One of the world's largest fan-oriented conventions in the world, Comic Market continues to grow at a steady rate within the country known for an eccentric taste in doujinshi side-stories that slid well off the beaten path unintended by the original artists and creators of many commercial anime and manga.  The Comic Market catalog has grown to include all the information on a CD-rom, maps have been continuously redesigned to make the casual doujinshi shopper seek their best interests, and the Line Control staff continuously set the bar for the most efficient use of space to get everyone smoothly in and out and moving inside the convention center at a reasonably responsive rate to avoid crowd delays.  Comic Market has about over 4,000 volunteer staffers (yes, you read that right: FOUR THOUSAND) including 100 medical technicians on standby, and one psychiatric doctor to deal with the mounting toll of an average of 100 crowd or heat-related incidents every year.  The convention almost needs no advertising, but Japan being Japan, they always go big and you can see the banners at almost every train stop in Tokyo and fans eagerly prepare well in advance to bring their empty parcel bags to get as much doujinshi as they can throughout the weekend.  As for the cosplay square, it packs up almost shoulder to shoulder by high noon and it almost seems like the ratio of photographers to cosplayers is 1 to 1 so there is always plenty of pictures to take.  Occasionally, fans like to show off their eccentricity by displaying their exotic modified vehicles just outside the nearby train station for the crowds to gawk at and that sure adds to the whole experience of just how much fun Comic Market can be.  Convention hours from Friday through Sunday are 10am to 4pm.  The cosplay square usually opens at around 10:30am (to let in the crowds first) and closes at 3pm (again, crowd control).  For the average attendee, there is no registration fee, you just stand in line (more like cattle herds), and once you are inside, you can shop to your heart's content!  You may not take pictures at any time inside the halls unless you are registered press (this is mandated in order to deal with crowd control).  Pictures of cosplayers are forbidden outside of the Cosplay Square, but you can freely enter it and go crazy!  Cosplayers themselves must register at the Cosplay Hall inside the center, pay a fee of about 800 yen and then proceed to a special changing area.  Comic Market is not responsible for any lost articles of cosplay accessories or your personal belongings, so you are pretty much on your own, except that staff do make sure you are paying attention to the rules as well as the photographers who take your pictures.  Now after all of that doujinshi shopping and cosplay photo-taking, attendees have got to eat!  There are plenty of restaurants and convenience shops and vending machines available outside and inside the convention center to appease those hungry appetites.  So to those adventurous Japan-philes who want to experience the most thrilling part of popular culture, Comic Market is your sure bet and good luck to future adventure-seekers!

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