rallamajoop: (waka)
Quick and dirty rundown of some of the high and lowlights of our Japan trip from last month.

Tokyo Anime Fair: Meh. I gather this may have been a worse than average year as a lot of the usual exhibitors pulled out in protest of the new laws about selling manga with sexual content1 to minors2, but what was left wasn’t good for more than a couple of hours’ entertainment, and I’d be skeptical that a few more big name exhibitors would have made much difference. To any future Madman winners who may be reading this: should you be offered the chance to go to TAF for your own prize trip, some renegotiation may be in order. See if you can get them to send you to the World Cosplay Summit, Tokyo Gameshow or Comiket instead – they’re all much more cosplay-friendly.

Osaka Aquarium: Words cannot express the joy several minutes in the presence of a real, live Capybara brought us. Words give up altogether and break down into tears when asked to describe the sea otters.

Disney Land: Missed out on going. Turns out the school holidays in fine weather are not the optimal time to be doing this one. :/

Ghibli Museum: Missed out on this too, same reason. Tickets were supposed to be booked for us in advance, but it seems no-one anticipated quite how far in advance they’d be sold out.

Mt Fuji: Holy fuck that thing is big. Landscape where we come from just does not pull that kind of shit. Also, the dinner they served us at our first night at the ryokan stands as a trip highlight on its own.

Osaka Street Cosplay Festival: Got there late, change room queues took forever, but pretty cool to be cosplaying out in public for once, when Japan is usually so uncomfortable letting that sort of thing happen outdoors. I made at least one girl’s day with my Waka costume and my poingy wings, and I do believe my sister’s Robin costume made just about everyone else’s.

Baths taken: Too many to count

Spending All The Money Saved On Flights On Ridiculous J-Fashion: HUGE SUCCESS!

Japan 3: The Search for Sakura )

So you may have heard One Piece is pretty big in Japan right now )
rallamajoop: (Shibuya)
As represented using pictures of cats )

I've spent less than six weeks total here over a space of over six years, but sometime since that last visit it's morphed into somewhere that gets classified as 'familiar and unremarkable'. Huh.

Would be nice if that meant I was actually confident finding my way around on the rail system unsupervised or anything useful like that.
rallamajoop: (Joshua: under Hachiko)
Only nine months late, finally I have gotten around to sorting and posting all those photos from our The World Ends With You cosplay photoshoot in Shibuya last year:

Part 1: Six overenthusiastic cosplayers take on Shibuya
Part 2: Even more locations
Part 3: Omake

Next on the to-do list, it is so very past time I got those WEWY fic of mine posted - especially considering they've now been finished and betaed for weeks and really just need a few final edits. Free time for such things has been such a limited commodity lately. >.>;

In not completely unrelated news*, [livejournal.com profile] pinneagig and I are now all booked up for flights and accomodation for attending Smash this year (an anime con in Sydney about three weeks from now, for the link-phobic). We'll be running a stall there selling all her usual artwork on the Sunday - Saturday we plan to do this crazy new thing where we actually wander around and maybe even participate in the rest of the con for once.

Having been talked into cosplaying Ky around the same time those WEWY photos should have been posted** I've given myself the target of getting the costume done in time to wear it in Sydney, but it's looking thoroughly doable right now - and that would be the other thing eating up my free time around here lately. That and all the GG or CLAMP fic that's similarly overdue to be cleaned up and posted. Not to mention maybe a couple of things buried in the depths of the Cable&Deadpool kink meme... ah, new fandoms, you are so very bad for my WIP list.

* it's about travel! And cosplay! In fact, we're planning to take the WEWY costumes along for this one (because clearly they just weren't well travelled enough yet).
** NOT MENTIONING ANY NAMES
rallamajoop: (still in the dark)
Finally done! ^^; Meant to have this posted ages ago (and I've still got all our WEWY stuff from the same trip to cover yet ><), but as so often happens with good intentions like that, distractions are plentiful and free time rather less so. Anyway, better late than never and all that, there is more than enough to cover.

Since I've already talked about the more general experience of the Tokyo Gameshow in a previous post (and the Squeenix closed theatre session elsewhere) I'll just summarise here: most of the interesting GG-related stuff happened on day two of the convention. I was cosplaying Millia, and [livejournal.com profile] velithya (my partner in crime for the purposes of this report) was there as Sol. We were there with a bunch of other friends as well, but they were cosplaying from other series, so won't feature so prominently in this report.

The ArcSys booth was pretty low-key this year. I was expecting they'd probably have some major promotional stuff for that upcoming shameless GG clone BlazBlue game, but there was next to nothing there about it. As compared to the giant display they had last year when they had Overture to promote, there wasn't much more than a small presentation area. This is not entirely a bad thing - as friends of mine had reported from last year, the advantage of being fans of a game made by a small company with a booth that doesn't get as much attention as the big industry names is that the staff are a lot less busy and a lot happier to talk to you or, say, track down Ishiwatari Daisuke for a cosplayer who wants a photo with him. Queues for the signing in the afternoon were much shorter too, which you learn to seriously appreciate after seeing how bad they get around places like the Squeenix booth.

The staff also included a helpful English-speaking staff member was nice enough to answer a couple of our bigger questions, which I'll cover here before I get bogged down with posting all those photos down below.

At long last, answers to a couple of those big Overture-related questions )

The rest of the report and lots of photos )
rallamajoop: (caramelldansen)
I have now written probably around 10,000 words of various Japan report posts (and I'm still not done askhglkas), but to save all that tl;dr, there can be no better way to summarise the trip than this. Marvel at our lame attempts to stay in time with either the music *or* each other for more than two hip-wiggles in a row! And you probably all thought I was kidding with that post title back there. ^_~


Edited by [livejournal.com profile] k_chan009 (<3<3<3), staring everyone who came with us on the trip plus whoever else we could talk into joining in. In the end I don't think we covered even half the places we visited in Japan - so much running around that sometimes it was so very hard to remember to spare ten minutes to line everyone up in front of the camera. But this is a pretty decent subset, and no prizes for guessing what we were singing at karaoke that day. *g* Missing from the final cut: at least one take of me in front of the Udogawa mural losing it completely after making the mistake of glancing over to see what our Sho cosplayer was doing on my right. Aargh so many more photos still to come!

ETA: Because I just remembered that not everyone on the web has heard of the whole caramelldansen thing yet, have a wikipedia entry for context. ^^; Also, you should all go watch Where The Hell Is Matt? not simply because it was relevant inspiration, but also because I have not done enough yet today to spread laughter and warm fuzzies.
rallamajoop: (Aqua)
As mentioned in previous Japan trip reports (I've only got a couple left to go now, I swear!) one of the many trip highlights was personally getting to see the trailers shown in Squeenix's closed theatre at the Tokyo Gameshow. I'm not going to bother going into too much scene-by-scene detail, since my memory is not that photographic and there'll be places all over the web you can find those kinds of summaries by now (not to mention low quality video versions all over youtube). But I (and the rest of our party) did come out of there bursting to talk about it, and we all know how much I love editorialising, so I'm going to focus more on what we thought of it all.

Like many Square Enix fans I’ve had some mixed feelings about a lot of their recent products. They’ve been responsible for producing most of the games that have ever made my all time favourites list (Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VII and X, Kingdom Hearts II, The World Ends With You), but also a lot I’ve never managed to muster more than ambivalence towards at best (most of the rest of the FF series, including spin-offs) and a good few others that have made me want to take to their lead designers with the Clue-bat of How Not To Destroy Everything I Ever Loved (Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy X-2 and XII, everything they’ve done with FFVII since 1997, and the last five minutes of WEWY). Each to their own and all that, since even most of the rest of titles have their own devoted fans out their somewhere, and their good games still remain really, impressively good – but the bottom line is that it’s very hard to be impressed by the shameless hype-mongering they’ve been keeping up in recent years by releasing all their newest trailers only in the UBER EXCLUSIVE closed theatres at events like the TGS, for which seats are so limited that we missed out on them completely on the first day and had to leave the hotel at 5:30 AM to make it through the queues on the second. The point I’m building up to is that those trailers were going to have to be really damn awesome to make all that bother seem worthwhile, so getting halfway through the show and already finding myself thinking “Wow, this was completely worth everything!” in between a whole lot of completely fangirlish incoherence was a very welcome surprise. Whatever’s actually in store for us once all these games make it to the shelves, they definitely know how to put on a good show.

Assorted KH mobile games )

Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days )

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep )

Dissidia: Final Fantasy )

Final Fantasy XIII )

Final Fantasy Agito XIII )

Final Fantasy Versus XIII )

And that was it for the trailer session (please make sure you’ve picked up all your belongings and head for the exit to your right, and oh, btw, the large guy in the Squeenix shirt wants a word with you about that camera he saw you sneakily trying to use in there…) To summarise, really looking forward to Birth by Sleep and Dissidia, definitely interested in all the FFXIII games, not especially fussed about the mobile phone games or Parasite Eve, and majorly disappointed with 358/2 Days and the idea they want us to buy yet another version of AC.

To round off the day later on, most of our group headed on to the official Squeenix Store in Shinjuku (excluding me and [livejournal.com profile] velithya who were camped out by the ArcSys booth asking their staff difficult questions MORE ON THIS LATER), and came back laden with bags in which the full ‘Square Enix Projects’ name had helpfully had the letters ‘A’ and ‘R’ partially blacked out to demonstrate the correct spelling.


The same thing again courtesy of the official website


And verily, we did laugh all our arses off about that too.
rallamajoop: (caramelldansen)
Back in Australia! Better yet, back in the Perth part of Australia, with no plans to do anything particularly exciting for at least a week. Which ought be something of a relief by now (given that between Japan, Melbourne and all that other stuff I've been solidly busy for almost last month) if only it hadn't all been totally AWESOME, totally worth it even despite all the stress, and if I wasn't missing Japan already. Being back also means I'm looking forlornly at the horrible backlog of LJ posts I meant to make before I left - plus the new Japan ones - and it's gotten to the point where it's going to start competing with my fic WIP list if I let it get much worse. In no particular order, this is what's on it:

Japan: The Guilty Gear report
Japan: The Squeenix report
Melbourne: The Amaranth Ball
Melbourne: Manifest (day 1)
The World Ends With You, Thoughts on, + rather extended critique of the ending
Guilty Gear: That Post On Recent Canon I Have Been Putting Off Since April Sometime

Not including about 10 GB of photos that need to be sorted through, and where appropriate cleaned up and posted. BUT at least I can count on [livejournal.com profile] pinneagig's awesome photoshop skills to help with that part. For now I'm just going to leave all the photos and fannish stuff aside for the moment and talk about the actual trip for a bit. And maybe elaborate on just exactly what I was on about in that last post.

One of the things about living in somewhere as isolated as Perth (and I do like living here even if this city was built on the far side of nowhere) - is that most of the other places you're ever likely to go are going to be bigger and more exciting. On the flip side, I don't think I'd want to live in Japan long term. Between the education system, all the racism and sexism and the massive pressure everyone there seems to live under that country is seriously crazy and not just in the good way. But I would not at all mind getting to live there a bit more on the short to medium term scale. They've got fantastic shopping, great food, a railway system that can get you just about anywhere and runs on time, are quite obviously the holy ground for the anime fan, and there is something very neat about being able to walk down any regular, commercial city street and find pretty little ornamental shrines sandwiched in between the buildings here and there. The Japanese fit a casual version of all their old Shinto/Buddist spirituality in with modern life as if there's no contradiction there at all, and I really do like that.

Culture shock: More than you ever wanted to know about Japanese bathrooms )

The actual trip - starting in Tokyo )
rallamajoop: (cosplay)
...and *finally* we get to in a hotel with free Internet access.

Ah, Japan, land of the vending machine, where every new bathroom houses a new kind of logic puzzle. We have been having one hell of a time, possibly more than one, even despite the disappointing lack of any table tennis at our onsen. I spent the early part of the trip on some kind of sleep-version of the Atkins diet, before unfortunately succumbing to the Violet Plague, but thanks to the Power Of One Thousand Lemons, I've mostly fought it off. The shopping here is dangerous, addictive and crazy, and responsible for an unknown number of buckles that are now lurking somewhere in my suitcase. Had to get up very early more than once for the dubious reason of pandering to Squeenix's (official spelling on their bags, dontyaknow) shameless propoganda-mongering, but all voted it well worthwhile in the end. Sadly, we failed to mug anyone with an orange phone before Monday, but we did start a band called the Bob Collective - or so we're telling everyone who asks. Got to walk through a real, live video game and had such and awesome time we're going back there tomorrow. And I may have attacked Ishiwatari Daisuke with my hair, but he was pretty cool about it.

And [livejournal.com profile] velithya seems to have talked me into doing Ky cosplay somehow. >.>

Details at six!
rallamajoop: (Millia)
It occurs to me it's way past time I said something up here about my plans for the next month, given how crazy, epic and generally incompatible with a good eight hours sleep per night they're looking from this angle. The short version is that I am going to be leaving for a few days in Melbourne tomorrow, coming home then heading to Japan a week later, with the rollerskating national champs squeezed in the middle. Yeah, somehow all this seemed like a good idea. (I would blame this on a whole lot of wonderfully crazy friends who kept making awesome-sounding plans, and I'm bound to regret it somewhere in the middle, but hopefully not that much if it's half as much fun as it ought to be~)

Plans also include Manifest, the Tokyo Gameshow, and a lot of cosplay )
rallamajoop: (Roxas)
I miss Japan already.

Where to start? Japan is painfully efficient and often embarrassingly helpful. No space which could be put to any conceivable use is wasted - the public transport system would have had some of my university 'sustainable suburbs' lecturers in tears of happiness. We visited I don't know how many temples and castles (damn do the Japanese do some gorgeous architecture), got to see real fireflies and try out real shuriken, caught up with a couple of friends on exchange, met two of Lisa's host families (both of whom were absolutely wonderful and would not stop buying us stuff) and visited Osaka Aquarium and Universal Studios Japan (Terminator ride + Spiderman ride >>> EVERYTHING ELSE EVER). We lugged suitcases up and down far too many stairs, got lost in lots of train stations and came home with the inevitable pile of loot. We even got to see Mt Fuji from *above* the clouds on the flight over there. Also, family vote came to the very definite agreement that someone in Perth needs to start selling Japanese waffles. It was the kind of holiday you end by thinking 'how soon can we go back?'

I don't have any photos uploaded anywhere at this stage, but Lisa's posted a few up at her her deviantart account if anyone wants to see.

Two final things which amused us to no end: firstly, I shouldn't be surprised, but did anyone else realise there's a *manga version* of the Da Vinci Code? We found copies in half a dozen shops, which we didn't buy, but it gave us a good laugh.

Secondly, SNAKES DEFINITELY NOT ALLOWED ON THIS PLANE!!! )
rallamajoop: (Roxas)
Tomorrow, we leave for two weeks in Japan! We'll be spending most of the trip in Osaka, the plan is to catch up with [livejournal.com profile] jaseroque and a couple of Lisa's old host families while we're there. Not to mention all the usual tourist stuff, and lots of anime shopping. Loootts of anime shopping. XD

This will be the first trip outside this country I've taken since I was four years old. I'd rant about how much I can't wait to go and all, but that's pretty much a given, isn't it? (Especially considering I do still have eight hours of work to get through tomorrow before we leave ^^;)

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