Monday 2 September 2013

More July Events - London Anime Con & Hyper Japan

London Anime Con was next for July’s event marathon, and the Saturday I got to dance with my friends as the first act upstairs on the main stage! Charlotte wasn’t with us this time as she was still in Japan (lucky!) so we adapted a few dances and did new ones with our remaining trio. It was heaps of fun, and I love dancing to Japanese music - something about the songs just fill you with energy! It was still amazingly hot and sunny, so I was panting quite hard by the end of it (maid outfits are not the most weather friendly) but I went outside later and had a great time chilling by the pond.

Seeing as it was an Anime Con, and not missing the chance to cosplay, I changed into my Orihime Inoue outfit, which was a bit cooler in the sweltering heat.

The voice actor for Grimmjow from Bleach (English dub) signed my pass and said I made a great Orihime, which made me smile.

The Sunday I was on the Q&A panel for Cosplay! When I was getting changed, Kitty Brucknell (the lady off the X Factor a few years ago) was also getting ready with a camera crew. She was a lovely lady and I listened to her performance later on - she has one hell of a voice!

I watched Abi and Kelsey do their show (helping protect their camera) and then got to sit with the other cosplayers (making friends with Nomes and the sweet Serena who came all the way from Germany!) and answer questions about our experiences, material choices etc. Afterwards there was a lot of photos and mini interviews, and even the recording of a little music video, which gave many a laugh.

I was dressed as Holo from Spice And Wolf.

Hyper Japan now - almost there!
I was in the fashion shows both days (a last minute addition as I found out the week before) and getting ready with the other girls and boy who were showcasing their styles was a hoot! I made a lot of friends and getting dressed we admired each others outfits. I particularly liked the schoolgirl style of Phantasien and it was great to see Shironuri in the flesh!

I wore Moi Meme Moitie both days.

I tried to do a cool thing with hair elastic where you put it around your elbows to look like a Ball Jointed Doll.

Parading was a blast, and I kept on trying to think of inventive things to do with my parasol, and funny “Gangster Kawaii” poses (it will catch on one day!) and loved strolling around the stage representing Gothic Lolita.

Afterwards, we stayed and watched Yun*Chi perform. We got filmed doing Otagei and bopping around in the wings and even ended up in her new music video!

The day was spent derping around, playing Animal Crossing and getting Streetpass hits, whilst getting the FREE BENTO and looking at all the stalls.
When I left for good the next day I realised I was so busy I didn’t even get to see them all.

The bonnet eclipses all!

After Kawaii Star, (two years ago can you believe it?!?) Hyper Japan will always have a special place in my heart, and it was nice to see it in a bigger venue at Earls Court. What was disappointing for me though was that there wasn’t as much variety this year - it was mainly handmade accessories, which were fantastic (I bought a blinged up bat clip) but the sheer multitude eclipsed other booths. 
There was a lot less pop culture stores as well.

The amazing Shiro-A performance comprising of projections, comedy, precise timing and very clever effects was one of my highlights, as well as listening to the first Western Geisha talk about her experiences. You could even see the Maiko taking their lessons and practising throughout the day!

The second day featured the fashion show again, and this time we were allowed onstage to dance while Yun*Chi sang! Then I quickly got changed (and had a strawberry kakigori from the Nice Ice stand, whose owners I am on first name terms with, and then got my amazing vegetarian FREE BENTO - did I mention I loved them?) ready for the Cosplay contest.

I was really nervous as I had never entered a competition in an event as large as HJ, but all of the contestants and organizers were lovely and really kind and supportive! I prayed my veil would sit right on my Seth Nightroad costume (Trinity Blood) and thankfully the judges seemed to like it as I won the Judges Choice Award! It was fabulous going back onstage and receiving a prize along with the really talented cosplayers!

I got a goodie bag from “Wizard Wand Cosplay Tours” which contained a voucher for a free tour (I just have to go to Japan to use it XD) a beautifully jeweled mirror and.... a breast binder! XD XD XD I think the Japanese are trying to tell me something!

I had visited their booth earlier that day and they were extraordinarily sweet, giving me a Hitman Reborn mirror because I was “so beautiful”. *_* My mirror count rising I had fun with my new friend Laura and got some pretty hair pins, manga and a novelty necklace.

Once again, fantastic memories made from a fantastic Hyper Japan event!

Austen & The Abbey Part 2

The second day of Austen And The Abbey dawned just as hot, however I got to ride to the venue, the beautiful Stoneleigh Abbey, in a taxi cab with the designers and Coco! It was a bit of an experience as my Japanese is barely conversational, and when they mentioned how “Kirin” was refreshing and delicious (meaning the beer), I thought they meant “kirin” as in the word for giraffe. >_<

Anyhow, after the hilarity I met up with my fellow Loli Crew and had a light refreshment in the Orangery before heading to the guided tour of the building.

You forget that such wondrous places still exist until you visit them! The paintings, the architecture, the decorations (as the coat of arms contained it, there were lots and lots of unicorns) and the lighting was all spectacular and a perfect setting for a Lolita event.

We held actual books that Jane Austen herself would have read when she briefly lived at the grand manor house, and got to see some very gorgeous and pristine rooms.

Lunch was a free buffet with all sorts of wondrous food! I particularly liked the fact that we could sit in the shade of a wonderfully old tree next to the river and eat al fresco, taking in the vista.

Some of the shops from yesterday were re-set in the basement. I bought an Atelier Pierrot headdress but it unfortunately went missing T_T.

Yuko managed to find something that fit my mutant breasts (hooray!) and I was clad in an amazing Atelier Pierrot outfit once more. Fairy Wish decided to casually not tell me I was replaced by a more delicately feminine girl XD
After explaining what to do with me, I got to teach the other AP models what poses to do, which was a lot of fun with us all practicing in the hallway and then in the adjacent room to where the show was. It was very enjoyable sashaying around the room to Coco’s wonderful piano playing!

A photo was even put up on the Atelier Pierrot website!

Finally, I helped pack up all the boxes etc before heading back to the guest house, thoroughly tired and hot. Before the taxi arrived I was chatting to my friends and as I was wearing my Moi Meme Moitie dress, Alice said she used to design for MMM before starting Fairy Wish, and Coco had a text from Mana himself on her phone! I think we all fainted with sheer awesomeness when we saw it.

I received some sad news that evening, but it didn’t dampen the fact that I had a magical weekend in Leamington Spa. Before I left, I went to the park opposite the Pump Rooms to feed the pigeons. ;)

Sunday 11 August 2013

Austen And The Abbey - Friday And Saturday

My first Lolita meet in a while, and I choose to go all the way to Leamington Spa. (^_^)

Living in the South East of England, this meant that I had to travel on the train up North.
Fortunately, modern transportation being as it is, I only had to spend three hours on trains.
More fortunately, I knew the organisers and got to grab a room with the lovely Sharon, (organiser's mother) in the same guest house as the brand guests. Teehee.

Leamington Spa is a beautiful place!

I managed to arrive, eventually, with a little help from Google Maps App and shielded myself from the worst of the scorching hot sun with my parasol. Man, I love parasols.

The owners of the hotel were lovely, and I had a nice nap in the pretty, old fashioned room before my roomie arrived.

Then, we headed towards the conference room in a nearby Premier Inn to meet a few other early arriving Lolitas. After munching on most of the Doritos and taking all the free sachets of tea, my group then headed off for dinner.... with the brand designers and Coco from Japanese band, Die Milch!!!

There was a pump with Leamington Spa Water! It tasted bad....

Cafe Rouge as our next stop, with my little Japanese, I made small talk and got to know the designers. All were very appreciative that I made an attempt to speak their language.

Ashizawa Yuko, the straight talking designer of Atelier Pierrot had a bad cold, and was fairly quiet during the meal, but felt better over the weekend, and showcased her amazing creations in fashion shows on both Saturday and Sunday.

Alice Kobayashi, the petite Fairy Wish designer brought her husband along, and also got to show off her creations in fashion shows. The best thing was I got to wear both of their clothing!

And then we have Coco - one half of Die Milch (Jasmine, who plays violin was still in Japan).
 I don't say this about people often, but I must say, that over the course of the weekend, I discovered Coco to be one of the most genuine, nicest people I could ever have the pleasure to meet. She had an amazing sense of humour, and spoke English exceptionally well. Not only that, but she was the designated piano player all weekend, and looked amazing in Lolita fashion. I found out later she had called me "The Mood Manufacturer" on her Blog.
She has a fan for life in me.

After a bit of drama with the bill, I settled into bed ready for the next day of Loli goodness.

Saturday saw the event held in The Royal Pump Rooms. Luckily I only had a short walk to the guest house in my finery and therefore less chance to be heckled by youths. Unluckily, it was so amazingly hot that I (gasp) had to go without bloomers and a blouse otherwise I risked fainting like some of the other Lolitas.

We Were Featured In The Local Leamington Spa Paper

My outfit was from one of my favourite brands, Alice And The Pirates (which I learnt was shortened to 'Ali-Pi' by the Japanese). I had recently bought the dress second hand off a friend, and I loved the Rose Opretta Bouquet print as it was a lovely olive green (green being my favourite colour) that is neglected as a colour in Classic Lolita styles. My friend Ruth was my Ali-Pi twin, and we had a great laugh checking out the stands of goods.

It was a lovely venue! The building was beautiful, with a lot of delicate plasterwork and original stone pillars. The stalls were arranged all around the rooms, and even ordinary, confused members of the public headed in for a look. There were a few idiotic teenagers who decided to harass the Lolis, but the amount of frills must have put them off eventually.

Atelier Pierrot's Section

We scared the general public getting ice lollies and heading to Subways for lunch. A few cars looked in danger of crashing because the drivers attentions were distracted. As usual, the older generations seemed to enjoy the style more, an elderly lady saying we all looked wonderful!

Leamington Spa's Mayor Opened The Fashion Show

Everyone looked fantastic! Brand, off brand, homemade, mix and match - everyone brought something different. What made this event different is that it also had representatives from the Mori Girl (or Forest Girl) fashion community showcasing their looks. As my usual fashion style is similar to Mori Girl anyway, I enjoyed looking at all the different clothing combinations and was amazed at how with all the woollen layers they didn't boil.

Before the community fashion show, we were treated to a performance from Coco. She played a set of songs, song with backing track, some with her playing the piano. She has an amazing voice, and I rushed to by her album. I'm particularly fond of the song "Rosaria". The sound was like a mixture of classical tunes with a gothic feel, a bit like Kanon Wakeshima meets musical duo.
She also joked that although we were finding the heat unbearable here, it was hotter in Tokyo (she didn't care because she was "a doll") but if we went to Japan, we'd most likely die.

She looked elegant in Atelier Pierrot and was an engaging entertainer considering she was without her partner and in a foreign country.

The community fashion show featured an arrangement of amazing styles.

Unfortunately, due to unforseen circumstances , one of the guests whom I was looking forward to seeing didn't come, and there were a few issues during the day. The one that affected me the most was that the fashion shows were delayed, and then instead of spacing them out slightly, they were one after the other. Which meant a rather quick change for me, as all the other girls who were representing two brands were in the cancelled Victorian Maiden show, and I was the only one who had to rush with two.

I didn't get a proper fitting for Atelier Pierrot, so the gorgeous waistcoat bustle jumperskirt popped a button thanks to my bust.
Also, the first thing Alice Kobayashi said to me was, "You have large breasts"....
I rest my case.

Despite knowing my measurements, they didn't really have anything for my E Cups, so I used convenient hair placement to hide the straining cutsew. The outfit itself was gorgeous! Pink tights patterned with stripes and cockatiels, black velveteen shorts, white frilly cutsew and my favourite - a straw effect hat with a black bow.

Ignore the derpface - I believe this was during rehearsals.
Above and below photos credit to Saorise Clohessy.

After rushed rehearsals with both, I was on and thoroughly enjoyed myself despite the massively quick changes. The girls, although a little disgruntled with my rushing, were ever so helpful - Mini Mo even gave me her thicker tights when three of mine laddered.

The Fairy Wish girls, Sapphira, Lycci, Chi and Lisa (whom I knew already) all looked fantastic and were lovely.

A group of us with Coco (centre) and me directly behind. I made some great friends.

The worst news of the day was hearing that a box of hand made accessories got stolen from a stall by a member of the public. (If anyone was around the area and noticed a guy carrying loliable items, I don't think he has been apprehended yet, so do report it).

Dinner was a little strange with no water being avaliable, but it was great to sit down with the other guests, make friends and connect over food. With my new found friends we headed onto learn how to Cotillion Dance. Which was HILARIOUS!!!

I think Coco took this one. I'm fiddling with my hair (ditched the wig) and we are attempting to do a dance which featured several lines of pairs.

Jokingly, the Japanese guests said that despite my beautiful appearance (T_T thank you kind ladies) I was lively and a bit of an 'old man' in actions and not such the nadeshiko type ('Oyajii' became my joke nickname all weekend) which was strangely appropriate as I found myself (not on purpose) dancing the male part in all four which I joined in.

The dances were fun, and taught but a no nonsense old lady. It was a sight seeing everyone in regency, Lolita and Mori whist trying to do a trickey turning movement. The karaoke didn't work, but I loved bopping around in the disco, creating our own random dance moves, before heading off with Sarah and Keren for a small glass of Merlot in the local Wetherspoons.

Helping pack the brand clothes up to move to tomorrows location, it hit me when I realised I was wheeling a suitcase of 'burando' worth more than I make in a year. Oooer, responsibility not to run away with it and escape abroad. XD

I fell asleep looking foward to the next day, despite the hiccups I had massively enjoyed myself.