Monday, 29 April 2013

Kariya Park (& Birthday)

Yesterday I went to Kariya! The weather was overcast (it was even pouring when we left;;) and a bit chilly but it didn't stop us from having a good time. I was dressed as Ema Skye for the first time (I hastily cut the wig the night before like the good cosplayer that I am...)! It was pretty fun being in a lab coat hehe! The wig was surprisingly a pain because it was long and her half bun thing wouldn't cooperate. A good learning experience for AN though!

I got there a little earlier than the people I was planning on meeting up with (Mao and Karameru hehe, slowpokes!). I was really happy and surprised to run into my buddy Thomas and Genie from Moetron (She has an art blog here)! I didn't think they would be coming! I spent most of the day goofing around with them and Thomas snagged some nice shots I think.

Genie is my inner hipster child haha
Poor Thomas had to get dragged around by me haha, thanks ; v ;
I derp a lot when taking photos. Genie was sniping me without me knowing haha~
Also this costume was given to me by a sponsor. I might get new pants though as they're not long enough.
It'll have to do.
My birthday was the day before so I was even more excited to see Sachie make a visit even though she's really busy at home and work! It was really nice of her to make time for me! ; v ; In fact, many people wished me a happy birthday which was really nice, so thank you!

Mao, Karameru, Tomomi and the rest finally got there so it was fun getting to see people who I haven't talked to since November for the most a.part! School keeps us all busy, though hopefully that will change now that it's summer. They're really funny and bright people, so they brought a little more sunshine into that overcast day :'D

Luan and Mao in the back, Genie on the right. We're all a bunch of derps hehe
I always end up duckfacing when taking photos with Karameru and I wonder if it's because
she's so pretty haha. I need to work harder LOL
Kariya park itself was an interesting location. It's a japanese style garden with a shrine and various interesting ponds to work with. Usually this time of year there are cherry blossoms so I was told, but because of our crappy Canadian weather we missed them in time for the event.. they might bloom in May hopefully! It was my first time going, but I really liked the venue as it was tucked away from the busy main street and surrounded by a nice looking fence. There were still some regular people walking around but overall us cosplayers had the run of the place mostly to ourselves! In nicer weather I'd like to visit again, perhaps with more props so we can reenact a crime scene or something!

I didn't have my t3i on me because everything is packed away due to my family's move, so I was bad and forgot to take pictures of the park. I got you some turtles though! And some Mao!

It started pouring when we left for bubble tea in Mississauga so Thomas was kind enough to give me a drive back to the station. I missed the train though.. had to wait an hour in the cold for the next one..

If you'd like to see more photos from the shoot, you can visit my Facebook page! I should be able to upload them starting this week. Until next time!

We're so street fashion!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Cosplay Tips 101: Why do you want to cosplay?

I've decided to create a group of posts exploring things about cosplay. I'm no expert (can someone be an expert cosplayer?) but I have been doing it for a while, so even though I may not be an expert in sewing or whatever, I still feel like there may be some things I can impart to you about my world. Feel free to add things in the comments section, so that we as a community can build up posts that are helpful for people who stumble upon. Not to mention that I'm always learning new things too!

I wanted to start this segment with a very simple question, but one that I find very important:

Why do you want to cosplay?

At first it might not seem like much, but it can become a loaded question if you think about it.

Cosplay is a very unique hobby, especially in a place like North America (where I'm from). The most we get dressed up for is Hallowe'en and perhaps themed parties. Especially since cosplaying brings to the forefront images of Japanese culture which tend to become lost on North American audiences. I remember when I first started cosplaying, every so often my parents would bring up things like hentai (Japanese animated porn, though what they had in mind specifically was the tentacles). So you can expect to not be met with understanding when expressing a foreign fandom openly. Just think about the elementary school yard when you were a kid. Those who were different were usually picked on weren't they?

That's another thing: parents. I know many cosplayers who struggle in pursuing their fandoms with them hanging over them. It's a childish hobby. You'll grow out of it. It's expensive. What are you going with your future. I've heard these things repeated more than once. For some of you, perhaps you'll come to disagreements with your parents. It's okay. If it's what's making you happy then why shouldn't you pursue it? When this comes up with my own family I usually make comparisons with people my age. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs. However cosplay is a creative pursuit that utilizes many skills and creates a positive space where I can be proud of myself and my work. Whether you smoke, drink, or whatever doesn't necessarily undermine you. Heck, lots of cosplayers have parties in their hotels where they do just that I imagine. What I mean is, cosplay isn't necessarily a destructive hobby like your parents may think. At least not as destructive as frequent parties teenagers are prone to have.

I started cosplaying when I was around thirteen or fourteen. It's obviously a time when you're exploring who you are and are faced with crazy hormones and confidence issues! I am 100% convinced that cosplay is an outlet that has let me grow in discovering who I am in a safe environment. I can wear clothes that I wouldn't dream of wearing normally to explore facets of who I am that otherwise I wouldn't be comfortable exploring. Through cosplay I have learned makeup techniques and styling that help me look like a respectable female in my society. I've gained the confidence to imagine how to make gigantic arms and actually go through with the project. I can make my dreams into reality.

But most of all, I have found people of a like mind. I have found wonderful friends.

So while cosplay is, yes, incredibly expensive and, yes, isn't necessarily a typical hobby I ask you again why you want to do it and I ask you to hold on to it.

Is it because you love the theatrical aspect of becoming a character? Perhaps you love making costumes, clothing and props! Maybe it's the stunning way people can change how they look with makeup. Maybe it's your love of the fandom and the people in it. It feels nice when people recognize your hard work, so perhaps you love the spotlight.

Whatever it is, this emotion you have towards cosplaying is what will either have you participating in it for years or have it be just a small blip in your life. It will keep you from going insane when your friends at school may not understand or make fun of you for it, or when your parents don't approve. When you need to remind yourself why you take on more work or die at the gym to get that sweet-ass flat belly.

If you don't know why you want to cosplay, I think that's fine too. Because the more you do it, the more you enjoy it and that's all that matters.

Friday, 12 April 2013

What I've been up to

Yesterday I got to spend some time with my friend Jen! I don't think I've seen her since our Bakemonogatari shoot back in November. Everyone's been really busy this year, so it can't be helped I guess.

We went shopping at Eatons! Initially I was looking for a dress suitable for the League of Legends lounge shoot at AN that I'm being a part of with VickyBunnyAngel and a bunch of other really classy ladies! It's going to be a lot of fun!
The shoot will be based on the photo below. It's the thought of what the League ladies do in between matches, or to wind down after a hard day on Summoner's Rift:

I found this dress in my closet though! I think Shyvana's a tough lady who wouldn't reveal too much skin. The blue could represent her loyalty to Demacia and I think the orange and red designs work well with her identity as a dragon (kinda looks like a fire burst). Plus, I like the idea of a tough girl not letting a dress in the way of her being rowdy. One of the shots I'm taking is arm wrestling so I think it'd be a funny image! It's a little loud but I think in a dark setting it'll blend in alright.

I'm also heading to Vegas in early May so I need to update my wardrobe with some more big girl clothes haha. I want to get away from the jeans and a t-shirt style I've always worn. Bring on the dresses!

I ADORE THIS DRESS! I don't own anything like it and I think it's very classy. A good dress for going around town while still looking like you put in a little effort. It was rather cheap too! I always like it when dresses come with belts.. that way I don't have to worry about buying one hehe.. My boyfriend gave me some money for my birthday, so it's an early birthday present.

We also had some delicious bubble tea and then went over to Jen's place! Ahhhhh a girl's company is so nice.. We played around with her makeup and we took some silly pictures in some of her wigs (most on her computer haha).

The wig I'm wearing reminds me a lot of Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite! The wig itself was soooo nice. So silky and soft...

Jen owns a lot of alpaca plushies.. they are the most wonderful things to cuddle with!
I want to hang out again really soon! It was a really nice break before I start studying for my exams again. To be honest I find that exams are less stressful than essay season. I have some time to actually breathe.

That being said I'll be really busy when I get back home. My family is moving to a different house so a lot of my cosplay stuff is being packed away until June! I'm only able to have a little box in the garage for any cosplay things I might need for AN and other small events until then. I'll be attending one (or both) of the cosplay picnics this month in Mississauga (April 27, 28). I'll be going as Ema Skye from Apollo Justice and Kirin from Monster Hunter. I'll try to do some more updates closer to, but I hope to see you there!

Monday, 1 April 2013

People and Their Dogs

Recently I was taking some photos behind my school. It's nice with a dense forest and a brook running through it. I was doing my thing when suddenly I hear crazy barking just behind me. Turning around I see two (I forget what breed) dogs running up to me and a woman a little ways down the path.

While I adore dogs, small ones always seem to put me on edge. I stopped what I was doing as they were advancing on me somewhat and I had the fast running brook behind me. They of course weren't on a leash.

The woman down the path, calmly walking passed, is calling to her two dogs.
"Sorry! Your tripod must have scared them!" she says to me, I quickly smile (nervously) and wave my hand.

"A-ahh! It's ok! I just didn't hear them coming and they surprised me. No worries!" Of course a normal person would at least come down from the path to leash their dogs and continue, perhaps with another brief apology. But of course, she must continue.

"They were abused before I got them. They thought your tripod was probably a stick to beat them with." Yes that's fine just get your dogs away from my personal space, please, it's making me uncomfortable. Yet this woman felt the need to say this another couple of times, you know, to really let it sink in so I get it.

Lady, Ma'am, Miss...

I understand that your dogs may have had a traumatic experience. You're a wonderful person to have taken them in and given them (presumably) a better home. However, don't you think that if your dogs are so dodgy around strangers that you should have them on a leash? This isn't a dog park.

Rather than blaming me with my tripod, or blaming the dogs' past owners, don't you think you should look at yourself and consider that perhaps you're the one who should adapt? Your dogs are skittish. Skittish dogs will attack if they feel threatened. This is a busy path.

Luckily the dogs found a ball in the sand beside me and decided that was more interesting than my tripod. The woman never did come down from the path...