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.

WWE Raw and Liverpool Experience

Raw in Liverpool

Winter Greetings.^^/

  1. Post-London, Pre-Raw

A lot has happened in November, especially around the time when I went to London. I found that even though I came back home, I still couldn’t really relax my mind. It seemed that everything was happening at once and I was dealing with lots of things at the same time. If it’s one thing, I usually find a way to work with it. However, too many things give me a head mush. At that point it did feel like my head was about to explode.

To cut a long story short, I had to make a decision whether I wanted to go to a surprise birthday gathering and to WWE Monday Night Raw with a few of my peeps. For the life of me I could not decide what I wanted to do. I enjoy celebrating the happiness of other people but I decided to reject the party invitation in the end. There would be lots of people there that I did not know. I didn’t fancy it in the end and decided not to go.

*

I haven’t watched Raw in weeks. I sort of lost interest in WWE since Daniel Bryan and Bad News Barrett became absent. Did I really want to go to this live event when I wasn’t feeling very well? Not just any event, but an event that I’m not really that into at the moment. I literally decided to go in the last minute, an hour before I was being picked up.

It was at that point when I started to rush around. I had a shower, washed my hair, picked out my clothes and had dinner. I got it in my head as well that we were eating out, but I received a text explaining that we weren’t…oh my. So, with quick thinking, I had jacket potato with melted cheese. I fancied doing beans but as I was on my own I didn’t want to risk doing anything to myself. It’s one thing to harm myself if my parents were around, but if I’m on my home and cooking, that could spell trouble…

I tried to relax, but I couldn’t fully relax. I felt sick, dizzy, had a poorly chest and was eating a luke warm jacket spud. Haha…you’ve got to laugh in those situations. =) I decided to go to Raw as I already paid for my ticket, and, it could be interesting.

  1. Liverpool

The other reason I didn’t want to travel to Raw is because it was in Liverpool. Travelling to this city appears to be a bad omen to me. Throughout my life, every time I go to Liverpool, something goes wrong. It’s not that I dislike Liverpool it’s just that Liverpool dislikes me. XD

  1. I was going to college (which borders Liverpool) but went to the completely wrong campus! I think the driver was taking me to the technology campus. So, I was an hour and a half late for my first college class…. Later on, it was established that I was in the wrong class. Then, it was established that I was actually in on the wrong day. So yeah… I won’t forget about that day in a hurry!
  2. My Dad was taking me to Liverpool, since he used to be the kit man for a none-league side, when we broke down… the policeman helped us, but he came up to me and said ‘this is all your fault!’ It took us a full day to travel back home.
  3. I went to Liverpool to support the Foundation Degree students by watching one of their theatrical productions. However, we got completely lost and had to turn back. We asked for directions but none of the locals knew where the performance location was… silly people.
  4. I was going to perform as the violinist at the Maritime Museum and we were going to take the train, but…the train was cancelled so we had to walk in the scorching heat, take 4 buses, one underground train, and we made it with 15 minutes to spare. We only had time for one full rehearsal.
  5. We went to the theatre to watch Jonathan Pryce in a Harold Pinter production, but the show was cancelled because he was ill…

I really hoped that this trip to WWE would break my trend. I’m sure some day Liverpool and I can settle a truce and drink a J2O like old buddies. =) …that night wasn’t going to be one of those days though, as an incident occurred. It’s a recurring joke that I bring bad luck to Liverpool, but what happened was not a funny matter.

There was a car crash on the motorway involving four cars, which in turn made the roads very busy. I felt instantly bad. I thought “they had a crash because I came to Liverpool.” Thinking rationally now, that’s not really the case. Accidents happen all the time, especially when drivers get impatient on the road. Regardless of everything, I pray that they are all safe and recovering at the speed of light.^^/

  1. WWE Monday Night Raw

We just made it with five minutes to spare. It was an absolute rush. I don’t handle travelling very well, I tend to get sick. I felt unwell to begin with, but the long journey didn’t really settle me. It unsettled me more when we had to rush to our seats, and that took a while too. A gent actually hijacked one of our seats so we had to ask him to move.

The show started pretty quickly. Well, actually, it began with WWE Superstars. Then, it went to WWE Raw. All the while I was still battling with my emotions and tried to focus on the show. The trick I used was taking photos and video clips for my Uncle. I sat on an end isle seat as I could escape whenever I want. However, the Echo arena was a very big arena and I didn’t really fancy getting lost in that building. Haha.

The biggest chants were “Where’s our network?” Apparently, this does not bode well with the WWE officials. When Raw was on TV, they edited this out as best as they could. Other bigger chants were Miz and Mizdown, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Sheamus and the crowd.

The crowd were bantering with each other. If the match bored them then they would find a way to entertain themselves. One guy held up a sign but he had that confiscated by a security gent and everyone chanted “you sold out!” The biggest boos were directed at another security guard. The bottom crowd were playing around with a beach ball during the Sheamus and Rusev match. He got heavily boo’d when he confiscated the beach ball, probably more than Cena. They chanted “you suck!”

The intro was funny, when everyone chanted “John Cena sucks” that went along with his entrance song. The UK really does have a good crowd.^^/

I didn’t join in with any of the banter as my head was really bad and I felt unwell. The sheer noise was not very pleasant, and it did detract from the Raw show somewhat.

Paige got a few standing ovations. I know I stood up and clapped, and I even went down a few steps so I could snap a good picture of her. =) I liked how Lilian Garcia sang our national anthem, it was sweet and touching. Some of the top tier crowd were booing though and chanting about the network. I thought that was disrespectful and in bad taste, but I just ignored them and listened to the anthem.

I also liked the Sting promo and Triple H making an appearance. I kept on anticipating Bad News Barrett making a sudden appearance though, and was gutted when he didn’t.

When the show finished we all darted out asap. I thought the show was ok but I was certainly glad when it was over. I would say that I’ve enjoyed last year’s Raw more, this year I somewhat lost interest in WWE and I was going through a lot this time around. I am focusing on what I enjoyed about the show though, rather than recalling what went through my mind at that moment. I know I’m talking all about it now, but I’m feeling much better and more open to talk about it. =)

  1. Going home

I was asked if I wanted to take a detour to McDonalds on the way home. I declined. It didn’t matter whether I was hungry or not, I just wanted to go home. When I got home my Dad bought me and my Mum McDonalds. I was pleasantly surprised as I didn’t know that there were any McDonalds that were open 24/7.

I’m not a fast food lover, but sometimes fast food is better than no food. 😉

THANKS FOR READING

I was spotted on TV courtesy of a close friend. It’s a blur, but my T-Shirt has made it on TV. I was spotted during Paige’s entrance. Haha. Fame at last. =D Here is the picture.^^/

Me on TV

I wasn’t going to upload this blog until I give account of the 1st Year Anniversary blog, which I plan to post on the 16th November. I’m still recovering from a very busy couple of days. However, my gut instinct told me to upload this blog right now instead of waiting.

With all that is said and done, I can finally relax. I have nothing pressing to focus on. It’s always important to remember to focus on the positive points. It can be hard at times when your head is in a mush, but it’s not impossible. And I like to think that I’m capable of doing that, even when I’m not in the best state of mind.

I endure a lot inside with my Autistic quirks but I always mask my face and feelings with a smile. =)

See you all for now.

Namaste,^^/

Ryan.

London Trip Part Three: The Final Fantasy Concert

Distant Worlds logo

  1. Fun Fact

Believe it or not I actually had the opportunity to perform at the Royal Albert Hall many years ago. There is this talented group called WatchThisSpace, ages 14-21, and they do a lot experiment with dance movements. They were going to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in 2010 and they held auditions to be part of that group.

A friend at Uni suggested that I should audition since I’m quite dandy with my Ballroom. I declined, for many reasons. Why? That’s for another blog. 😉

  1. Distant Worlds music from Final Fantasy Mini Ramble

This was such a surreal experience.

I had a rough idea of what the Royal Albert Hall would be like, but I never appreciated how big it truly is until I went inside… it’s seriously massive. I actually think it’s bigger than my local arena. I was sitting on the top tier, right near the fire exit. It’s no secret that I get apprehensive in massive crowds, but I felt reassured that I was near the fire exit. If it got too much for me I would just dart off.

Before the start of the performance a kind looking gentleman took to the stage and bowed. The crowd literally erupted in a chorus of cheers. I thought to myself, “He must be important.” But then Mr Conductor, Arnie Roth, announced that that man was actually Nobuo Uematsu. He has composed 90% of the songs from the Final Fantasy games. And, apparently, it’s rare for him to make an appearance but being in the Royal Albert Hall was a must for him. Can’t say that I blame him, it is a beautiful building. =)

  1. Distant Worlds music from Final Fantasy Mini-Review

What I liked especially about this concert was how Mr Conductor rambled briefly about each song and shared with us the facts about his orchestra. This was their 98th tour and 3rd in the Royal Albert Hall. He was a friendly man. He was the sort of dude that commanded respect without even trying. I’d love to have a drink of J2O with him one day. =) I believe the 99th tour will be somewhere in Europe.

I liked the fact as well that the Royal Albert Hall has the second largest organ in Europe… I can see why. The building was tall, but the organ pipes were massive. They were even taller than the top tier seats. The building was big but the organ pipes literally vibrated the entire arena.

They premiered quite a few songs that night. Two of them were based on the Final Fantasy 9 game. I liked all the instrumental music that was played that evening but I think the most significant instrument was the organ. Mr French came on (I didn’t catch his name) and played the guitar. He was good. Then Mrs Kelly came on (I didn’t catch her name) and sang a beautiful ballad for the Final Fantasy 14 online music.

I can’t really say I had any particular standout favourites since they were all as equally as good, but, I did appreciate certain songs that I’m more familiar with. Like the theme songs from Final Fantasy 7 and 9, especially the Rose of May. The Chocobo song at the end was a nice touch. =)

It was good as well that they had a screen. Whilst listening to the music we could watch the video that was being played that went with it. FF6 looks like it’s a humorous game, judging by what I saw. However, I did get confused when that joker clown like character fought against the pretty brunette lady and won. It looked as though the villain beat the hero… I think? I think it’s on that PSP Vita. I still enjoyed watching the screen though. I think it’s good that the orchestra made that available for us, the audience. =)

The most significant moment, without a shadow of a doubt, is Nobuo. I read in the programme that the man himself hoped to perform live on stage at some point. And… he did just that. Apparently, Arnie suggested that idea to Nobuo and he said that he will play the keyboard if Arnie plays the violin. And Mr Conductor played the violin. Hoho.

That was the first ever time that Nobuo Uematsu has performed on stage, and I was there to see it. It truly was a memorable moment. 🙂

*

It was good experience. I did cringe and clench my teeth a lot when the audience clapped, cheered, stood up and erupted. I was able to enjoy the orchestra just about enough since some of the instruments were soothing and they were playing the songs that I liked.

But, I didn’t like the huge noise from the crowd. It made my head swirl and chest feel unpleasant. On two occasions I had to go out to get away from the crowd, and when I thought rationally enough I went back in. I actually missed the start of the second half of the performance. I did feel worse after that. The duration of the performance was nearing three hours and near the end I actually wanted it to finish so I could go back to the hotel.

I did enjoy the orchestra. For some reason there seems to be a difference to listening to the music rather than listening to someone sing. In a way, this was the best way for me to debut a concert. Haha. It was good experience. In truth I would say that my brother appreciated the overall experience a lot more than me. He is a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series. =)

If I were to rate this, I would say…

Two Thumb’s-Up. (My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up

  1. Overnight

I went back to the hotel asap with my brother, had a nice long shower and watched Match of the Day in my room. I put on BBC1 before I left for the concert. With assistance from my Brother I managed to work the TV. That way, when I came back I could watch the TV from the get go to be organised. I think that was quite wise on my part, if I do say so myself. =)

*

I cut down on my football time since I tried to get some sleep…

I was tired but my body didn’t really want me to sleep. My body became aware that this wasn’t my room and I wasn’t sleeping on my bed. The cushions were comfy though. Since I couldn’t really sleep I decided to read some manga. I read Monster Musume, D-Frag and See Me After Class. I even listened to the Non Non Biyori soundtrack on my ipod.

I felt very relaxed. This was the only time I could relax on this trip. Being organised in London was certainly exhausting and then I had to try and force myself to sleep. After relaxing, I gradually fell asleep. I didn’t get much sleep though.

I woke up very early. We set contingency plans to ensure that me and my brother get up at 8. I woke up at 7 O’clock. Before getting ready I decided to have a bru. I put on the kettle… I suddenly remembered that the plug didn’t work so I went to press the button to stop when I actually burned my finger. XD It was morning and I had long forgotten that the kettle was not working properly. Haha. Wait, that’s not funny… anyway, I spent five minutes running my burned finger under the cold tap…

*

We got the train, first class, and went home. I thought a couple kept on looking at me and they would often turn away if they caught my eye. I kept on building myself up to smile every single time we catch eye contact, alas… it never happened. Not to worry though.

I came home, and spent literally the entire day just chilling on the couch without saying a word. I didn’t want to talk. I was just extremely pleased that things were back to normal. It took a while for me to sink in the information though…

  1. Overall Experience

It was good. It was most definitely one of my most significant moments. Going and sleeping London felt so far way, yet, it was here and gone. It really is amazing how time flies, especially when you’re having fun. =)

Pre-anxiety always dominates my mind whenever I’m going into the unknown. Sometimes I will deal with my state of mind just fine, other times, it becomes hard to endure. I just have to go with my gut instinct.

London wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was quite the opposite, in fact. I felt constantly safe, a little iffy around the roads, but I was able to retire to my room for peace and quiet from time to time. And because I was constantly busy, I wasn’t as anxious. I distracted myself and times. It felt like I got used to my room quickly, and for a brief moment I thought I was playing the role of Alan Partridge. XD

A friend summed it up perfectly. “Focus on the parts you enjoyed about London, instead of remembering how you felt.” I knew this philosophy but he’s absolutely bob on with his words. =) And it’s the thing of, just because I feel sick, apprehensive, dizzy and so on, it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t take away the positives from this journey. Or anything really that is outside my comfort zone. I went to London to enjoy myself, not to pay attention to my nerves. =) It was a struggle at times but I coped and I was never in danger of losing my mind. Haha.

With that in mind, it actually made me appreciate my own life even more.

I have the luxury of a house, my own room, a space to play games, hang out with people, watch movies, write stories, watch anime, watch Thomas, read manga, and all sorts. I didn’t have that much freedom when I was away but I have the freedom at home. I already knew this, of course, but it still makes me appreciate my life even more, and I will continue to cherish it. =)

*

The biggest question remains… will I do this again?

Well… I’m split. Before this trip I might have said “I will never 100% do this again.” But now I have experienced it… I can safely say that I will not rule out this kind of outing again. On the other hand though, I’m not in a rush to do this again. I mean, I’m in no rush to go to London any time soon. If the concert was to be played in the nearest area then I think there’s a strong possibility that I would go again. It all depends how I feel at that time though. =)

It’s just as I mentioned in the wedding blog many months ago. Just because I did something once, doesn’t mean I would find it easy to do it again. It just means that I’m more capable then I thought myself to be. It’s all about endurance and concentrating on the positives. So far, I’m doing myself proud.^^/

THANKS FOR READING

That’s it for my London blogs. I wonder what’s in store for me next.

Nearly one year ago, 16th November, I opened up a WordPress blog account. I plan to post a blog on that very day to summarise my year of blogging. I hope you will drop by and have a read. =)

See you all for now.

Namaste,^^/

Ryan.

London Trip Part One: The Preparation

Virgin Train

London baby!

Ahem…This was a very significant moment in my life and I can’t convey all of my thoughts into one blog post. I chose to divide this London Trip into three parts. =) Here’s the first…

  1. The Introduction

About a year ago my brother asked me if I wanted to go to watch the Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds concert. He explained that this is a rare occasion for the tour to come to England. I looked on the site and saw that the orchestra band last came to England in 2012. I thought, ‘two years ago? That’s not so rare if it happened recently.’ Haha.

Tickets went on sale so really I had to make a prompt decision. My mind was very muddled at that point. I felt huge pressure on my shoulders and I kept thinking about the circumstances rather than the concert itself. In the end I more or less said no as my mind went blank and I’m not very talented with prompt decision making.

Afterwards my brother unveiled the fact that he actually bought all three tickets for me, himself and our friend, Cheese. It was a good job that he did as the tickets for the concert sold out in less than two hours! In truth, I did feel more pressure when my brother bought the tickets, but in hindsight, that was actually a smart move. To my understanding, it’s a record sell out. 🙂

I more or less said that I will think about whether I want to come or not, since going to the concert was not going to happen overnight. If I was unhappy with this then all I had to do was sell the ticket and refund my brother…

*

Along the way Cheese dropped out, so that would mean my Brother going by himself. At that point I started to think more about him then myself. He would have been fine on his own by all means but it’s not really the same when there’s no one to share the fun with. Plus, I probably appreciate the Final Fantasy series more than everyone else in our circle of friends. However, my brother appreciates the music a lot more than me.

I decided at that moment that I was going to the concert. Yes, it was a musical orchestra. Yes, it was a concert. Yes, it was at the Royal Albert Hall. Yes, it was in London. Yes, there will be a lot of people there. However, instead of brooding all of that in the present time, I would deal with those issues and worries when the time came.

  1. The Anticipation

I was generally relaxed about the trip at first. I arranged the tickets for Virgin Trains and booked reserved rooms for the Queen’s Gate hotel.

I must be honest when I say that I was very reluctant to stay in a hotel. In an ideal world we would watch the concert and go straight home via trains. That wasn’t really feasible though and so it was more necessary to stay in the hotel overnight. I really didn’t like this but I of course understood that travelling back would be more hassle then its worth. With much reluctance I booked two rooms at the hotel. My brother allowed me to make all the arrangements and I did with assistance from my Mum.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before but I lose a lot of sleep every time I spend a night at my brother’s. I’m very aware in those moments that my bed was not around. Sleeping at someone else’s house has always proved difficult. How am I going to handle the experience in a hotel?

*

In some ways I think I tried to avoid the topic about London as much as I could. I was in the frame of mind that I need to handle situation in the given moment, as oppose to thinking about it and talking about it needlessly.

I think my other folks and sister were more excited about the London trip than I was. When my sister asked if I was looking forward to Saturday, I asked, ‘yoga?’ Deep down, I knew she meant London, but I was really determined to not think about it. If I think about it, I worry. After she clarified what she meant I said, ‘I’m not thinking about it,’ and the topic ended.

Everyone was very encouraging though. My mum was especially encouraging. She was actually born and raised in London, so she knew London like the back of her head. She reassured that I will be fine. I felt reassured that I was going to be safe but it still didn’t change the fact that I was going into the complete unknown.

*

It dawned on me two days before that I was going to go to London… In that time I was busy trying to get my travel kit sorted and fixing my costume for the Halloween party. All the little niggles and quirks that I would laugh off or ignore became important issues. I had a lot on my mind so I ended up getting headaches, pent-up anxiety and I lost a lot of sleep.

Ideally, I would have liked to have an evening all to myself so I could prepare myself mentally. However, the day before we went to London I went to my Brother’s Halloween party. I was aware that there were new people coming so I started to get nervous about that. I found that my anxiety about the London Trip mostly overshadowed my anxiety of meeting new people at the party.

My head was not in a pleasant state because I did not have many opportunities to relax and unwind. I felt rushed and in the need of hurrying up. I don’t like running, rushing or anything at a fast pace. I always prefer to take my time, so bustling about and getting things ready did not help matters.

I did have an hour here and there and I spent that time re-watching particular anime. I also listened to the Non Non Biyori soundtrack since it’s pleasant on my ears. When I was relaxed and happy I was able to think positive. I might have felt ill and had a wave of headaches but that doesn’t mean that it’s all doom and gloom. =)

I left the Halloween party early so I could prepare myself for the next day. I watched anime and settled for bed. I was still a little anxious but I felt happy…

  1. Arriving at the Train Station

I woke up at seven O’clock sharp and straightaway I found myself that I was able to wake up and get up with ease. I opened the window, saw a tree and thought ‘that would make a good picture!’ So I went outside and took a picture of it. It was beautiful. =D

Ahem-

I re-checked my bag, got dressed into my outfit, and re-watched anime before I left my house.

*

My Dad picked up my brother and dropped us off at the train station.

It was certainly a massive place. We found that we had a lot of time to spare because we arrived an hour early. We decided to grab a drink to quench our thirst. We went into Starbucks and I grabbed a lovely creamy hot chocolate. =D

Coincidentally, there was a massive chalkboard which said “AUTISM”. Around that word were different words that were generalised symptoms of Autism. Apparently, that was Starbucks’ charity of the month. In some ways, it makes you wonder if this was a sign. I certainly feel that it could have been, even if it is just a coincidence.

*

We found our train! I asked my brother to take a photo of me beside the train. I posed and he took the photo. I walked towards him, turned around to find that the train was just departing… I was posing next to the wrong train. Whoops. We eventually found the right train and scrambled aboard. We were right at the very back. 😉

  1. The Train Journey

I felt slightly under the weather to tell you the truth as I had a headache and felt jaded due to lack of sleep. The pendolino train, being rickety on the lines, sort of amplified my mental state. After that I felt very sick and very nauseous. Haha. For some reason I was expecting it to be smooth like an Aeroplane (I took part in Child Flight back in the 1990’s but that’s another story) and be a lot smoother. How wrong I was. XD

As I was on this train journey I figured I would use this time to write the Halloween blog as well as start my reviews on Non Non Biyori and Locodol. However, writing these reviews amplified my mental state by ten folds! XD

Despite feeling ill I chose to think positive. I had a lot of good banter with my brother. On the odd occasion I would look out of the window and at the beautiful scenery that were flashing by. We even played noughts and crosses for a little while and had a right good laugh about it. Haha.

The train ride, in truth, was enjoyable to some extent. It sort of felt no different than a normal modern train. We were just travelling farther away and a lot faster. I think because me and my brother were passing the time and enjoying ourselves it just seemed that the train journey ended a lot quicker then we’d expect it. Needless to say we both nearly fainted when we left the carriages. Haha.

The train came to a gradual stop and finally we have arrived at London Euston train station. =)

And- but I mustn’t tell you anymore, I’ll save that for part two. 😉

Thanks for Reading,

Stay tuned.^^/

Ryan.