- 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.
- 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. =)
- 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. =)
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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.