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.^^/

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.