Kitacon Karnival Experience: Part Two

DSCF0190

(Kitacon Karnival Experience: Part One)

  1. BAD START TO THE DAY

The morning was not the perfect start to the day, for many reasons. I woke up late for breakfast as my alarm didn’t go off. I also accidentally yanked off my golden wristband. I was trying to adjust it as it was giving my wrist a bit of a rash. When it came off I was like “is it really that important?” and threw it in the bin. It turns out, as I found out later, it was VERY important. I wasn’t allowed in the dealer’s room so I had to go back upstairs and retrieve it from the bin…

Then, when I went to the game’s room the crew spotted that my wristband was *cough* damaged. Zen guided me to Ops where the crew gave me a replacement. After all this I decided to go back to my room to unwind where I learned there and then that I accidentally locked myself out of the room. I left my keys inside. It just so happens that my brother had a second key.

I did feel embarrassed at my own clumsiness so I decided to spend a while in my room to chill out for a bit.

  1. DAY TWO at the KITACON and STREET FIGHTER TOURNAMENT

I spent the rest of the day mostly talking to cosplayers and taking photos. I found them all pleasant to talk to but my confidence was a little bit shaky.

Socialising is still a big learning curve for me but I feel like I’m able to read situations better than ever and gauge people’s reactions slightly better than I did the year before. I think on this day in particular I probably did put myself under unnecessary pressure to socialise and I think my approach to some conversations did come across as unnatural and nervy. Luckily all the cosplayers are very nice and understanding of each other, even though we don’t necessarily know each other all that well. That’s the kind of vibe that I get from everyone. It’s that kind of atmosphere.

At one point during the day I did feel like I’d had enough and felt I would rather be at home. But, I still tried to make the most of it whilst I was there and told myself that I was going to be more active in the evening and see what happens.

Later on I took part in the Street Fighter V Tournament despite the fact that I’ve never played the game before. I was never in it to win I just wanted to play the game as I thought it would be a lot of fun.

  1. THE MASQUERADE and the PARTY

The Masquerade was a daunting experience and it was the first ever masquerade I had ever been to. I was extremely thankful that I got a VIP badge as I was allowed front row access right on the side so I could disappear anytime if it got too overwhelming. I found that reassuring. The atmosphere was not as loud and energetic as I thought it was going to be, instead it was just cheers and clapping and I don’t mind that so much as we’re supporting the cosplayers on stage.

I did my utmost best to get as many pictures as I could but everything was happening rather quickly and unfortunately I didn’t manage to take as many photos as I would have liked. I was disappointed but I did the best I could. It went on for quite a while and I did enjoy it but I think it ended at the right time, at least for me personally, as I can’t really be in a room in a large crowd for too long.

I went to my room to have a long rest after the event was done.

A couple of hours later I found my brother and good chum Chris and we danced in the party. I liked the party on the second day more than I did on the first day and I felt that it was because I was hanging around with a group whom I was familiar with whilst interacting with new people at the same time.

I spoke to a very nice lady. I think she’s a very interesting person and I enjoyed talking to her. It felt natural and I felt comfortable, a couple of years ago I might have made a polite excuse to go away from an impromptu conversation. Instead, I braved it and spoke to her. =)

I was also part of that humongous conger line and I was near the front, right behind the person who was videoing it with her camera phone. The best part of the conger line was that a Stormtrooper was right behind me. =D That conger line was fun and when it finished I decided that it would be a good time to leave and go to bed. I was in a good mood but I still had a very bad headache. If I left now, it would be on a high.

So I did.

  1. LAST DAY

It was nice and calming on the last day even though I did feel very ill in my head and body. I think because I had been speaking to so many people over the last couple of days, I felt the energy was zapping away from me. It was the right time to go home.

I did manage to take some more pictures on the last day but I wasn’t feeling as energetic as I had been, but I think most people were probably feeling the same.

OVERALL

It was a very good experience and probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I think this Kitacon was a lot better than last year’s Kitacon and I think it helped that I had prior experience and that there was not as many people this time around.

I’m always going to be ill and be faint in huge crowds and socialising with people but I can will myself to ignore the negative emotions and enjoy the good times that were presented to me. I had the courage to speak to more people this year than I did last year and I even managed two parties in a row.

I had some good moments and some rather bad moments but everything I did was a big fun learning curve and I’m really glad that I went. I’m growing in confidence year by year and I’m learning to be comfortable with new people as well as with my current friends.

I’m also learning not to put unnecessary pressure on myself as things will happen naturally if you live in the moment rather than plan the future.

WILL I GO TO NEXT YEAR’S KITACON?

I’m not sure. There are more positives than negatives about this year’s Kitacon, for me, so I do feel more encouraged to go than not to go. But, I still don’t like planning or thinking too hard about it as I will feel apprehensive.

 

Thanks a bunch for reading, I’ll see you next time. =)

Ryan^^/

My 2016 So Far

Kirin Toudou

 

Happy New Year everyone.^^/

 

2016 has been good to me. I already like it more than 2015. I have lots of exciting things planned and I’m currently in the midst of doing those exciting things too.

 

My Story

My ultimate goal this year is to publish my story on Kindle. I’ve been reading a few children’s stories recently as part of my research and it has helped me a lot. I’ve completed many drafts but now it’s nearly finished. I’m nervous but excited about the prospect of self-publishing my very own story. =)

 

I also have a fantasy story in the pipeline but that is a humongous project and I won’t complete it anytime soon. I’m especially excited about that.

 

My Art

I’m continuing to upload my works on Deviant Art but I recently created an account at Pixiv.net. Pixiv, as far as I can tell, is like Japan’s version of Deviant Art but it seems that all the art on there is anime and manga orientated, where Deviant Art is all styles of art.

 

I’ve joined Pixiv around the New Year and so far my art has been very well received. I’ve been getting plenty of nice and encouraging ratings, bookmarks and even sticker comments. I’ve gained 5 followers in the process too. It makes me happy knowing that people like what I draw. =)

 

Speaking of drawing, I have a few drawing ideas. I’m planning to draw and create my own avatar/profile picture and/or a banner/wallpaper for my profiles for my Twitter page[1], my DeviantArt[2], my Pixiv[3], my MyAnimeList[4] and potentially for my Instagram[5].

 

I have a Tumblr too but I’m considering of deactivating that account as I’ve never really been on it.

 

I’m planning on drawing a simple face portrait of Alice Nakiri from Food Wars! for my Avatars. I can’t decide if I should use Alice Nakiri for all of my Social Media Avatars or if I should use just use it for a selected.

 

For my banner I’m planning on including a few characters; Cerea from Monster Musume, the four girls from Non Non Biyori, Ouka Ohtori from Anti-Magic Academy 35th Test Platoon, Mai Kawakami from Myriad Colors Phantom World and Kyouka Kagamin from Dragons Rioting. I have a good idea how the picture will look.

 

I recently practiced sketching Mai Kawakami so I can get used to drawing her. It took me a day but it was worth it as drawing her was a lot of fun. You can find the link just below if you’re interested to have a look. =)

 

Mai Kawakami Practice Inking

 

Yoga / Pilates

My first Yoga session this year was with a lady called Becky. It was the first time that I participated in her yoga class but I very much enjoyed it. I usually struggle with sudden new faces but I really enjoyed it as the session was calm and relaxing.

 

I tried Pilates for the first time the other week after hearing that it’s very similar to Yoga. The Pilates class that I attended was not really enjoyable. There were lots of people around and the atmosphere was energetic, which I didn’t like. I was in agony a few days after the class to the point where it hurt to move. Haha.

 

I think after practising Yoga for many years I’ve come to appreciate the philosophy behind Yoga. I now prefer the quiet relaxing atmosphere and the calming of the mind rather than fast determined workouts. I can’t say that I’ve disliked Pilates as I’ve only tried it once, but I will try another class next week and see how I feel about it afterwards.

 

I may even try Rock Climbing, but I will see how I feel!

 

Kitacon 2016

I have bought a VIP ticket to attend Kitacon 2016. =) Kitacon 2015 was one of the biggest experiences in my life and I think this year’s Kitacon will be just as important.

 

I’m a bit nervous about it as it will mean spending time away from home again and potentially socialising with people who I’ve never met before in a very big building. I do have experience what it’s like and there will be things that I will do and won’t do again.

 

I intend to take lots of photos of Cosplayers as last year’s Cosplayers were awesome. I have no doubt they will be just as awesome this year. I even have plans of cosplaying as a certain person that went down well with a group of friends last year. Can you guess who I’m considering dressing up as? 🙂

 

I will worry and get anxious about this so the best thing for me to do right now is to not think about it and deal with it when April comes.

 

Anime Winter 2016

There was plenty of Anime for me to look forward to in 2015 but at this moment in time there hasn’t really been an Anime this year that has captured my interest.

I am watching two anime from this season’s line-up.

Myriad Colors Phantom World: I’m enjoying this so far. I think it’s funny and entertaining. All the girls are cute and have cool abilities. I especially like it how Reina eats up the rogue spirit people and how the battles conclude. The limbo challenge was fun to watch but it also shows that you don’t need to beat people up to win a battle. I thought that was rather cool and I will definitely watch this on a weekly basis. =)

Dagashi Kashi: What I liked about this show is that the background art and atmosphere reminds me a lot of Non Non Biyori, especially as Coconuts own a Candy Shop. =D I find it to be very eccentric and funny, especially Hotaru’s antics. Dagashi Kashi is completely different than Non Non Biyori plot wise, but like Non Non I think it will be very easy to watch and I think I will grow to like it. =)

 

THANKS FOR READING

I’ve been really enjoying myself so far and I’m especially proud as I’ve recently completed the illustration of Kirin Toudou, which you can see right at the top of the page. I feel that it’s definitely one of my best recent ones as it’s vibrant and colourful. I think I’m getting better at drawing as times goes by. For now, I will take a somewhat rest from drawing. It won’t be a long rest though. =)

 

I will now take it easy as unfortunately I caught a bug again after recovering after Christmas. I feel a bit dizzy and I have been coughing quite a lot but I’m not feeling sorry for myself as I am just watching Non Non Biyori and other anime that I’m catching up on. =)

 

I hope 2016 has been treating you all kindly.^^/

Ryan.

[1] My Twitter Page

[2] My DeviantArt Page

[3] My Pixiv Page

[4] My MyAnimeList Page

[5] My Instagram Page

Halloween Party 2015 and Sting

2015-10-31 20.22.53

Saturday Evening was the traditional Halloween Party.

 

Last year I went to the party dressed as the Shockmaster and this year I went dressed as the wrestler, Sting. It’s funny.

 

I was originally going to go to the party at 3 O’clock but it took me an hour to apply my make-up. At first I was dubious as to whether I was going to pull this off as I didn’t have the correct tools or enough face paint. However, with help from my Mum, I managed to apply the face paint successfully. It was far from neat but considering this was our first go, I am very proud.

 

Everyone, from families and friends alike, were very impressed with my Sting costume. I had the coat, the T-shirt and gloves to go with. I even managed to wrap the baseball bat in gaffer tape and applied hair spray to my hair… it was very uncomfortable. Haha.

 

Unfortunately, being Sting did have some drawbacks… I scared the young people that were at my Brother’s Halloween party.

 

The party was fun. I set the time to leave at half 6 but I did enjoy it and decided to stay an extra hour or two. We played board games and I did manage to chat to a few people. Usually if I stay in a crowd a long time I tend to get dizzy and nauseous. I managed to hold out for quite some time but I did get nauseous around 8 o’clock. It was the right time to go.

 

Things don’t always happen as we anticipate them to be. That’s the one thing I’ve told myself throughout the years.

 

I genuinely believe that this Sting outfit is undoubtedly my best ever outfit. I was really happy that I managed to pull off a good Sting and I intend to dress up as him in the future. Now that I know how to apply his make-up I have prior practice. Who knows, perhaps I will dress up at him if/when I go to Kitacon 2016. I won’t even bother to think about that for now though as it will give me an unnecessary head mush.

 

You can see my picture right at the top of this topic. That is me dressed as Sting. If you like to check out the rest of me posing as Sting, you can view this gallery in this Halloween Party 2015. I titled the album as “Halloween Party 2015” but really, it’s just me posing. Haha.

 

I hope Halloween was fun for you too.^^/

Kitacon Part Four: Day Three

20150731_164502

KITACON PART ONE: THE ANTICIPATION
KITACON PART TWO: DAY ONE
KITACON PART THREE: DAY TWO

  1. The Morning

I felt that the morning was quite uneasy. We checked out at 11 O’clock. I felt insecure as this meant that I was hanging around until the closing ceremony. I didn’t have anywhere to go to relax. When I read manga or chill out I like absolute silence with no one around. Unfortunately for me there was no quietness or peace.

 

In the end I decided to try and be brave and read in the lounge. A lady came over and asked if I minded if she sat next to me. I responded that I didn’t mind but in truth I really did mind. I couldn’t fully relax but I was still able to enjoy reading a few pages of Non Non Biyori.

 

  1. More Photo-Taking Cosplayers

I did keep an eye out for more photo opportunities, and I’m glad I did as I got a few more photos of cosplayers. I felt that my confidence had grown the more I talked to different people. There were at times that I said a few quirky quips that thought “oh no, why did I say that?” The things I said weren’t necessarily inappropriate but I sort of wished I had chosen a different way to say things.

Some of you may already know that I do struggle in social situations and sometimes I tend to say things without realising what I just said. Sometimes, if I want to find a meaning but don’t know the word, I would make up a word and say it. Haha… people find it funny but it can get me into trouble even though some of the things I say are not meant to be mean or nasty.

I managed to get the One Piece crew together. I asked a lady, Robin, if I could get a photo. She asked if I wanted the whole gang together, so I said yes… with subdued excitement. I waited for a good while for the whole gang to round up but it was most certainly worth the wait. I was really happy that I managed to get them together. I managed to get someone dressed as Iron Man too. My Mum likes Iron Man so I really went out of my own way to get a picture of him dressed in the Iron Man suit.

I had a lot of pleasant small talks with quite a lot of people really, Vegeta, Super Sonico, Kotori from Love Live, the One Piece crew, Tifa, I could literally go on. There were so many people that I talked to. Because I interacted with different people I found that I was able to form my words more coherently.

 

I also learned something interesting when I got back home. I had posed for a photo in my Batman outfit with Harley Quinn. I then discovered when I got home that she is actually Rayi, an infamous cosplayer. She has her own Facebook page and DeviantArt Page. I did feel daft for not knowing who she was. However, I’m really happy because I can say to my friends and family that I actually spoken to and had a photo with Rayi. =)

 

  1. How to Draw a Manga with Sonia Leong

The event panel that I was looking forward to was the drawing workshop with Sonia Leong.  I came to learn during the workshop that Sonia is actually an infamous manga artist in the UK. Her works spreads throughout the UK and she has been drawing for many years.

 

I really enjoyed her workshop and I felt really relaxed. The atmosphere was really chilled and positive. It reminded me of the yoga class that I attend on a weekly basis. I think it’s because drawing was the only thing that I can relate to and that I am interested in. There were quite a few tips that I already knew but I still learnt a lot by watching her draw first hand. She’s a very good artist. Not only that, she’s a very nice down-to-earth person who is a social butterfly. Her workshop was very detailed, but not complicated. That’s my kind of learning. =)

 

I was determined to speak with her but there were a good number of people who were speaking with her so it was hard to get a word in. In the end, I decided to go off and come back later to see if I could. I managed to speak with her in the end and she really is a nice person. We spoke about the relationship of characters and how we implement real life into a fantasy story. I never planned to say more than a few words but I felt encouraged to say more. I was confident that I could speak without being judged.

 

In the end more people came and kept on finding pauses in our conversation to say their bit. I’m too polite for my own good so it was easy for people to talk over me and interrupt.

 

I wanted to say goodbye to Sonia and shake her hand, but it looked like that I had to wait longer. So, I decided to be bold and found a pause when the lady next to me stopped talking and asked Sonia if I could shake her hand. She obliged and I shook her hand and walked away. I felt that it was rude of me to do that but Sonia is a very popular lady so I had to be a little bold and a little rude otherwise there might not have been another good opportunity.

 

I don’t usually shake people’s hands as it’s not my style but for some reason it felt appropriate, so I did. =)

 

  1. Closing Ceremony

Day 3 was generally chilled as Days 1 and 2 were more active.

I didn’t really fancy going to the closing ceremony as I wanted to go home at that point. I did appreciate the positive atmosphere in the air but in truth I wanted to go home and I didn’t want to get involved in any more big crowded situations.

I found that the journey home was much better than the journey to Birmingham. I went to Kitacon with plenty of anxious thoughts and not really knowing what I was getting myself in to. However, I knew exactly what to expect when I travelled home.

 

  1. My Overall Thoughts

If I were to describe my time at Kitacon I would say that it was a surreal experience. It was like I was dreaming for many days and then one day I woke up and I was back in my own bed. Haha.

I have never experienced anything like it in my life. If you were to tell me that I was going to rave, in a night club, amongst a humongous live crowd with extremely loud music, I wouldn’t believe you. I thought that was actually ok to do as I mostly hung out with Bro and my new friends in the corner, out of the way of the big crowd.

I did think that my confidence in talking to people did grow, bit by bit, especially when I was taking photos. I always told myself that I was going to take photos but when I arrived at the hotel I felt somewhat scared that I was going to do it. I got over the barrier by taking my first photo of Hestia. It became easier after that. Everyone there was approachable and friendly and chatty and I really do appreciate the fact that they took their time to pose for my photos. I also appreciate getting to know my friends more and in the process gaining new friends. Of course, I also appreciate my Bro and Sarah for trying to make my time at Kitacon as comfortable as possible.

My social skills were shaky at times but I think I outdid myself.

I’m always mindful to catch the cosplayers at good moments. I was sure not to ask to take their photos if they were part of a cue or if they were running to a certain destination. I would have liked to be more creative and have more creative shots and backgrounds but in those moments it was wise to do it there and then. My most creative shot was Vegeta because I caught this nice chap at a good moment.

By what I’ve observed I get the sense that everyone generally preferred to stay in their own social circles rather than branch out and talk to new people. However, that didn’t stop them from being friendly towards me and I got the sense that they were generally appreciative of me taking their pictures.

I went through many mixed emotions, but my headaches and dizziness were the most prominent as I literally had a headache since I got there. That’s mostly because of the loud noise of the music and crowd and from the over-whelming experience of being in an unfamiliar environment.

 

5.1.            My Personal Highlights

  • Mario Kart Tournament
  • Dealers room
  • Interacting with Bro, Sarah and all my current and new friends
  • All the friendly cosplayers
  • Drawing Workshop with Sonia Leong
  • Listening and watching Non Non Biyori… Non Non never fails to cheer me up and it may seem strange to say this, but Non Non Biyori always somehow reminds me of home.
  • Eating food
  • My Hotel Room

 

  1. What I learned about myself

I learnt, as I always do, that things are not as bad as I imagined them to be, like that time when I went to London. No matter how irrational or how sick or how dizzy I get I can always cope. I never allow myself to be broken no matter how down I feel about myself. I can always cheer myself up. I never feel sorry for myself. In conclusion, I’m probably much stronger than I realise.

I also learned that I’m much better at talking to people than I realised, all I needed was a bit of a confidence. I also found that by not planning conversations in advance I can actually talk to people better. It’s all about talking in the present moment and that tactic worked very well in my favour.

 

  1. Would I Go Again?

I don’t even want to think about that right now. I just want to spend some time to myself, chill out with my family and get back into my normal routine.

At this moment I don’t know if I would go again. As soon as I got back I thought “I won’t necessarily go again” and in some ways I’m sort of sticking with that rule.

But, after digesting the whole experience after a couple of days it was actually a fun convention. I have a rough idea as to what will happen next year and I have a good idea at what I will do the next time that I go/if I go.

Next time I would probably come down on Friday and leave on a Sunday morning. I would also extend the time for my room so I am able to go up there to get my own space. Chill out more as I feel that I tried too hard to talk to people and participate in the Kitacon experience. I put too much pressure on myself and I was already under-going many anxious feelings, so next time I would plan my time better and not put myself under so much pressure.

I also may buy a VIP badge for next time as I like the sound of being a Very Important Person. Haha.

One thing I would definitely change though… my I.D. name! Honestly, being called “SirRyanFalstaff” was really embarrassing. What identity should I be? If you have a suggestion please do share.

 

THANKS FOR READING

IMG_6569

There were at times where I just wanted to run away and call home but I sort of willed myself to try and look on the bright side. The first time I slept away from home was last year in London but this was the first time that I spent three days away from home. I was also surrounded by many, many people who I have never met before. It’s all a completely new experience to me.

Even though I don’t think rational in new and unfamiliar situations I prove to myself time and time again that I can cope. That in itself is the biggest achievement of my Kitacon Experience.

 

Ryan.^^/