Kitacon Karnival Experience: Part Two

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(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^^/

Kitacon Karnival Experience: Part One

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(Kitacon Karnival Experience: Part Two)

  1. LAST YEAR

I first went to Kitacon last year so I had a rough idea what it would be like this year. Big events like this can be tough and challenging for me due to my autism. This means that I tend to get overwhelmed in huge crowds, meeting new people in unfamiliar surroundings and loud noise. It was a shock to my system when I first went to Kitacon to the point where I went for long periods of time feeling faint and dizzy. I sometimes felt that I couldn’t think or move properly whenever I went to panels or spoke to new people.

I experienced a lot of highs and lows last year and admittedly I was anxious about going to this one.

  1. THE ANTICIPATION

In the end, after much discussion with my brother and my family, I decided that I wanted to go. Last year I think I put too much pressure on myself and tried too hard to experience everything about Kitacon rather than doing what I wanted to do.

When it comes to big events or social gatherings like Kitacon I will always feel faint, dizzy and suffer many headaches due to the stress of meeting new people and socialising. I’m very self-aware of who I am and I’m no longer ashamed of what I am. I will always suffer from these quirks but I’m able to cope and subdue the negative emotions that I often experience. Even if I do feel ill at certain moments I can still enjoy the times that’s given to me and think positive. =)

  1. FIRST DAY AT KITACON

I settled in the building much better than I did last year, and it helped a great deal that I got the same room from last year too. I got into the Kitacon spirit quite well. I knew that my art was going to feature in the Kitacon book but I submitted two back in January and I was not sure which one was going to feature. It was my illustration of Kirin from The Asterisk War anime. It was a really exciting moment when I saw the picture in the programme for the first time. It was a humongous achievement for me and I was excited at the prospect that a lot of people from Kitacon were going to see it. That book is definitely a special souvenir. =)

The uneasiness that I felt for obvious reasons suddenly faded to the back of my mind and I then had the confidence to go round and take photos of cosplayers in their amazing outfits. I was more confident at taking people’s pictures this year. I still had to prepare myself mentally to ask their permission but it was much easier to approach them. They were all friendly and I managed to make small conversations with some of them. This lifted my spirits and my confidence went even higher and I like to think that I was able to speak to so many people because of my photography. Taking photographs was the perfect icebreaker for me otherwise I don’t think I would have the courage to speak to anyone at all.

There were some panels that I didn’t enjoy last year, namely the Hentai Panel, because it was so crowded it made me feel unwell so I decided to leave. I decided to give the Yuri Panel a try but I was a little bit anxious about that panel as I anticipated it was going to be like the Hentai Panel from last year. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. The two ladies spoke about the concept of Yuri, played a few clips and showed a few photos of female couples, including Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. There were some very risqué photos and clips but it didn’t overwhelm me once and I think it helped that I sat right in the corner near the back so I could “escape” anytime but luckily there was no need to “=)

I was nearly tempted to go to the Burlesque show but by this time I felt that I needed a rest from socialising and big crowds and I went back up to my room for a couple of hours to be on my own in the peace and quiet.

After some respite I went to the party with my brother to dance to the loud music. I didn’t really enjoy it this time around as my body started to feel light and I was suffering with a really bad headache. I was really quite ill by this point so I left the party early to go to bed.

I didn’t particularly have a good night, I was restless for stress related reasons and for the sheer fact that I was sleeping in a bed that wasn’t my own. However, I wasn’t as homesick as I was last year and that was a humongous positive. The other positive so far was that I get to spend some more time with my niece as this was her first ever holiday away from home and I can say that I was part of that. =)

*

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for part two. =)

Ryan^^/

My 2015 Highlights

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It’s really amazing how time flies. It took me a while to get used to the fact that we were in 2015, and now, as quick as that, 2016 is only a day away.

 

To commemorate New Year’s Eve, I will share with you my personal highlights of this year. There were plenty of them but for now I’m listing only the few that came to mind.

 

My Website – Going viral

For many years I thought about owning my own website but I was always insecure about putting my face and artistic works out there. I was concerned of being made fun of and getting harsh criticism.

Cutting a long story short, one day I broke down that barrier. Now, as well as blogging about various things I own my very own website, my own photo gallery, my own Instagram page, and even opening up a Deviant Art account.

Since going past that barrier I’ve been gaining nothing but confidence and I feel like I keep on improving on my art due to my confidence and motivation.

I’m especially proud of my Ayane fan art from the manga, Dragons Rioting. Tsuyoshi Watanabe, the author of Dragons Rioting, actually liked one of my Ayane fanarts on Twitter! That was a very proud and significant moment in my life. It’s like a couple of years ago when I received a personal message from Britt Allcroft. =)

 

A New Yoga Venue

I used to go to a regular yoga class with my sister but this year I went to a completely new venue/class. Not only did I go to a new yoga venue but I went on my own with no support. Now, I’m a regular at lotusflower. Sometimes I even stay behind at times for a lovely peppermint tea or accidentally drinking someone else’s. Haha!

 

I feel that I’ve improved on my breathing and poses but more importantly, I’ve opened myself up more to the regulars who also go to the same class as me, especially to my teacher. It probably doesn’t seem much but it’s definitely a big deal, especially when I find social situations challenging. =)

 

Passport

This was quite a big issue for me. On the pamphlet it says that I could take someone with me to the interview for support. However, when I got there, the passport people said that having someone with me during the interview was not allowed.

This did distress me as I felt misled. However, I coped very well under stress and pressure and answered all the lady’s questions rationally and truthfully. I think she knew I was genuine as I received my passport within three days! =D

 

Kitacon 2015

This was probably my personal highlight this year. In 2014 I stayed in a hotel in London and that was daunting. But this year I stayed at the Hilton Hotel in Birmingham to participate in Kitacon for two nights and three days.

I would say that this was my first official holiday and probably only the second occasion where I slept in an unfamiliar place. Kitacon was challenging for many, many reasons. There were highs and lows. The highs was talking with random people as well as friends, and, taking photos of people in their cosplay outfits. The lowest part was the hentai panel.

I would say that that was one of my most difficult experiences as I came away feeling sick, nauseous, dizzy and light headed. It was very loud and I was stuck right in the middle of the rowdy crowd. It’s something that I will definitely not want to experience again.

However, even during these low points in my life, I still coped. If I were to go to Kitacon again I would have to think about it very carefully.

 

Summer House

For many, many years I yearned to have a little summer house in my garden. I wanted to be like Roald Dahl and write and draw and generally be creative in my own little house. That very thing happened this year and I was very, very happy. I still have to pinch myself now that I have my very own house to call my own. I haven’t been out in it recently due to the weather but it will be resolved once I get a heater in there. Haha.

Due to affection and for the sake of making an Alan Partridge reference, my summer house is now known as the ‘Business Centre.’ Haha! Now, I just need to wait when spring and summer comes and then I will be able to have my own flower baskets. =)

 

My Niece – Lucy

Family wise, this is definitely among my highlights. I did wonder if becoming an uncle would be life changing and a daunting task, but in all honesty, it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.

I’m seeing her a lot more than I thought I would and it’s worth giving up some of my free time to watch over her. I took her for a walk at Pennington Flash (Country Park) and went with her to Bents Garden Centre.

At three months old she’s now smiling and giving out cute little giggles. It’s a massive bonus that she enjoys watching football and Only Fools and Horses!

 

Halloween Gathering

I went to a Halloween gathering for board games and I dressed up as the wrestler, Sting. This was definitely a cool moment as I tried everything I could to make myself a carbon copy of Sting. I like to think I did a good job, especially the face paint.

Playing the board games was a nice change of pace, even if I don’t always understand the rules!

 

2016

 

There are a lot of things for me to look forward to next year, but most of them are just little things.

Stuff like watching my niece grow up, looking forward to the magical season of Christmas (I’m still celebrating the festive season now!). Other things include watching football on TV, yoga, decorating my summer house, spending time with my family, but most of all, my creative works.

My children’s story is very close to being finished and was only delayed as I couldn’t get it done before Christmas. However, once it’s finished I will review it once more and hopefully publish it on Kindle.

I have plenty more of art to share as well as my stories but when they are finished, you will be the first to know. =)

 

Happy New Year, everyone.^^/

Ryan.

My Second Year Blog Anniversary

Goodness me. It’s official. I have been blogging for two whole years. Well, just over two years as I am posting a day late. Whoops!

 

I originally started blogging on WordPress but in July I opened up my own site as well as a blogging site, right here. I feel that that was one of my biggest achievements this year as it took me some courage to put myself out there on the internet, especially my art.

 

I think between November last year and November now my approach to blogging changed. Before I somewhat forced myself to write for the sake of writing it, especially when it came to reviewing anime. However, in that time, I decided to blog when it feels appropriate to talk about something.

 

Now, I will share with you some of the blogs that I feel were most significant from 16th November 2014 to now…

 

  1. A New Yoga Place

I went to a new yoga place on my own for the first time.

(http://ryanspeakman.co.uk/blog/2015/02/20/a-new-yoga-place/)

 

  1. Applying For a Passport

How I handled the situation and circumstance of applying for a Passport.

(http://ryanspeakman.co.uk/blog/2015/05/15/applying-for-a-passport/)

 

  1. My Birthday Weekend.

What I got up to on my birthday.

(http://ryanspeakman.co.uk/blog/2015/06/28/my-birthday-weekend/)

 

  1. Kitacon

The Kitacon experience was very, very special. This blog contains four parts.

(http://ryanspeakman.co.uk/blog/2015/07/31/kitacon-part-one-the-anticipation/)

 

  1. My Theory about Autism and Repetitive Movement

I came up with a theory about autism and repetitive movement.

(http://ryanspeakman.co.uk/blog/2015/07/01/my-theory-about-autism-and-repetitive-movement/)

 

  1. Becoming an Uncle

My thoughts on becoming an Uncle for the first time.

(http://ryanspeakman.co.uk/blog/2015/09/28/becoming-an-uncle/)

 

  1. A Time to Celebrate

I was celebrating for many reasons.

(http://ryanspeakman.co.uk/blog/2015/09/13/a-time-to-celebrate/)

 

  1. Halloween Party 2015 and Sting

How I got on socially at the Halloween party and thoughts on dressing up as Sting.^^/

(http://ryanspeakman.co.uk/blog/2015/11/02/halloween-party-2015-and-sting/)

 

THANKS FOR READING

 

Blogging has become a very fun hobby of mine and I feel like I’m getting better at writing with every single post.

 

Now, I am preparing myself for the England versus France game. For once, I am supporting both nations, not just my own. Simply because there are things that are happening in the world that are much bigger than Football, and this game in particular will highlight that very well. I’m not sure if I will be able to sing the French national anthem, but I will give it a try or bite my tongue trying.

 

Thanks for reading, have a good evening.^^/

Ryan.

Kitacon Part Four: Day Three

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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

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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.^^/

Kitacon Part Three: Day Two

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KITACON PART ONE: THE ANTICIPATION

KITACON PART TWO: DAY ONE

KITACON PART FOUR: DAY THREE

 

  1. Building a Mecha

I didn’t really get much sleep. I set my alarm for the breakfast time as I was aware that I was taking part in the Build a Mecha Challenge. However, I thought that I was going to participate in that straight away and that the “breakfast time” was a guideline rather than the act of having breakfast. Haha.

 

From that point on I was over-whelmed. I was extremely confused and everything that my brother told me completely went over my head. I wasn’t being rude I just could not digest what he was saying. I think I’m honest when I say that I didn’t really fancy building a mecha but it was an opportunity to socialise and get in with the action more so I decided to continue to be brave in socialising.

 

I thought we were going to build a Mecha with a certain group of friends, but I learnt, that we were building a Mecha with another group of friends. That isn’t really a problem but when something unexpected happens or something changes from my point of view, it really catches me off guard and throws me off. Just before we started to build a Mecha three of four other people joined and started to crack on with the crafting.

 

I honestly had no idea what was happening. Do I hold the sellotape so that anyone can cut at any time? How do I help out? Just stand back out of the way? Strangely enough I felt uncomfortable when those pro photographers were taking snaps of us building a mecha. I found it distracting. I was also surrounded by people who I never met before. Being crafty was not my thing and I felt inclined to let everyone else get on with it.

 

In the end I decided to rely on my own strengths, drawing. I drew a bell for the collar, I drew a banana wearing a British flag and I drew a gigantic face of a bull. One of my newest chums, Mat, provided the orange eyes to place on the bull face. =) In the process I managed to take a few good photos and managed to have a little talk with a few of my fellow team mates. The theme was the letter B so we had to attach parts to the mecha that began with b.

 

I do tend to be biased towards my own team but my personal favourite mecha was the orange neko mecha. It was cool and cute.

 

  1. Embarrassing Incidents

Unfortunate there were two. The first one involved room service.

I was in my room when I decided to chill out for a bit. Then, I heard footsteps and someone opening a door. I thought, “That sounded like my door. Perhaps it’s a lady coming into my room?” I laughed to myself. Then, I heard “Room service.” And then I thought. “Hmm, that sounded very loud actually.”

Then, I turned around and there was an actual lady walking into my room and as soon as she saw me she literally shrieked in surprise. I think she felt very awkward after that. It was a good job that I wasn’t getting changed!

Second incident… this one is especially embarrassing.

I needed to draw out some money from the cash machine so I asked my bro for directions. He pointed to where the cash machine was, which was on the wall on the other side of the room. We were sat in the lounge at the time.

Now, this is the perfect example of me not thinking rationally… I was looking in the direction that he was pointing but all I saw in front of me was a lady in front of a till. In my head, I just needed to go up to her and ask her to draw the money out. “Odd,” I thought, “I have never known to draw money out like that before.” …so I went up and asked.

The lady gave me such a frowning when I asked. When she understood what I was trying to ask she then directed to the actual cash machine on the wall. I apologised many, many times. I held my face in my hands after I walked away. I could not believe what had transpired.

I did manage to recover from that embarrassment afterwards.

 

  1. Name that Anime Tune

I had a headache already but I had high hopes for this competition. I was really confident in my knowledge of the anime genre… me, bro and Chris were not very… we didn’t do well. Overall we must have gotten something like 10 out of 120. Haha. That will teach us for not getting into bigger groups.

 

We were mostly silly with our answers but I personally did get a few answers right. It was really fun but at times mind-baffling. I recognised the tunes but couldn’t match them up with the anime shows. Haha.

 

  1. Cheering Up

There were other things that cheered me up apart from listening to and watching Non Non Biyori.

My confidence in photo-taking and socialising did grow, bit by bit. There were a few times when I posed with someone for a photo. I managed to pose for a photo with someone dressed as the Green Arrow. That was appropriate as I was dressed as Superman at that time.

At some point I got dressed as the Dark Knight and I had a photo with Harley Quinn. She was really cool and I enjoyed talking to her. I did get nervous when she slightly touched my arm to get into a pose. I used to dislike hugs or physical contact but now I’m not so bad. I can handle hugs and physical touches much better now as I bear in mind that a lot of people are tactile.

It was a really good photo in the end.

I enjoyed having small talks with a lot of people really. I didn’t realise that I was capable of having small talks, usually I talk in depth as I struggle to generalise conversations. I especially enjoyed talking to the lady dressed as Yuna. We were talking about the overall experience of Kitacon and I think she said that this was her first convention as well.

I bought a few DVDs and manga from the dealer’s room and I was definitely happy with my purchases, especially the No Game No Life novels and the Super Sonico figure. I spent about 20 minutes talking to this really nice chap about his costume and about helmets and gauntlets. I never planned to have a conversation with him, it just happened and I felt much better after that. I did feel a bit uneasy because it was the first time that I met him but the flow of the conversation felt natural because I didn’t plan what I was going to say, I just responded to what he was saying. =)

 

  1. Hentai Panel

Aha, the Hentai Panel… I wasn’t planning to attend this but I was somehow persuaded to go. Haha. I was sceptical. Was this going to be as rude as I imagined it to be? However, I was reassured that this was going to be more humorous and daft than showing erotic films.

I wore a jumper. Big mistake. I was really, really hot. Plus, the cue was humongous and we had to wait a good while in the corridor. When we got in I was guided to seat right bang in the middle of the right row of chairs. I sat between Sarah and a new person I’ve never met before. I usually like to sit on the ends so when I needed to go out to clear my head I could do that. However, I was stuck right in the middle and couldn’t move if it got too much.

There were quite a few moments that I found funny, like that girl who shot the rockets from her boobs and knees. It was rather cringing to watch but it was still humorous.

I did clench my teeth when the option of showing a rude Thomas picture did show. I was like “Oh no! They’re going to de-face Thomas!” Luckily, Thomas was never shown just other pictures of trains… I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. Haha.

If I’m honest I must say that this was probably my least favourite part of my Kitacon experience. I was uncomfortable to begin with, I had a slight headache and I didn’t really understand what was going on. I felt that the atmosphere was very rowdy and very loud and it got to the point when I felt dizzy and sick and I couldn’t really think straight. I had to leave in the end as according to eyewitnesses (my bro and friends) the colour drained from my face. Haha. I decided that that was the opportune time to get an early night, and so I did.

I was already over-whelmed by the whole Kitacon Experience and the Hentai Panel took it to another level. Haha. Of course I appreciate those who enjoyed the Hentai Panel but it wasn’t for me.

 

Hopefully I would get a good night’s sleep and sleep it all off. =)

 

Ryan.^^/

Kitacon Part Two: Day One

Hilton Hotel

KITACON PART ONE: THE ANTICIPATION

KITACON PART THREE: DAY TWO

KITACON PART FOUR: DAY THREE

 

  1. Travelling and Arrival

I didn’t really get much sleep to tell you the truth, I was extremely nervous and the anticipation did get the better of me at times, especially during the car travel. I felt sick. It was a mixture of lack of sleep, the long car drive to Birmingham and not knowing what to expect. I heard the hotel of Hilton was very well established but when I got there I was completely blown away.

 

I walked into the hotel and immediately the place was full of vibrant cosplayers and convention enthusiasts talking amongst themselves happily. I did feel claustrophobic as I didn’t know where to walk or what to do, so I just followed Bro and his partner, Sarah and trusted them. I don’t take lifts unless it’s very necessary so I took the stairs… it took me five minutes to find them so I had to ask someone for directions. It’s not often I talk to random people so that’s good for me. I tend to struggle a lot in social situations, most specifically in big crowds. I tend to feel squashed and get headaches and feel dizzy. Day one was especially quite troubling.

 

I really liked my room. I got the disabled room as I wanted to feel as comfortable as possible as really this was the first time that I was undergoing this kind of experience. The bed and room were exquisite and it did meet my needs and made me feel more relaxed, but it’s nothing compared to my own bed.

 

  1. Photo-Taking

What made me especially nervous was the thought of photo-taking cosplayers. I was incredibly anxious on a big scale. Usually I take pictures of landscapes and objects to distract myself from being scared in an unfamiliar environment. However, I’m always careful as to not take pictures of people as I don’t want to be seen as being inappropriate. However, I came to this convention with the intention of taking pictures of cosplayers. If I was really not up for it then I could at least try and pluck up the courage to take a photo of a person dressing up as Hestia if someone came as Hestia.

 

I was making my way to the lounge area with Bro and Sarah when the site of long black pigtails and blue ribbon caught my attention. Someone was dressing up as Hestia! In that sudden moment of not over-thinking I decided to be brave and ask her for a photo. So I did… my words was mumbled and jumbled up. Haha. She gave her approval and I took a picture of her. I felt scared but very relieved afterwards. I told her that I was uploading my photos on my blog site in case she wanted to look at her pictures online.

 

Once I got over that barrier I felt more confident to ask more cosplayers for their photos. I asked the two ladies who were dressed as the Mizukage and Hinata characters for their photos and I actually ended up having a little conversation with them. They were impeccably nice and I actually regret not keeping the conversation going as I was enjoying talking to them. I never anticipated that I was going to talk to them, it sort of came naturally. It seems like I can hold a conversation better when I let the words flow as oppose to planning a conversation.

 

Everyone was approachable and I actually gained more confidence as I spoke to more people. In some ways I don’t really know why I was worried about starting conversations to begin with. Everyone was friendly to talk to and I didn’t feel intimidated or uncomfortable at all. Well, I did feel uncomfortable but more due to the humongous amount of people and unfamiliar environment rather than the individuals themselves. =)

 

I did change my wording a little bit when I spoke to them. Instead of saying that I was uploading them on my site I told them that I would upload them onto Kitacon Facebook page. Its easy access and they would all be able to find their photos easier on Facebook then to try and remember my name. In hindsight I wonder if I should have made cards but realistically speaking it was probably for the best that I didn’t.

 

I’m not really a pro at photography. I just wanted to take photos for fun and to show off everyone and their amazing cosplay outfits. After all, everyone had worked really hard on their outfits.

 

  1. Mario Kart 8 Tournament

I was intrigued with the tournament but it never entered my mind to enter the competition. In the end I decided to compete. I was in the first round along with Bro, Sarah and another girl who joined later on. The first two would advance to the semi-finals. I like games but I’m not good as I’m not an avid gamer. In my mind, I was going to come last so I just sat back and tried to enjoy the experience.

To my surprise I actually went through to the semi-finals and in the process knocked out my brother! How the heck did that happen? I was really over the moon. Whatever happened after that was a bonus.

In the semi-finals I was actually on par with the elite gamers. In some of the races I was actually first. I was really out-doing myself. I couldn’t believe that I was doing so well. I was casually talking to my competitors in the process. That was fun because we were competing against each other but it was far from fierce.

My lack of experience in gaming did catch up to me as at times I kept on mistiming shell dodges and kept on flying off edges… I would have finished second overall but I did absolutely terrible on Rainbow Road. I think everyone does. Haha. In the end, I came third.

I think I did so well because I was the most chilled. Everyone else was more competitive and they were leaning forward whereas I was casually sitting at the back of my chair.

Sarah got through to the final and came third. The Splatoon man, who was racing as Wario, is very, very good. He’s also a very nice chap and I’m glad I had the opportunity to speak with him and had a photo taken with him. =)

I got a few good responses dressed as Superman. I didn’t get asked for photos but I don’t really mind that as this is an anime convention not a comic book convention. =)

 

  1. Raving

For those who know me well will know that raving, at night, in a crowd of people with extremely loud music is most definitely not my thing. However, I did have a bogey with Bro. Me and Bro took to the dancefloor. I showed off some of my own unique dance moves and at one point we were right bang in the middle of the crowd… strangely enough I felt ok-ish and I enjoyed interacting with a few peeps. They seemed like very nice people and I will look forward to speaking to them more if the opportunity arises. =)

 

If you were to tell me five years ago that I was going to rave at a party and stay in a hotel for three days I wouldn’t believe you. That was a very unique experience and I certainly will not forget that experience any time soon. That was probably the first and last ever time that I will rave. XD

 

  1. Evening

For some reason, I felt rather down as soon as I got to my room. I felt tired, jaded, confused, stressed, and anxious. I also realised at that point that I had a really bad headache. I think that was probably the only time that I had time to myself. I think if I’m honest, deep down, I wanted more time to myself. However, I was conflicted with my own thoughts. In one respect I wanted to make the most of the experience at Kitacon but on the other hand there were at times when I wanted to be completely alone.

 

It really is such a surreal experience. Being in this hotel, at this event, sleeping in my own room, it’s very weird. I had no idea what I was expecting and to be honest I still don’t really know what’s happening. I feel that it’s all too face paced and in some ways I probably exhausted myself and pushed myself too hard to socialise. The whole day was basically just catching up with me…

 

I felt much better when I started to watch Non Non Biyori Repeat on my laptop. I just kept on re-watching the opening song and I gradually felt my spirits lifted. Non Non always make me feel better whenever I am down. It cheered me up on the car journey to Birmingham and it cheered me up at this precise moment. Not only is it a therapeutic and cute story but it actually reminds me of home.

 

It was that moment that I felt comfortable for the first time since arriving at Kitacon. To begin with, Kitacon is what you make it, even if I do choose to spend the entire weekend chilling in my room as long as I have fun, what does it matter?

 

Roll on Day 2. =)

 

Ryan.^^/

Kitacon Part One: The Anticipation

Kitacon Logo

KITACON PART TWO: DAY ONE

KITACON PART THREE: DAY TWO

KITACON PART FOUR: DAY THREE

 

Yipee! This is my first blog since moving over to my site. =) Now, back to the matter at hand.

 

This is the first time that I’m going on this kind of adventure since London. I would say that my anxiety for the trip is the same as it was when I went to London. I went to London last year to watch the Distant Worlds concert and that meant spending the night in the hotel. That was the first ever time that I stayed overnight at a place and not sleeping in my own bed.

 

For Kitacon, not only am I going on early Friday morning but I will spending two nights at the local hotel and travelling back home Sunday evening.

 

Now, today, it’s only starting to hit home that I’m actually going to this event with my brother and his partner. For many months it has been at the back of my mind. There were at times when the anticipation has been creeping up on me. It’s like going into the complete unknown. Instead of watching a Final Fantasy concert I may be potentially socialising with a lot of people. It’s a different kind of anticipation.

 

Some of you may or may not know that I get very nervous and uncomfortable in social situations, especially if it’s somewhere new. There were times when I felt that this was a deadline rather than a fun event. Can I get drawing done in time? Can I get this task done in time? Can I complete this story chapter in time? How many manga can I read and complete before I leave? Will I complete my website?

 

However, even though I have been getting anxious at the prospect of a social event I have been keeping myself busy. For the past few weeks I have been doing up the garden to put up a summer house, doing yoga and I’ve also been to the cinema to watch Ant Man. In hindsight these sudden chores have been a welcome distraction from the anticipation of the Kitacon event.

 

I have even been practising my Photography skills and trying out different cameras to see which one would be best to take with me. I do intend to take photos of people in their outfit as I have no doubt that there will be plenty of amazing cosplayers out there. I myself intend to dress up as Superman and Batman. =)

 

I do believe my brother when he says that I will enjoy myself, however, I can’t help but get anxious. I am coping much better than I thought I would. I can think more logically than usual. Even if I don’t get my writing done or my drawing done before Kitacon, having a few days off won’t do me any harm. They’re not going anywhere, and I can do my stories and art when I get back. I could even do them at my hotel if I wanted to.

 

I can’t help but to feel nervous as I always get nervous and anxious at the prospect of leaving my home as well as socialising with new people. However, no matter how nervous I get or how much of a head mush I get I prove to myself time and time again that I can cope and adapt, even if I don’t think logically.

 

Today has not been a very relaxing day but I’m confident that I will enjoy myself when I get there. It’s about taking each moment as it comes. In the past I haven’t coped so well, but nowadays, I’m much calmer and cooler than ever before.

 

Stay tuned for Part Two as I will continue to share with you my thoughts on the Kitacon experience.

 

Kitacon here I come.^^/

 

Ryan.