Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Otaku Expo 2015 Special Six

Comic Market or "Comiket" for short, is a very accomplished anime and otaku convention held in Japan, bi-annually in winter and summer. However this time around a special event called "Otaku Summit Special 6" was created to break the bridges between cultures and introduce international Otakus and conventions to Japan. 

This was one of the best experienced in Japan for me for many reasons, but I'll explain the two main ones:

1. Cosplayers from all over the world attended, from different cultures and speaking different languages. I met people who only spoke Spanish, others who only spoke German and of course Japanese,  yet somehow everyone's love of Japanese and otaku culture gave us common ground to express ourselves.
2. It was my first time professionally cosplaying and I got to cosplay alongside some of the best cosplayers in the world, it was not only a huge challenge, but extremely fun and a massive learning experience. 

The event was across Saturday and Sunday, however I also got to attend the reception on the Friday as a guest and got to meet the creators and producers of the event, alongside the other guests and various companies. I was there representing Hyper Japan, the UK based Japanese and Otaku culture event. This is an event that is very dear to heart as I worked closely with it when I lived in England and I made many precious friends and memories there. The Hyper Japan workers were all lovely and helpful too!

Cosplayers were selected from various countries to represent their specific Anime convention as guests. From left to right; America, Japan, Spain, Brazil, Italy, America, UK (me) and Hong Kong. 
Aren't they all amazing?!
The best part was everyone's outfits, styles and looks were completely different so we made a perfectly versatile and well-balanced team.The American girl Eileen cosplayed as a character from Jojo's bizarre adventures, the Brazilian cosplayed as Raiden from the Metal Gear Solid series, the cosplayer from Hong Kong (Dante K) cosplayed as a character from a Japanese Otome MMO and the other American guy cosplayed as a back-up dancer from a Para Para game!
I think this showed how richly Japanese pop culture has integrated itself in to other cultures and how varied it is.

Day 1 - The Reception

This was a party from the early evening, with plenty of free delicious food and drink plus many different members of the press and company representatives to launch the event, as well as government Diet members.

The cosplayers were called to the stage to talk about their countries and the aspects of Otaku culture that are popular there. My outfit for the reception was Blue Rose from Tiger and bunny, I posted earlier from when I wore this outfit first.

We introduced ourselves, our respective conventions and took a lot of photographs, and then in true Japanese style, everyone had a massive nomikai. I think the point of the reception was to get the purpose of the Otaku summit across: breaking the barriers between cultures.

Day 2 - Saturday at Otaku Expo

The event kicked off with the opening ceremony; the director of the event and also the government Diet members cut the red tape to signify the opening, whilst speeches were given about the purpose of the event, highlighting the focus on internationalism.

We did a lot of interviews and photoshoots that day, also I helped Hyper Japan on the stall to promote the event and explain a little bit about the event's purpose and what they do. I was surprised to meet so many people who had been to Hyper Japan before!

I debuted my Sailor Moon cosplay for the first time so I was a little nervous~
I actually got blonde extensions just for this cosplay; the "dango" buns were made from my real hair but the little twin tails were the extensions. I don't like the way a lot of the Sailor Moon wigs looked, so I wanted to try using my own hair, it actually felt like a success and this cosplay was very popular!

I am really pleased with this cosplay, but I want to do it again with some tweaking to the hair; such as adding the hair accessories. As Sailor Moon: Crystal has just aired, the outfit itself was more popular and I got to find some other Sailor Moon cosplayers!

Isn't Chibi Moon adorable? She was really tiny!~

These are my top cosplayer picks from the day;

A male Junko Enoshima cosplayer, complete with Monokuma.

Bu bu bu~

A super-sexy Levi cosplayer who was a GIRL. I pretty much tackled her for this photo.

I am playing the FFX HD remake right now so I was extremely pleased to meet this awesome Yuna and Wakka cosplay pair.

The Cure Cosplay show can be viewed in the video here; 

All credits go to the maker of the video!

Day 3 - Sunday and Closing ceremony.

I wore Blue Rose again and spent the day mostly working on the Hyper Japan stall. Me and Sano-san ( the Japanese Hyper Japan representative)  gave a speech about Hyper Japan, for example the location, target audience and purpose, but mostly we chatted with companies who were interested in coming to the event or setting up a booth there. Leo helped me a lot, especially with more difficult Japanese.

What really made it fun for me was these guys;

All the cosplayers, both international and Japanese were amazing. We all helped each other as it was confusing sometimes attending the cosplay shows as there were three stages in the event. Or if one part of our costume needed fixing, someone would fix it for you.
For example my Blue Rose cosplay was a little ~revealing~ and the Japanese official Comiket cosplayer actually tucked my panties in when they became exposed >-< I was really thankful!

My cosplay picks were;


These girls were cosplaying characters from the unreleased "Show By Rock" anime that will be airing soon as is produced by Sanrio~

I will update more photos as I get them; mostly these were taken from my phone, but I have seen my picture on BBC, Japan Today and Japan Times so I will do my best to track down some more professional ones >-<

As I said before; this was a very eye-opening and life-changing experience for me, as I saw first hand how incredible the cosplay community is both in Japan and overseas, as well as the power of Otaku!

There was a Closing ceremony with a live and final speech, I forget which speaker said it but his words really stuck in my mind:

"I fully believe that Otaku culture can break barriers between countries and bring peace"

Thank you for reading!~

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Mahou-kei magical days!

Recently I have been experimenting a little bit more with fashion after the Roxie Sweetheart shoot. I have been watching Sailor Moon, Mahou Shojo Madoka Majika and other magical girl anime's these days so I wanted to kind of mix them together.

On this day my wonderful boyfriend and I had an interview in Asakusa for Nihon Terebi's Saturday ZOOM. The interview was pretty usual; just about the kind of things I do in Japan, my fashion circle and love of taking Purikura photos. The interviewer kept saying what a cute couple we were and how Rabu Rabu we looked, so I was pretty happy~ I will post a video when it's broadcasted, it should be airing the morning of April 4th. Please watch it!~

Here is a close-up of my hair and make-up. The gems are really just 100 yen cheapies from a nearby 100 yen store in Takadanobaba, the My Melody clips are from the Sanrio store in Harajuku and the dress is Princess Melody from Ma*rs.

Leo surprised me and took me to a Sakura event in Nihonbashi, it was such a wonderful date, we decided to take Purikura afterwards. I am so lucky to be with someone that supports my crazy fashion and otaku-ness.

Mahou-Kei look 2

On this day I met my Japanese friend Miku for some casual shopping in Harajuku. I used my head gems and threw together some quick Sailor Moon hair. My silver was kind of fading though >w< I wore the Mermaid jumper that Michelle gave me as thanks for modeling for the Roxie Sweetheart shoot, up close it's so detailed and amazing~ <3

I finally made it to 6% Doki Doki and took a photo with the beautiful shop girl~

This store really inspired me, it was really mismatching and kaleidoscopic but somehow everything fit together in some kind of harmonious kawaii explosion.

Miku is always so kind and happy to meet with me~

Mahou-Kei look #3

I went to Nakano again to buy some cheap Sailor Moon gatcha with my gorgeous Canadian friend Vanessa. I wore my oversized Galaxxxy jumper with Chameleons on it, and really went to town on stickers and accessories. I also got to wear the ring I bought in 6% Doki Doki, it's so magical!~

We ended taking quite a bit of Purikura too. ;3

 Vanessa is really good to talk to and she really likes Sailor Moon, I feel lucky to have such fun friends to do things with.

Tokyo Ghoul Exhibition in Nakano!

Nakano broadway is fast becoming one of my favorite places and it's kind of a hidden gem. Otaku culture is closely attributed to Akihabara and while that may be true, Nakano is an Otaku Mecca in its own right. It focuses more on smaller, more unique and specific stores, indie designers and companies. There is a room where they showcase art from anime and manga, for the next couple of weeks they are exhibiting one of my favourite anime's - Tokyo Ghoul!

If anyone interested in anime I really recommend watching Tokyo Ghoul, it has a great mix of story, suspense and gore and really plays on your emotions and what it means to be human. Please watch it~

This exhibition focused on character concept art from the anime, but also had the cafe outfit from Anteiku and the various gatcha that you can buy at the moment~ Enjoy the photo spam!

Roxie Sweetheart shoot in Tokyo

My beautiful and talented friend Michelle came over from London to Tokyo for a holiday, but while she was here we decided to put together a photo shoot for her brand, Roxie Sweetheart.
Her brand is a wonderful mix of creepy cute and bubblegum pop Harajuku-themed clothing and accessories.
I called on Mai Asaki and Shiena to model for her with me and they ended up really suiting the style and putting their own spin on it. Mai is always seen in Kera and Tokyo Fashion with her unique punky style, while Shiena is famous in the gaijin gyaru community.

We each had our own theme; mine was creepy cute with lots of bat and castles; Shiena was mermaid with seahorse accessories and finally Mai's look was kind of pastel and sunset-looking. I think all the styles complimented each other perfectly! We got to wear Roxie Sweetheart brand jumpers, printed tights and accessories,

This is a close-up of the jumper, necklace and ring I modeled. Everything really was glittering, pastelly cute, yet still spooky looking. The jumper was super soft too <3.

The location of the shoot was in Shinjuku, because it was fairly close to Michelle's hotel and we were all familiar with some colorful shooting spots. I really like the neon signs in Shinjuku, they are tacky but awesome. We got a lot of attention from the public, which was pretty good as we could give out lots of fliers and promote the brand a little.

In Shinjuku there is also the giant LOVE sign - a popular spot for tourists and couples. The sign itself is actually red but...Michelle photoshopped it pink ;D
One security guard kept following us around this area and telling me not to climb on things, because there are a lot of important corporate buildings in the area. I didnt listen though.

Our makeup we all added gems to our faces for a kind of otherworldly Sailormoon feel, recently I am really in to stickers, gems and sparkles.

The shoot went really well, we ended up being a little late so we couldn't catch so much sunlight, but the Purikura pictures made up for it! Michelle and the other models were wonderful fun and we got to have dinner at Sweets Paradise at the end, I hope Michelle comes back to Tokyo and plays again soon!

Roxie Sweetheart store; http://www.roxiesweetheart.co.uk/
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Pokemon Cafe in Shibuya report!

The Pokemon Cafe was probably the hardest cafe in Tokyo to get in to, with a waiting time of over three hours, it was a kind of bittersweet experience; BUT I HAVE NO REGRETS >:D

This cafe opened temporarily to promote the release of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire games on Nintendo 3DS and since then has been so popular it's impossible to enter without a ticket reservation.
There is a machine that issues a ticket; ours was 135 and they were on customer number 60, so we took a walk for about two hours and came back.

You have to order before you take your seat, and then they let you take a Pikachu themed photograph in the photo area. The staff rush you a lot so we only got to take one and it was terrible ;D

The attention to detail was pretty sweet though, although it was a little ironic that people line up for four hours but there are two seats taken up by this little Pikachu plushie, taking his sweet time to order >-<

The cafe was a lot smaller on the inside than I expected, but they decorated the walls well, added plenty of plushies, there were screens airing the new Pokemon series and they played lots of nostalgic Pokemon music. 

The menu wasn't huge, but every dish seemed well crafted and bursting with cuteness; for my main dish I chose the Pikachu spaghetti and hamburger. It looks like Omelette rice; but actually his little face is made from mashed potato and hamburger and coated in egg, kind of little a little shephards pie with demi glace sauce. It was surprisingly delicious and hearty. The pasta was a little plain but I loved the little Pokeball they crafted from a tomato, quail egg and some nori seaweed. Such a delicate touch! Also that little "sweet" was actually cheese!

With my main meal I ordered a Pikachu latte. The top of the latte seemed to be some thick yellow custard that you could eat with a spoon, with chocolate face details, jam cheeks and potato chips dipped in chocolate for ears! With each drink order you get to keep a little coaster.

My friend ordered a cappuccino and it came with a little legendary Pokemon biscuit!

There was also an amazing crepe themed dessert, which they present in a Pokeball filled with dry ice, I uploaded a video to instagram, please take a look~
I ended up wearing Gothic Lolita to the cafe; but I actually wore a more Pokemon themed outfit the day before when I thought I would go to the cafe, but actually the wait time made it impossible.

In conclusion; the Pokemon cafe is perfect for big fans of the series and (like some of my friends who joined me that day) just people who like cute stuff and themed cafes. At a wait time of three hours plus, I would only recommend going there if you have other business in Shibuya. I had lots of fun though~ It's a shame it will close soon!