do-it-for-cosplay:@the-moon-presence Yeah, I made myself a Vero…

do-it-for-cosplay:
the-moon-presence Yeah, I made myself a Vero…

do-it-for-cosplay:

@the-moon-presence Yeah, I made myself a Vero account, but at this point it’s a bit of a massive dumping ground as everyone moves their stuff over.

@roseyredcosplay Well that just sounds fantastically handy. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference.

@arkingarts if I weren’t into so many fandoms, tumblr would be an awesome place to fine-tune for cosplay stuff. But it’s not very…database friendly, when you want to browse through older content. But yeah, cosplay.com would be awesome if they just took the time to update it.

Vero really seems to be just the “new” facebook/instagram/generic social thing. Cosplayers are flocking to it now but since it is pay-to-use after so many people join, I don’t know if it will have any longetivity. It might fizzle, or it might come into its’ own. Hard to say! 

There is also World Cosplay (Cure Cosplay) but I don’t know if it gets used much, especially in the west. Not so much a forum as a share-your-pics site.

(I’d love to put get some sort of community thing going on CosplayTutorial.com but that is too big of a project for me to do on my own. We’ll see what happens when I finish the site revamp and new content I have planned for this year. At the very least I want to make it easier to submit tutorials. ) 

 

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My World Cosplay Summit 2017 Adventure: First Stage and OSU Cosplay Parade

My World Cosplay Summit 2017 Adventure: First Stage and OSU Cosplay Parade

The World Cosplay Summit is a series of events that take place over a week, culminating in the stage competition that determines the winning team. There are two stage events. The first stage is all the competing countries performing their skits, followed by a concert and the winners of minor prizes. The next day is the second stage, where only the top countries compete. This is also followed by a concert and then they announce the winners. The other events are photoshoot parties and hangouts for people to dress up in cosplay, some events are ticketed and others are not.

Visiting the WCS was only one part of our vacation, so I decided to only attend two events: The World Cosplay Summit first stage and the OSU cosplay parade. This post will detail those events.

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FIRST STAGE

We spent the morning at the Nagoya Science Museum, but if I were to go back and do it again I would definitely head down to the event area earlier. On the way to the Aichi Arts Center we passed Oasis 21 where it seemed the real party was happening. So many cosplayers were hanging out and taking pictures! There was also booths set up downstairs by a stage with a huge screen. If you don’t have a ticket to the show, there is still a lot to see and do in the area.

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Cosplay

For this event I dressed up as Lucoa from Dragon Maid. I chose to cosplay her because of how cool and casual the outfit was; I was able to wear most of it during the day and avoided having to find a changing room. I carried the hat and wig in my backpack, it was easy to pull them out and throw them on at the event. If you want to wear something more elaborate you’ll need to change in the area, I detail how to get a changing room ticket in the OSU Cosplay Parade section below.

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Navigation

When we first got to the Aichi Arts center it was a little difficult to find where we were supposed to go. There wasn’t any WCS signage that stood out. It was the uniformed people standing in front of some large doors that signaled that we were in the right place. There was an information/ticket desk near the doors as well. It didn’t seem like the Aichi Arts Centre was very large, so it should be easy for you to navigate.

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Tickets

I bought the First Stage tickets through Ticket Pia, through a link posted on the WCS website. These tickets are digital and need to be displayed on the Ticket Pia app. We were directed to show them at the ticket desk. They checked the digital tickets and then presented us with the printed tickets. These were used at the large doors to enter.

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Inside

Going in we got a brochure and a sheet of shiny tattoos. We were then brought in and shown to our seats by one of the staff members. We were a little late to the show but the venue wasn’t too large so we had a pretty good view of the stage. I was expecting there to be way more people inside watching the event, but it was surprisingly bare. Especially when compared to the mass of people outside and something like 70,000 people watching the NicoNico livestream.

Performances

The performances were awesome to see live! All the costumes are gorgeous and all the performances were incredibly impressive. The teams were grouped into three blocks. They would run through the performances of each block and then we were given a short break to use the washroom and stretch our legs. I lucked out and got to sit near some fellow Canadians, who were also there to support Team Canada. During one of the breaks we had a chat and they hooked me up with a WCS Canada and Fellowsheep Cosplay pin.

After all the performances, while the judges make their decision, it switches to a concert. It felt like an instant transition! It got dark and a bunch of people in the audience stood up and broke out their light sticks! If you plan to stick through the concert, come prepared.

Outside

During the concert, the boyfriend and I decided to check out what was going on in the area. In the lobby of the Aichi Art Center they were selling band and WCS merchandise. Outside, it had gotten dark but the cosplayers were still going. It had the feeling of a casual convention or cosplay hangout. A bunch of cosplayers hanging out, talking, getting their pictures taken, shopping in the nearby stores and just having a good time. For me, it felt really familiar; I loved it.

WCS First Stage Tips:

  • If you pre-purchased tickets online, download the app and have your tickets ready before entering.
  • Go down early, there is a lot going on!
  • You don’t have to buy a ticket if you just want to hang out in cosplay, but you get a great view of the stage if you do.
  • If you bought a ticket, be prepared for *party mode* and bring a lightstick for the concert.
  • If you don’t have a plain-clothes cosplay you’ll need a changing room ticket to get dressed for the event.
  • If you want to take pictures, be prepared for bright sun during the day and low light at night. You may want an external flash.

OSU Cosplay Parade

The day after the first stage was the OSU shopping arcade parade and a new experience for me: getting a changing room ticket and getting dressed at the event.

After grabbing breakfast at the hotel, we headed out to find a Family Mart.  It is really easy to find convenience stores in Japan, or at least in the cities we were in, because they are EVERYWHERE. They are also really convenient, selling food, snacks, umbrellas, sunscreen, backup shirts and just about anything you might need. Some also have terminals where you can buy event tickets, and that is what we were looking for.

Buying a Changing Room Ticket

Using the terminal was intimidating. I can pick out the odd hiragana or katakana character but my boyfriend and I really can’t read Japanese. We got to this point by using google translate and guessing based off limited English, and luckily the terminals in the subway for purchasing tickets had an English language button. The terminal at family mart did not.  Luckily google was able to save us again and  I found a guide online here:
http://eplus.jp/sys/web/yo-gaku/yo-fm/index.html.

We had trouble typing in what we were searching for so we pulled up a list of events, and looked for the name of the venue. Among the Japanese characters, X-HALL stood out. The next issue was when it asked for a phone number, since it didn’t accept either of our phone numbers. We ended up using the phone number of the hotel, so make sure you have the number for your hotel or airBnB handy. Once you’re finished a receipt will print out. You show this to the cashier at the front, pay for your ticket and receive your printed ticket in an envelope.

The Changing Room

The next mission was changing into costume. I chose the X-HALL changing room because it was closest to the OSU Shopping Street, and was a reasonable ticket price. When I got to the location I just had to present the ticket. They ripped up the larger part and gave me the smaller tab to hold onto for re-entry. Then they directed me to their changing room.

It wasn’t quite what I expected. It was a large room, similar to my experience with green rooms behind a stage, and didn’t have any mirrors, dividers or seats. There were a lot of cosplayers getting ready in the room, mostly just sitting on the floor and using their luggage to hold mirrors and wigs. I am so glad I had my leggings on under my jeans because I would have found it super awkward to try to get them on in front of everyone while sitting on the floor!  The rest of my costume was packed in a box that fit in my backpack, so I pulled that out and got changed quickly. I didn’t have much issue getting the costume on, I planned for it to be easy to put on but I didn’t expect the room to be mirrorless and I didn’t know if my wig was on properly. I ended up asking a random girl if I could use her mirror and she let me, so thank you random girl!

Changing Room Tips:

  • There may be no mirrors (and no phones allowed) so you’ll want to pack your own.
  • There may be no seats
  • There are people and there may not be dividers
  • Change rooms are divided by male and female, so if you have a complicated costume you will need someone who can go into the change room with you to help put it on
  • There weren’t lockers in the change rooms, you will likely have to carry your clothes with you after changing
  • There isn’t any fix-it station or water, it is just a change room not really a lounge (but some people were just chilling there.)

Changed and ready to go, I meet back up with Kevin and we try to find where the parade starts in the Shopping District. There were a lot of people around and a lot of cosplayers sprinkled throughout the crowd. Unfortunately there was no signage for the WCS and we couldn’t really figure out where the parade was supposed to begin, especially since cosplayers were wandering freely and didn’t seem to be meeting up in a specific place. Luckily the parade found us. We crossed the street and noticed a bunch of people were standing along the sides of the road with cameras and thought we were getting closer. Then I heard the sound of the marching band leading the event and we got stuck standing along the side. It ended up being a pretty great view!

The parade looked similar to the Zombie Walks I’ve been a part of: the cosplayers moved slowly and stopped to pose for pictures before moving on.  Once the parade had finished I followed the parade and crowd to the Osu Kannon Temple where it finished, and they were handing out cold tea. From there, we shopped and explored the area. The temple was a really cool photo shoot spot and there were food tents and a stage with performers. Cosplayers roamed around and were happy to pose for photos!

 

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My World Cosplay Summit 2017 Adventure: Planning a Trip To Japan

My World Cosplay Summit 2017 Adventure: Planning a Trip To Japan

Going to
Japan is the first step in attending the World Cosplay Summit. Planning the
trip can be intimidating if you haven’t been out of the country before. The
last time Kevin and I went to Japan was about 10 years ago and it was all a
guided tour. We didn’t have do much planning (his mom handled the booking) but
we also didn’t have much freedom. We saw a lot of cool sights such as temples
and castles, but we didn’t get to do any nerd stuff and we really wanted to do
the nerd stuff. This time around we decided to do our own thing, which meant we
had to do the research and planning.

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Planning

The first step was determining a rough outline of where we wanted to
be and on what days. We knew we wanted to go to Nagoya (where the summit was
held) on the 5th and 6th of August. We also wanted to spend a chunk of our trip
in Tokyo.

Once we
knew where we wanted to go we could start looking for flights. If you want a
deal and the most freedom, it helps to book far in advance. Take advantage of
services like Scott’s Cheap Flights and YYZ Deals or other groups that share good
deals on flights. We planned our trip a little late, so we didn’t get the
opportunity to scope out the best prices, but we were able to compare the
difference between landing a bit earlier in Osaka vs. landing in Nagoya. We got
a price we were happy with and committed to the trip. With these fight dates in
mind we planned out how we would travel: 

August 1: Leave Canada
August 2: Land
in Osaka 
August 4: Leave Osaka, Travel to Nagoya
August 7: Leave Nagoya, Travel
to Tokyo
August 12: Leave Tokyo and go Home.

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Accommodations 

Now that our plane tickets were secure, we needed to work out
where to stay.

A lot of
my friends have used AirBnB in Japan and recommended it. I looked into it and
not only were the prices good, but it sounded like they would be great
experiences. However, Kevin is a shy individual and he vetoed the idea. So we
sought out hotels. If you want to book with airBnB I would suggest paying
attention to what they offer. Some of the AirBnBs offer portable WiFi,
breakfast and an escort or drive from either the airport or subway to their
house which are all very useful. Thought for a western visitor you may want to
double check the type of toilets they have, the type and size of beds being
offered (especially if you are tall) and what house rules they may have as
these may be different from what you are used to.

I gave
the Kevin the job of booking hotels and he procrastinated on it. So I decided
to start looking into it myself. Since it was the staple of our trip, I started
with Nagoya. Cue the most stressful moment of vacation planning for me. I go on
the first site and search Nagoya…all the hotel rooms had been booked. All of
them for that date. I start stressing, but find another site. All the hotels
are booked up. I keep searching. I find a site with some hotels available and
it says over 100 people are looking at the same rooms! OH NO! It is 3am, Kevin
is asleep, and I have nobody to freak out with. So I start collecting a couple
different hotels with a lot of rooms available, and a couple Airbnbs in the
area, just in case. I send him the links, feel better, and pop into bed. We can
book them the next morning, it will be fine.

So we
wake up. I check the links. They are all booked! Even the Airbnbs! I felt my
heart sink in my chest. Luckily, with the power of google and refreshing
frantically I lucked out! I got a great hotel room (at the Richmond hotel in
Nagoya) that happens to be down the street from a cosplay store and a bunch of
anime/manga/figure stores. Thanks Agoda! If you are looking to attend the WCS,
book your hotel room early so you don’t run into the wall of stress that I did.

Some of
the sites we used:

Agoda
Rakuten Travel
Booking.com
Google
Hotels (shown through google search) 

The
hotels we stayed at:

  • Osaka:
    Comfort Hotel Osaka Shinsaibashi
    Small room, but very comfortable
    Great breakfast, mix of american and Japanese that was included with the stay
    Free coffee/tea at all times
    NearShinsaibashisuji Shopping Street 
  • Nagoya:
    Richmond Hotel Nagoya Shinkansen-guchi
    Booking came with breakfast, mostly Japanese food
    Offered us complimentary bath salts
    Keycard needed for elevator
  • Tokyo:
    Hotel Gracery Shinjuku
    We stayed here for the Godzilla head
    Great location, busy area with lots of food and arcades
    Right next to a movie theater, there was a Spiderman Homecoming event right outside and we got to see Tom Holland on stage! 

Tip: Check
different sites for the same hotel, some may offer a slight discount or special
deal that isn’t available on the others.

 

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Itinerary

Next was
putting together a basic list of where we would be going and on what days. I
included notes about locations, check-in and check-out times and confirmation
numbers. I mostly used this sheet to remember the names of the hotels we were
going to since the other information was available through wifi. I also put
together a wishlist sheet of locations that would be cool to visit. We didn’t
get to all of our wishlist locations but the list helped us plan our days and
make the most of the areas we traveled to. I recommend putting something
similar together so you can find out about cool things in the areas you are
staying and figure out how much the activities cost.

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WiFi 

There is a lot of open WiFi in Japan. Certain shops, restaurants and
convenience stores had open wifi as did the Hotels. The subway systems had open
wifi or a sign-up wifi for foreigners. Some of my friends said they used the
open wifi to get by and never had a problem, so it is an option. That said,
Open wifi has some security risks and is not always reliable, so we opted for a
portable WiFi pack.

After
referencing the different packs, we went with Ninja Wifi. It was not the
cheapest option but it did allow for pickup and drop-off at the airport which
seemed easier than attempting to mail it in. We also managed to get a bit of a
discount through Kiecan’s promo code.

The Ninja
Wifi lasted most of the day with both our phones connected. We used a portable
battery pack to keep it charged in the evenings if we didn’t make a pit-stop in
the hotel. We always had a connection, even on the Subway, which was great.

Tip: Some
AirBnB hosts offer portable wi-fi or phones with a sim card. So if you’re
staying at an AirBnB, check if you actually need the wifi before booking it.

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Travel

I am from
the Toronto area and our subway map looks like a sad U with a line through it.
Torontonians make fun of it all the time for being so sad when compared to New
York or Paris. So Osaka, Tokyo and even Nagoya’s subway was exciting to us. It
was also really bi-lingual, which made it super easy to navigate. Stops were
labled by name and a letter-number combination to make it easy.

In Osaka
it looked like the best deal was to get a two day city pass. It came with
unlimited travel on the subway for 48 hours (from its first use in a ticket
gate) and provided free access to some attractions and discounts for others.
Like with most day pass options, you will want to have an idea about how much you
are traveling before purchasing the ticket, to make sure it is worth it. 

For
travel between cities we took the Shinkansen, or bullet train. The Nozomi train
took us from Osaka to Nagoya and later from Nagoya to Tokyo. We only made the
two trips and so we purchased our tickets for each trip, rather than getting
the Rail Pass. The Japan Rail Pass is a special pass offered to foreigners that
gives you unlimited travel on certain JR Lines for a discounted rate (see site
for more info). If you plan to travel between a lot of cities and want to take
a bullet train then it can be a great deal. In our case, we only were making
two trips and it wouldn’t have saved us money – so make sure to check that it
is worth it for your vacation before purchasing.

There are
also standard trains which are slower, and in some cases less expensive, than
the bullet trains. If you aren’t in a rush then these may be an option as well.

In
Nagoya, we only made two trips a day so we paid the cost per trip. The cost of
a trip is determined by the number of stops from your location, you can see the
prices on a map near the ticket buying terminals. If you aren’t using a
tap-card like Pasmo or Suica then you can buy individual and day-tickets through
these terminals. The terminals have english as a language option so it is very
easy for tourists to use them. Make your selection, pay and it will print out a
small ticket. When entering the gates you will need to put this small ticket in
a slot, it will then pop back out closer to the gate. Pick up your ticket and
hold onto it – you’ll need it to be able to exit the gates at your destination.
If you change paths, you may need to pay an additional fare at the
ticket-adjustment station at the subway you are exiting.

In Tokyo,
we used a combination of day passes and single-purchase tickets depending on
what we did for the day. It may be cheaper to use a multi-day pass, a day pass
or the suica/pasmo card depending on how much travel you are doing. This is
where having an itinerary can help you plan and make sure you aren’t
over-spending on travel. Save that yen for arcades and gashapon!

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Translation

Kevin and I don’t speak or read Japanese. While there are
some people who can speak english and some places with english signage, there
are also a lot of people who can’t and many situations where you’re running
into Japanese only text. So to get around we used Google Translate and Google Maps
– this is why the Ninja Wifi was so useful. 

Google
translate has a great feature that will help you get around: it can use your
camera to take pictures and identify text. There are two ways this can work,
the first is a sort of augmented reality where it overlays it’s translation
over a real world image. This is really COOL but also kind of wonky and
unreliable for Japanese. It gets stuck translating individual kanji rather than
full words. I mostly used it when text was in hiragana and katakana. The other
way the translation works is by taking a picture. It will highlight all the
text it can identify, and then you can select what you want translated. It can
still give you some weird translations (google isn’t perfect) but if it is
having trouble with a paragraph you can select a couple words and get something
that makes more sense. We used this function a lot, especially when it came to
food.

I also
used a combination of Jisho.org (dictionary) and Romaji.me (japanese to romanji converter) to help fill in the blanks when
I didn’t know a word. It isn’t ideal for on-the-spot situations, but can help
when you want to ask for something specific.

Otherwise,
a lot of signage is in English as well as Japanese. This is especially true on
the subway and in the more touristy areas.

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Buying
WCS Tickets

The
English version of the WCS site takes forever to update! It seemed that they
were never going to put the information online. They finally updated the site
with international purchase information on July 3rd, which is very close to the
event. Even with such a close date we got good seats and noticed there were a
lot of empty seats in the audience – so I wouldn’t worry about them running
out. There are also events going on outside of the Aichi Arts Centre, so if you
don’t buy a ticket you can still have a good time.

International
tickets on sale through a service called Peatix. Payment is in Yen and can be
done through credit card or paypal. You will need to create an account to buy
the tickets and download an app to display them at the event, so make sure to
do this before hand! When we arrived at the summit, the digital tickets had to
be shown at a desk where they checked a list of names and provided a physical
ticket.

If you
live in Japan, or want to buy your tickets there, then you can order them
online and pay at a circle K or Family Mart store or purchase them through the
terminal at these stores.

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Tomorrow’s post will cover the WCS Events and using the terminals to purchase tickets. 

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My World Cosplay Summit 2017 Adventure

My World Cosplay Summit 2017 Adventure

 

Visiting the World Cosplay Summit was on my bucket list. So when Kevin and I were trying to decide on a vacation, Japan was on the maybe pile. Then, when my friend posted that her team would be representing Canada, I jumped at the opportunity to see her perform live! So began the trials of planning the trip and figuring this whole thing out. There wasn’t a how-to guide out there and I had to figure out a lot on my own, so this is my guide on how to attend the World Cosplay Summit. Just to note: I didn’t attend the entire event (there was vacationing to be had) but I can tell you about the events I did attend and give you some information to help you attend as well.

Upcoming Posts:

  • Planning the Japan Trip and Buying Tickets
  • WCS Events: Stage 1 and the OSU Cosplay Parade
  • Cosplaying in Japan
  • Comiket

This post will be updated with links when the posts go live.

What is the World Cosplay Summit?
The World Cosplay Summit is a team performance competition that takes place yearly in Nagoya, Japan. This year there were 34 countries participating but that number may grow as new countries keep joining! To enter, a preliminary round is held in each country to find the representative and the winning team goes on to compete in Japan. This event is livestreamed on niconico to thousands of viewers worldwide and is well worth the watch because the quality of costumes and the performances are very high; It isn’t like the standard convention masquerade! You can learn more about the event on the WCS website: http://worldcosplaysummit.jp/en/

How do you Enter:
My guide will mostly be about attending as a visitor but it is far more thrilling to go there and compete to win. To enter the competition, you will need to find a cosplay partner that you can rely on and together you’ll need to craft an outstanding performance and high quality costumes. Then determine where the preliminaries are being hosted in your country and apply – make sure to read all the rules of entry, the WCS has some very specific rules regarding performances and costumes. If you make it through the preliminaries, then you get to go on to compete in Japan! You can then craft new costumes and a new performance or improve your existing one. Check out the Regulations for more information. (http://www.worldcosplaysummit.jp/en/about/regulations.html)

Want to know what the hype is about? Check out these videos of previous WCS winners:

2017 – China
2016 – Indonesia
2015 – Mexico
2014 – Russia

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