Saturday, June 30, 2012

Anime North 2012 Report!

Better late than never! It's time to blog about Anime North! I'm definitely a month behind, and I've been trying to catch up on blogging. Thankfully it seems my computer is back and running to a normal degree, I just need to get some of my backed up files back on it. Luckily, in hindsight, I had decided to get a flickr subscription and I've been uploaded a lot of pictures to back them up, so I can still blog about a lot of things!

This year at Anime North I decided to opt out from getting a Crafters Corner table since it was a bit too hectic last year running around for the cafe and the table. I also forgot about the request date, so it wasn't going to happen anyways! (^__^);;
So this year ended up being devoted to Cafe Delish, the charity cafe that is organized by my friends and once again I was one of the maids for the event. 
Credit: SolarTempest

This year was going to be bigger and better than previous years since this would be the 5th year that the Cafe Delish has been an event at Anime North for charity! 

We did a really nice photo shoot with all the maids in April, and I think I was slowly freezing to death around the water front, but the pictures turned out amazing! There was a total of 14 maids this year for the cafe since we were also bringing in the extra PuriMeido event (Picture Maid). 

Back to the convention! We don't do much on Fridays at the con, but my sister was hosting a Dollfie Dream panel with PlasticFantastic at Doll North. And since I didn't have much to do that day and I forgot to bring my lolita dress to wear and walk around that day, I went to help her bring her dolls and take pictures at the panel. I've never attended a Doll North event since the activities are located at the Sheraton hotel which is further away from the Double Tree Hotel and Congress Center.

Credit: Archangeli

They hosted panels about Dollfie Dream dolls and info about the history and models of the dolls and also talked about going to a doll convention and how that functions.

Saturday was the big day for the cafe and it all went along quite smoothly in my opinion! My first shift was at the photo booth. The PuriMeido photo booth is styled to be similar to the picture booths in Japan, and Bosu created a special design for the picture print outs. His friends Selina and Edmond built it and it was really amazing! The picture sheets had 2 sets of photos on the sheet so you could go in with a friend and both would get a set of pictures.

Some of the maids trying to cram into the picture!
The idea of the photo booth was for guests who could not get tickets to the cafe seatings, but could still get a Cafe Delish experience by going to the photo booth. Each set of pictures cost $5 and it went to charity as well. The ideal amount of people for the booth is probably around 2-4 people since it's not too large, but that didn't stop us from trying to do the impossible!

My parents were at the hotel eating dim sum at the Chinese restaurant, Grand Chinese Cuisine, so I met up with them to eat lunch during my short break after the photobooth. All the servers and managers there didn't recognize me at all even though we go there quite often! I thought it was funny :)

Credit: Whitefrosty
After I went back to the Terrace room so I could start my remaining shifts at the cafe. It's nice to get into the rhythm of things and I thought it went really well! We brought a couple portable fans into the room this year since it was really stuffy last year and it was a life saver! It ended up being much cooler in our glass room than the outside hotel/hall area. Plus the atmosphere is quite different than the hustle and bustle from the convention. It's just a nice hour to relax and watch the maids dance, have some food and drinks and play some games. (^__^)*!

Alice decided to attend the cafe this year with her friend. She couldn't make it last year but was determined to come this year! She was at the table that I was serving so I got to talk to her for a bit and convince her to upload any pictures she took at the cafe for us! Too bad her memory space/battery was running low so she couldn't get a video of our dances. (>3<);;

Credit: Whitefrosty
Alice also got a pretty awesome picture of my nails and bling for the cafe! A few of us like to deco our nails and bring a little bit of Japan to the guests at the cafe. Although usually it's my sister, Yumi, Keiko and I who go above and beyond and have lots of kira-kira shiny jewelry. One of the ladies at a seating made a comment of my nails and I showed them to her and she was amazed I could serve in them. To be honest, so was I! (^__~*)!

After the cafe, we went out for dinner and had an after party in our hotel room! It was super fun and some hilarious moments!

The Sunday I spent mostly at the photo booth. I did wander the Dealers room a couple times but didn't buy much. Talked with some old friends to pass some time. I went to say bye to Jess and Alice in the Crafters Corner and to do one more walk through in the Dealer's room with Keiko. I find that I don't buy much stuff anymore at Anime North....possibly because I've bought a lot of things I've already wanted in Japan and partially because I didn't have a lot of money to spend!

Overall, Anime North was great this year. I think the costumes are getting much better, as I saw some really great ones while I was walking around. I hope one day I'll be able to cosplay again for fun. I'm not really sure what's stopping me....probably the commitment to the cafe, but I can always cosplay for another convention!
We also raised more money this year for Sick Kids Hospital Foundation, so that's a great accomplishment and success!

Credit: Chad Ordona
So until next year, 
see you again Anime North!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June Doll Meet (Center Island)

PlasticFantastic decided to plan a doll meet at Center Island for this month and my sister told me about it. We went a couple weeks ago, so I'm a bit behind on blogging about it! (I also failed to blog about April's meet...and there wasn't one in May. It was decided that Anime North would be a place to gather and meet up). 
Since the doll gatherings I attend each month are planned on the Dollfie Dream forums, I'm usually invited to tag along by my sister. I was interested in going to Center Island since I haven't been there in ages. I don't recall the last time I went, but it must have been when I was very young!

The change of setting would be nice too since the last few meets were at Cafe Princess. Since we would have to go downtown, I decided to bring my little ones along again since I didn't want to bring out the bigger doll bag for my MSDs. Zephyria still hasn't made an appearance at any of the meets...oops! (>3<);;

Lareine and Delilah
There was no theme for this month, so I just dressed up my dolls, Delilah and Lareine, for a nice summer day and in some picnic appropriate attire.(Or at least what I deem is picnic appropriate (^__~)*

We ended up going to Wards Island to avoid the large amount of traffic and kids going to Center Island for the amusement park. We found a nice spot by the lake, with a small beach area and a grassy spot with some shade. Initially it started out a bit sunny, and I was a bit worried since I didn't want to have my dolls sitting out in the sun for a long period of time since it makes the resin yellow! But the shade settled so it all worked out in the end. 
Plus a few of us had brought along umbrellas to keep the sun off the dolls!

Group shot!
Since we were on the residential part of the island, it was much more quiet and the pedestrian traffic was very minimal. You did get the random passerby who would be curious, but for the most part, they were pleasant. A couple ladies asked me questions about my dolls since I walked away to use some of the scenery and landscaping to take some pictures. They thought it was cute that a bunch of 'big kids' were basically playing with bigger versions of Barbie dolls. I had to laugh with them since it was basically true! ^__^" (Except these dolls are many times more expensive!)

View from our spot @ Wards Island
The Toronto skyline does look very impressive from the island. I rarely see it unless it's on post cards and it's always changing because of the condos that are increasing along the waterfront. You can see the ferry that takes you back and forth from the island. They run every 15-30 minutes depending on the time and day. To go back and forth it costs $7 for the round trip. 

Amber, Lareine, Delilah
Hinata, Cirno, Yoko, Lily
Besides the random fluffy pollen that was fluttering around, the picnic was a success. The weather was very nice and a large majority of the group brought something to share for the picnic. There were also some house cats that came by to visit us and to roll/play in the sand. Everyone was rather amused by them. The beach also had some swans and ducks that came by too!

PlasticFantastic even brought a long her new MDD, Cirno! I think she's rather cute, but since I'm biased I think my Tinies are cuter (^__^)*

Delilah & Lareine
I'm usually the one who brings resin dolls to the Dollfie Dream meets, but it's not isolated to just vinyl dolls. I've been trying to get Alice to come again, and my friend Keiko to come too, but they're rather busy with school and work for the past few months. But hopefully we can plan something soon so that they can show up! 

Here are the links to my pictures, and my sister's pictures from the meet.
(Some pictures might be friend only, just add me as a contact to see them!)

So until next month!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lolita Closet: Angelic Pretty Yumemiru Hiyoko-chan bag

It's been awhile since I've done another lolita closet post, so here we go!

After I had purchased my Metamorphose March of Duck JSK, I felt my closet was more complete. My number one dress was found and everything else on my unicorn/grail list could be found in due time. Plus, I wasn't scouring the EGL community sales looking the dress, so that would prevent me from making more purchases. Some new additions have been added into my closet since Japan, but I'll first start with the newest item that has been added into my closet and only arrived a couple days ago!

As most of my friends know, I'm obsessed with yellow birds of any kind, so I've been on a search to find Angelic Pretty's Yumemiru Hiyoko-chan (Dreaming Chick) Bag! 

Originally, I saw it in a wardrobe post on the EGL community, and I had to ask where it was from. Little did I know it was from Angelic Pretty!
Hiyoko-chan was part of the Happy Garden series released around the Easter period in 2010.

From my initial searches for Hiyoko, I couldn't find it easily because it had become rare and highly sought after. The lolita who had the bag said she bought it off Mbok and rarely saw it there after. I had given up the search in favor of finding March of Duck, but my fellow lolita friend, Amy, messaged me out of the blue and linked me to an auction for Hiyoko-chan. Thanks for the link Amy, I really appreciate it, although I'm not sure my wallet does. >3<;!
I used Japonica again to bid on and win the auction. Once again, I had great service with them and the shipping was super fast. 

New parcel arrives today!
I was really excited to get the parcel, but I was tired from working the night shift so I didn't open the package until I woke up. The package was sealed very well and lots of protection to keep Hiyoko safe & dry. Since it's essentially a stuffed animal, I wasn't worried that it would get crushed or broken. 

Bubble wrap and bag protection! But I can already see Hiyoko and I'm getting pretty excited at this point.
The size is what I expected it to be, but gosh, it's so much cuter in person than in photos!

I didn't realize that Hiyoko-chan would be in brand new condition with tag still attached, so I was surprised when I saw that! I thought it was just in very good condition ^__^"

Angelic Pretty's Hiyoko-chan
It is so adorable, I can't describe it. I showed my sister the bag because she had come over the same day that it arrived and she squealed! She definitely agreed that it was super cute and a good investment!
No regrets!

The fabric is really soft and if it didn't have the strap on it, it could definitely be a stuffed animal! There's some soft blushing on the cheeks and the eyes are embroidered on. The kira-kira effect is so prevalent!
Because of the feet, Hiyoko-chan sits on his butt oddly, but it doesn't cause any problems. I'm glad that it sits nicely to begin with and it is supposed to be a bag!

Inside pouch!
The inside compartment of Hiyoko is quite a bit larger than I initially thought. I was joking with a couple of my friends that I could probably only fit a lipstick inside, but surprisingly, there's a lot of space for quite a few things! The lining consists of a pink polka dot print. The Angelic Pretty tag isn't located on the inside, but is sewn in on the side of the tail portion of Hiyoko-chan.

Side profile of Hiyoko-chan
 The zipper pull is quite small so it's not obtrusive. I wish the strap wasn't so cheap looking, or was removable, but it doesn't offend me, so I'll leave it be. Hiyoko does have small little wings.

Hope you've enjoyed this post! 
Until next time!

Extra Omake:
My lolita character bags, Frederick and Hiyoko-chan! ♥

Friday, June 15, 2012

Japan Files: Food Edition (May trip)

When we went to Japan in October last year, one of the things I asked Keiko was, "What is the #1 thing you want from Japan?" Her response was, "FOOD!!" ^__^''

One of the great things that we actually do manage to do is eat a lot and well in Japan. A lot of people think it's an expensive country for food, but really it's not. Many things are reasonable priced and can be excellent in quality and taste! Of course, if you're out to eat Sukiyaki or Kaiseki in expensive and exclusive areas/restaurants, you're going to paying top dollar for that! 
However, if you do splurge and spend the money on expensive meals, it is really amazing.

You don't tip in Japan because they find it highly offensive, so don't insult them and you can also save a few dollars every time you eat!

Sadly, Keiko couldn't come on our most recent visit to Japan in May, so all she got were pictures and a bunch of new flavored Kit Kat bars!

Here's a small food diary of the things we ate or drank on our trip~!

On the left is Bosu's Ochazuke and my Unagi-don is on the right. We like to go to a unagi shop on the first night when we land in Japan because it's close to where we're staying and very cheap. My Unagi-don was 500yen!
Another place we found was Ramen Jiro. It's a chain ramen restaurant that's all over Tokyo and the easiest ones to get to in my opinion are the locations in Shinjuku and Ikebukuro. We went to the one in Shinjuku a couple times. 
The soup broth is amazing, it's really fatty and full of flavor. Lots of garlic and is a heart attack in a bowl...but so worth it!
I got the small size ramen which was 700yen. (Portions are very large at Ramen Jiro...but I was so hungry that day I probably could have ate a medium.)

Pork, cheese, curry
Kimchi, bacon, egg, veggies
A place really near our hostel is an okonomiyaki restaurant. Last time we were there, Bosu, Keiko and I went to eat there on one of the last days of the trip. We went there towards the beginning this time. Becca took the roll as being our master chef after the girl who was helping us disappeared. The place was quite small and the fumes from the grills are sometimes very over powering. However, they do have many windows and they had them all open. You can choose from a lot of interesting combinations to eat, and we decided on 3.

2 of our Okonomiyaki done!
  The fun thing about okonomiyaki is that you can cook it yourself and add as little or more toppings. I really love mayo and bonito flakes on my okonomiyaki, so I told Becca to go crazy with it! Depending on which combo you eat it can range from 900-1200 yen each. (Even with 4 people, we barely managed to finish 3.)

Festival Takoyaki!
Since we went towards the end of Golden week, there were many festival food stalls set up in Asakusa. On the last day, Bosu and I went to grab some brunch there so that we wouldn't miss it. (The rest of the group never ate some, sadly u__u'' ) There's something different about the taste of festival food, maybe it's the freshly cooked aroma or the atmosphere of the celebration that makes it unique. We got some Takoyaki to share at a stall, and each ball had a full baby octopus in it! It was so good and each takoyaki was huge! We also had some freshly grilled scallops and octopus skewers too. Each item was 500 yen each.

One of the best taiyaki I've ever had! Bosu and I found this shop in front of the subway entrance of Alta at Shinjuku station (exit B13). We were waiting for the rest of the group so we decided to get the green tea red bean taiyaki. 
I believe it was 180 or 230 yen each.

Uni!! (sea urchin)
We went to a sushi train restaurant for brunch/breakfast on a Monday, and it was a good idea because the fish was fresh from the market. The uni was on a special for 189 yen, and the texture and flavor was so good. I slightly resent not eating another one..but I had ate many of the 'special' tuna dishes. Sushi train is probably one of the best ways to eat on a budget and quickly. Each dish color has it's own price, so you just pick according to your taste/price point. The cheapest is usually 100yen for 2 pieces and it's either a tuna or salmon combination.

The so-so ramen at Diver City in Odaiba. We just needed food...and the miso-ramen was one of the cheapest and easiest options to order. Since I had ate from Ramen Jiro, this couldn't compare at all...but when you're hungry, your stomach doesn't care for quality. >3<

The seaweed in the ramen was really amusing! It had thank-you printed on it in many different languages. Odaiba is a popular tourist destination and it helps that the 1:1 scale Gundam and Gundam cafe are there to bring in a crowd at Diver City.

Soba at Jindaiji temple
Soba time!
One of Bosu's food adventures he wanted to do was to eat soba at Jindaiji Temple. Apparently it's famous for it's soba shops and usually if there's food involved, I'm all for it! So we went there together and the environment is very different from main areas of Tokyo. It's more relaxed and more of the suburbs of a city. The site recommended a certain restaurant (one with a big water wheel in front) so we went there to eat. 

Ichiban no soba desu!
We ordered the store's #1 Soba since the ladies there didn't speak or understand English at all. (How to eat: pour the dipping sauce into the bowl and add in the condiments; wasabi, daikon, spring onions. then dip the noodles in and enjoy...). We later discovered on the back wall they had the food displays of what the food and offered sets looked like. Unfinished business it seems! But I have to say, the soba was very good...and there's a reason it's #1! The special was 1000 yen.

As we were leaving the restaurant, Bosu also remembered that the soba-dango from this area was really good too. So...we went and ordered some soba-dango and it was a bit embarrassing because the lady insisted that we eat inside, but we were fine eating outside under the canopy. (It was raining that day.) She didn't give up and we went back inside even though we had just ate there! >3<;;
There's a different taste to soba-dango and we got the honey sweet sauce to go on it. I don't recall the price of the soba-dango, but I would think it was less than 500 yen.

Laduree tea room @ Ginza
We wanted to have some desserts at Laduree's tea room location in Ginza, but we arrived there a bit too late, so all the cakes were all taken away. We ended up getting some macarons with champagne. 

Eating or getting take out at Laduree in Japan is much more expensive than Paris or London. I was really surprised with the inflated prices...but it's nice to splurge on yourself for something that tastes good!

The macaron flavors on the plate are: Vanilla, Sakura, Pistachio and Almond Marshmallow.

The Champagne is Laduree's brand and it tasted very nice. The combo of 2 macarons and the glass of champagne was super pricey though. It was 1800 yen.

Coffee Jelly Frappuccino

One of the last things we got on our last day before going into the airport was to get a drink at Starbucks. The drinks there are insanely expensive (as per usual from Starbucks), but they taste better than the ones back at home. One of the drinks I haven't had in 4 years was the Coffee Jelly Frappuccino. I loved it 4 years ago when I first went to Japan and I was so sad when they didn't have it in October. It turns out it's a seasonal item.
Tall or Grande size will cost between 450-550 yen if I recall.

My last meal was at the airport, and Bosu and I had Oden. (I also got take out Yakisoba for the airplane.) Even airport Oden is amazing...I have cravings for that daikon now! This cost 500 or 600 yen. A lot of people would walk by and ask what we were eating and to get some suggestions. I thought we must have looked odd because we had all the food out and we were going through all our receipts and calculating our customs total.

That concludes a large portion of the food adventure! I forgot to take pictures at some places because I was too hungry but you can get a taste of what we ended up eating on our trip!

It was fun, and I hope my next trip will also have a food adventure! ♥

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Project: KOS-MOS (Volks Dollfie Dream custom)

A long overdue post regarding the custom project I did for one of my sister's Dollfie Dream dolls. She has already blogged about the process extensively, she made the posts while I was working on the project.

This is a custom Volks DD - KOS-MOS made to resemble the character from the Xenosaga series.
The outfit is based off the artwork and renders from Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra, version. 4 outfit.

Photo credit: Archangeli

Check out more pictures on this Page link. Enjoy! ♥

Monday, June 4, 2012

Golden Bomber Live

So many things that I need to blog about that have happened in the past month! My computer has been acting up again so I was using the laptop for awhile and it's even slower than my computer. *sigh* 

Let's start with Golden Bomber! Last month, a bunch of us went back to Tokyo, Japan again and it was once again a really fun trip. Lots of shopping, fashion, and food adventures! One of the concerts that our friend Becca managed to get tickets for while we were there was Golden Bomber. I've heard of the group in passing because Becca and Bosu have mentioned how crazy their short live performance was at the V-Kei fest back in October. Becca couldn't come with us because she had to work, so it was up to Bosu and I to experience Golden Bomber live!
Golden Bomber
I'll admit I don't know too much about Golden Bomber except for their most popular song, Memeshikute. So I had to brush up some of their music before went. They're a bit of a gag band because the singer sings live and the rest of the group doesn't play their instruments. With an 'air band' concept at first, all of the music is pre-recorded by other musicians, but the group has moved on from that and correct me if I'm wrong, I believe they have started to learn to play their instruments. :3

They have become really popular right now in Japan and getting tickets to their live proved to be difficult for Becca. Bosu and I had to raise our limit of how much we wanted to spend on tickets for Becca to find us some good tickets! 

Row 17, seats 46 and 47
The row and seat got cut off in my picture, but Becca managed to get us seats in row 17! The venue was Chibaken Bunka Kaikan which was about a 15 minute walk from Honchiba station. Becca gave us a visual map to follow so we wouldn't get lost. It isn't super easy to find, but thankfully we didn't have problems thanks to the directions!

Bosu and I set out to Chiba early so we could avoid getting lost and have plenty of time to check out the area and venue. There's not too much around Honchiba station and a lot of the shops were closed or not open yet for dinner. We ended up getting an early dinner from the convenience store! Not ideal food...but good enough! I ended up getting an omurice and Bosu got some gyoza and crab meat sticks. Hilarious! I bought some random kitkat bars to keep my sugar and energy level up for the concert too.

Romantic dinner? LOL
When we arrived at the venue after we finished eating and checked out the inside and got some swag, I really noticed that we were getting stared at a lot. I think it was partially because everyone there was surprised to see a Caucasian person at the concert and a lot of the girls there would point and glance at Bosu and whisper to their friends. Another reason was because we were dressed really similarly and had leopard hoodies on, so we matched. I borrowed the hoodie from Bosu to complete my outfit (and he actually gave it to me after because he admitted it was a bit too small for him! XD ). So, I suppose we just stuck out a bit from the rest of the concert goers. So we wouldn't get stared at for the entire hour before we could enter the theater we decided to find a place to sit, and the venue has a nice park next to it with some benches that is very secluded.
Golden Bomber time!
 They started to let concert goers at 6pm, and they had everyone line up in 2 pairs to make it easier for the staff to check the tickets as you were going in. So organized and civilized! I forgot to take a picture of the venue layout, but the theater was most likely intended for traditional plays because there were side areas that the band members could walk to that ended around row 12. So, sometimes we could see the members quite close!

View of the stage from our seats.
It's common courtesy to not take pictures or videos at the concerts in Japan, so before the hall filled with all the people, I snuck a shot on my camera of the stage. We were off towards the right hand side, but it was still close enough to have an enjoyable experience!

The concert was a blend between a gag act, theater play and concert. The beginning and end had lot of energy from the band and the audience, and in the middle they introduced some skits that tied into their music. Unfortunately, it was a bit lost for Bosu and I since our Japanese isn't that great so we didn't understand much. They also had some pre-recorded videos at the beginning and end to set the overall mood and tone of the concert. A usual concert is about 1.5 hours, this one was 3 hours long! 
We were a bit concerned with the time because we had to get back to our hotel before the last train for the lines we were taking! The next day we were leaving Japan, so we were a bit nervous about that. (However, we made it back with time to spare!)

Golden Bomber has some really intense furi moves to some of their songs! The band will teach you some on the spot during the concert, but otherwise, if you're a true fan, you should know all the moves that coordinate with the songs. Since Bosu and I have had experience with GazettE furi, it wasn't too hard to predict or pick up. I had to watch the audience at points to know what to do though. ^__^"
The best gag was towards the end when they rolled out a 1:1 scale R2D2 replica, and had brought out a mini inflatable pool. The guitarist then proceeded to pour and coat himself with gold paint and turned himself into C3P0! Then they pulled out a podium and became an Oscar. It was really amusing!

Swag from Golden Bomber
We bought the face towel at the concert and I got a t-shirt that I immediately put on for the concert. They had lots of swag to purchase but I opted to get a was a bit expensive, but I really like it! Towards the end during the encore, the members of the band decided to come out promote/sell their swag items. It was a bit ridiculous since it went on for 15-20 minutes...

I would go back to see Golden Bomber live again if I had the chance! They're extremely funny live and use lots of fun props, water and paint on themselves to create their comedy. I shall end this post with Memeshikute, check it out and try to learn some of those furi moves! Enjoy!
(and yes, we definitely did those dance moves at the concert!)