city to kill time before the rave when i walked up to a huge crowd. it seemed unusually big to me, so i texted my friend, who proceeded to say that it WAS usual for the area.
but like... people on TOP of the subway entrance?
looking from the crowds, i could see people throwing stuff INCLUDING things like traffic cones. that confused me even more. my friend did a bit of digging and found out that all the people were there because this kai cenat dude was supposed to be streaming a ps5 giveaway there or some shit. i'm starting to connect the dots and my friend is starting to become wary of me being there because The NYPD Really Don't Like People Throwing Traffic Cones And (Apparently) Fire Extinguishers. i ended up staying there for a couple of minutes anyway just to peoplewatch and see what the hell was up because...morbid curiosity it's literally always morbid curiosity.
i definitely couldn't stay there for long, though.
stuff started to escalate when the banging of fireworks (or something else..i think it was fireworks though) rang out and i saw what was either people moving back or police starting to cordon off the area the bang came from far up ahead. at this point i was starting to get worried, and my friend was frantically texting me to GET OUT after i told him what happened. i trust my friend more than i trust myself so i ended up walking off. not even a minute after i walked to an area a bit farther away from union square, i hear more sirens, look to my left at the intersection up ahead, and see a HORDE of people running off from the area i just came from. and then i look behind me and see MORE people running in my direction. at that point i started booking it (i had no idea if i was in an area that was going to be kettled or something even though i thought i was far enough), frantically opened google maps to find the closest subway station (there was one right there luckily), and got the FUCK out of there.
according to my friend (who was monitoring radio traffic or twitter posts or something), nypd declared it an unlawful assembly or some shit soon after i left. it would probably explain the people running. i also found out that there were buses brought in to process all the arrests that happened, so i probably got out of there just in the nick of time (which is still wild to me). i have no idea how i find myself in weird situations so much. i feel like i sort of attract chaos but also not really. what i DIDN'T attract was a ps5 at the giveaway. god damnit kai cenat i want my ps5!
after the Kai Cenat Giveaway Debacle i went back to wandering around. i took the train to brooklyn and got some cool pictures of some cozy areas there before doing some shopping and heading back to my friend's place to grab stuff before going to the rave.
now i was nervous as fuck. not just because it was my first rave and i had no idea what to expect, but i also didn't know if the venue would accept my temporary id or expired passport or reject them BOTH. it also didn't help that some new york city subway stations are HOT AS FUCK. like sweaty forehead type humid "this will be the worst 5-15 minutes of your life" type conditions. the one i was in for the longest was no exception to this - it was one that was part of a transfer I was making at the huge new world trade center station and i remember standing by the entrance turnstiles just so i could feel the breeze of the ac blowing through from the air conditioned parts to the non air conditioned station. i love the new york subway (and the heat isn't too big of a deal in the grand scheme of things - just a taste of home if anything) but like... damn.
eventually i had to face my fears - i arrived at the station i needed to get to and was walking down the street to the venue as quickly as i got on the train to get there in the first place. the venue was in some weird industrial-ish sort of area - there were a bunch of small warehouses and shops around. i arrived at the venue and was super confused at first. the place was very discreet with no sort of prominent signage or anything - i only knew it was the place because i heard muffled music from outside and saw a guy at the door. and now the actually worrying part comes - will he accept my id? i only had a paper printout of my temporary drivers license and my expired passport on me. if he didn't accept them... would this trip be for nothing? i was going to do other stuff anyways since i was there for a few days but this was The Main Big Thing... what if i wasn't let in? what if h
the dude took one glance at the birth date on my passport and let me in.
i have no idea why, but i thought the venue would be MUCH bigger. like a size similar to a concert venue on the smaller side instead of what was basically someone's garage and then some. it wasn't really a problem though - the music was fun and i was there for a bit before i noticed the crowd was significantly smaller.
i managed to not realize there was an entire outside in the back and a door leading up to it and everything sort of clicked once i found it. in my defense though they had smoke machines on and lights dimmed plus my vision sucks in dark areas so it was hard for me to notice. but when i finally found the area i was like "so THAT'S where people were going!"
i'm still not the best socially, and definitely not the best among an entirely new group of people in an entirely new state, but i did end up striking up convos with some people who seemed chill. one dude was wearing a "fujoshi legend" shirt that he got off amazon and i nearly lost my mind. it was probably one of the funniest things i've seen this year honestly.
aside from Getting To Know People, there's surprisingly little i can say about the rave. i always say that there was more yaoi in the audience and by yaoi i mean gay people because a yaoi rave without gay people is like an angel without wings. the one prominently yaoi thing i remember them playing when i was there was part of the intro to a set by someone there where they spliced in what i can only assume to be a long audio clip from some yaoi sex scene. it was pretty funny though honestly. like that was enough yaoi for me. i don't even really know how to describe the music either. i barely know anything about genres or how to categorize them. i guess the discord message announcing the rave does sort of describe the genre of what they were playing though, so you could refer to that if anything. it was fun though and fit
i kind of went to the rave expecting to mosh like i would at an intense concert but it was definitely Not that intense (albeit i would assume there are more intense raves i could check out someday). i also don't know much about rave culture or etiquette, so when i did a quick google search and read that people make/give out kandi braclets i sort of disregarded it. well i disregarded it until i saw someone with their arms DECKED OUT in really cute kandi. it was a sight to behold honestly. like my appreciation for silly stuff like that has gone up yet again.
i ended up leaving the rave a bit early before it ended as i was having a pretty big mood swing. and then that began my adventure of Trying To Find The Correct Subway Entrance To Go Into At 4 In The Morning.
i went into the subway platform i came out of thinking it was the right one to go back but it wasn't - i saw the other platform i needed to get to right across but had no idea how to get there. i kept wandering around the general area to find it and had absolutely no dice - this thing just did not seem to be anywhere close to me.
i ended up calling my friend (i was lucky that he was still up watching youtube lmfao) and asked him if he could help me. through a mix of me wandering around and sharing my location along with him searching on google maps, we managed to finally find the entrance to the right platform i needed to be on. it was literally so damn close to the wrong subway entrance i kept going to it was laughable.
i ended up missing the train like 3 times during that mess and had to wait longer than usual due to frequency being decreased in the early early mornings. i did eventually get home though, it just took a WHILE.
on the bright side i got lamb over rice at one of the 5 billion halal carts in the city at like 5 am and it was probably the best tasting thing i've ever had at 5am on a subway train back home. honestly those circumstances probably made it taste better just by merit of me being sleep deprived and hungry.
at least my step count was high though.
i can't think of much, honestly. i mostly did a lot of wandering around without a plan because my trip was so impulsive and i'm still unfamiliar-ish with the entire area.
i DID attempt to do some clothes shopping - my friend told me about this chain of thrift stores (L train vintage) where the entire gimmick is that it's close to spots on the route of the nyc subway's L train. i checked out a location a few hours before the rave and it had some stuff i kinda liked but nothing that i really would wear or could modify to look like something i would want to wear.
i was also eyeing a pair of black jeans because i had forgotten my favorite pair when packing for the trip but these were like 40 bucks. how???
my friend also knows some tasty food spots around the city and basically took me for a mini food tour like 2 days before i went back home. we went to some places around queens which were REALLY good. my friend took me to this food truck that serves this dish called fuchka, which is a fried dough sphere with a filling inside it. i think mine was potatoes (i forget) but wikipedia says potato, onion, or chickpea so it could've been any of those tbh. apparently this specific fuchka truck has beef with another fuchka truck that's like right next to it or something (it's not in the photo here). it's an ongoing thing still which is super funny to me.
i also had soup dumplings for the first time from this place that is apparently really highly regarded for them and they basically changed my life. like i will never be the same again. then again a lot of food does that to me. i just like eating...
i went to chinatown fair (an arcade in.. well you can guess) a bunch of times during my trip. the last time i went to nyc i checked the place out with a friend and had a ton of fun even though the place is kinda pricy and the rhythm game selection is on the smaller side. the main arcade rhythm game i play is chunithm, but there are literally no cabs in the NYC area aside from some offline round1 cabs if you go a bit farther out (at that point it's just not worth it). i needed to get my rhythm game fix somehow...so i started playing sound voltex.
i should preface this by saying that i used to not like sound voltex - mostly because 1) the knobs confused the hell out of me and 2) LIVE2D ANIME GIRL BOOB JIGGLE PHYSICS EVERYWHERE. like can they PLEASE tone it down. suboptimalism on neocities calls it "the 'serious' arcade rhythm game for a hip new generation of rhythm gamers who are pervs and social outcasts" and you start to see why when you look at the Interesting live2d physics and Interesting album art covers in the game. like i'm no puritan but you can definitely tell this game has An Audience to cater to. it was either play sound voltex or play jubeat though (i didn't really feel like playing anything else). i've played more jubeat then i have sound voltex, so i got my e-amusement card out, registered on the game's servers, and played a fuckton of sound voltex.
i finally figured out how to change my scroll speed and because of this incredible revelation (plus my prior experiences with vertical-scrolling rhythm games) i actually found the game itself to be quite fun. you sort of feel like a badass when twisting the knobs even if you eat shit in the process, and the other buttons you need to press aside from the main 4 (FX-L and FX-R) are surprisingly not that hard to read and placed in a way where it's pretty ergonomic to hit. the feeling i get when i play sdvx is similar to the one i get when i raise my hand to hit air notes in chunithm. it's just fun and sort of makes you feel like you're ascending to another dimension. but GOD the timing in sdvx is wacky. even after attempting to configure my offset i was still getting a lot of early and late hits. i might just need to use headphones (or get better), but that's something for me to figure out another day.
i also figured out how to change the navigator (the character that appears animated on your screen in the game), which meant i could go from from horny ass live2d models to silly anime guy with guitar. nature is healing...
i spent WAY TOO MUCH at chinatown fair for just sound voltex though. i also ended up breaking the FX-L button on the cab. i don't even know how. it just became really flaky all of a sudden. never again. for now.
i got to spend a good amount of time with my friend (and his roommate) in general. he's a super chill dude that i've known for a few years now, and it's always nice to do things with him. even if we don't exactly share some of the same interests, it's a nice scene change from the other people i'm close to in my life.
on one of my nights out during the trip i remember meeting up with him and his roommate at one of those cheap pizza slice shops - they were wasted and absolutely INSISTED that i try a slice. i wasn't that hungry and tried declining but my friend straight up just walked back and BOUGHT ME A SLICE. i was kind of flabbergasted but i honestly can't really complain. the pizza was good.
would i do all of this again? yes. do i need to travel more? yes. does my back hurt? yes. do i need to find a new job to become less broke so i can fund more trips in the future and arcade rhythm game spending? also yes.
i really want to start travelling more with the free time i have - it's always fun for me to explore new areas and just wander to see what i come across. as of writing this blog post this trip has definitely been my most impulsive one yet - i'm sure age and life stuff will catch up to me to prevent me from being this crazy in the future, but i'll enjoy what i can do now. moral of the story? travelling is fun but maybe plan it out a bit more unlike me LMFAO.