A few weeks ago I would have LOVED to read someone's report of buying a limited in person at a Dolpa so I'd have some general idea of how Volks had done it in the past, but I couldn't find any such thing anywhere online in English. I hope someone will find this helpful! Anyone buying a limited needed to have purchased the guidebook in advance from a Volks store. The guidebook doubled as the admission ticket and was not sold at Dolpa until 9:30, which was too late to get into the limited line. I arrived at the main Big Sight entrance at 6:30 AM. It was earlier than necessary. There was no line, just some people milling about, and not that many of them. At least it seemed so to me at first, probably because the only other Big Sight convention I'd ever been to was last summer's Comiket which had 120,000 people each day. In comparison this was so sparse that it made me wonder if I was in the right place but many of the earlybirds had telltale doll carrying cases slung over their shoulders. The scheduled time for the lines to begin was 7:30 so I thought I had plenty of time. At about 7:10, suddenly people started moving in a certain direction and EVERYONE followed them. There was no announcement that I heard, it was just like a group of lemmings going on crowd instinct. I joined the lemmings despite having NO idea what was going on, only that whatever it was I surely didn't want to be at the end. The crowd funneled down a staircase to the bus stop area, emerging at the bottom in a line. It was just one big line and a lot longer than one might have expected from the sparse crowd above. No one had been redirected or separated into anything like the 3 lines I'd expected from the Volks instructions. I nervously asked the girls in front of me what line it was and they said they thought it was just a general "everything" line. The girls behind me thought the same thing, although they'd also never been to a Dolpa before and didn't know what to expect. However, those girls were there to try to get Arashi (as a first doll for one of them), so they were on alert for any announcements about a limited line. Around 7:30 Dolpa staff started moving small groups of people (maybe 10 to 20?) into a new limited line. It went very slowly, seemed to be getting no closer to my spot, and the new limited line grew larger and larger while the girls behind me cried "Minna gentei?!!!" (Everyone's limited?!) in despair. Then that limited line went somewhere and we were REALLY upset. Finally around 8:00~8:10, the staff moved my area and everyone behind into a new limited line, sorting out the few Tenshi no Sumika people. We waited for a few minutes, then were herded to the entrance of the West 1 hall. As we entered the hall, we drew a folded lottery ticket out of a large box and had our guidebooks stamped. My lottery ticket was number 2192, which horrified me at first until I realized it was out of 3900. The hall had lines of tape running down the middle, with numbers indicating where we should stand. We had to remain in the hall but once we'd found our places it wasn't necessary to stay standing in that spot; we could go to the bathroom or smoking area, or get a drink from one of the vending machines. Many people brought tiny folding chairs, while others simply sat on the floor. I saw the Arashi girls a couple of rows away from me, no more than 200 numbers after mine. There were fewer people than the 3900 possible. At a guess, it was about 1/3 to 1/4 empty. But because it was lottery, those empty spots were more or less evenly distributed throughout the entire range of numbers. At about 8:40 Volks staff instructed us to step forward in the rows so that there were no gaps. Then we waited... and waited... and waited... I'm not sure if they started distributing doll order tickets at the designated 9:00 time or not, as I couldn't see. It wasn't until 10:30 that the staff moved my row to a new line where I could see people getting order/preorder slips up ahead. Finally at 10:45 I got to the order table, was told that Heath was only available by preorder now, and received my form. Then I moved down to the end of the payment line and filled out the preorder form while waiting. The payment line went in stages too. We waited downstairs for a while. Then the staff sent us upstairs to stand in several rows outside the dealer halls. One row at a time was called, and then sent to go stand on the limited payment line next to the Tenshi no Sumika booth. That part of the line had a remarkable resemblance to the immigration line at Narita airport and moved just about that quickly. As we finally reached the line closest to the Sumika booth, we could see (for the first time!) a display of the dolls we'd been waiting for all morning. Then we got shooed around the corner to a row of cash registers, paid quickly, received our receipts, and were out. That part was a bit anticlimactic. Then I walked back around the corner and took another look at the payment line... it was growing empty. The last I'd seen, there had been maybe 150 people behind me. No one had been added. Even the preorders had stopped. A few minutes later I saw the Arashi girls walking around sadly. They hadn't been able to order him. :cry: I hope they can get him at the after event! By this time it was nearly 1:00. Many of the dealers had long since sold out of their best items. The Tenshi no Sumika shop had almost nothing left. Without a doll to play with/show off or money to burn, there wasn't much to do except wander around and look at displays. I heard from a dealer friend that this Dolpa had a smaller attendance than previous ones. I guess it's hard for her trying to sell to fewer people but I'm just glad I got my Heath preorder. ops: BTW, I'm not exactly sure how I will receive Heath. ops: From what the staff said, and what was written on the preorder form and my receipt, it LOOKS like the extra 1,000 yen fee tacked on to preorders is a postage fee. But 1,000 yen is so low that it's hard to believe it could really be what they're charging to ship an SD13 with long legs. And yet it's too expensive for a simple letter telling me to go to one of the local Tenshi no Sumikas. I thought it was really strange but I didn't want to hold up the lines by asking many questions in bad Japanese. I guess eventually either he'll show up at my apartment or I'll get a pickup notice.